02 October 2019
A date not to be forgotten. Saturday 7th December marks the Junior Offshore Groups AGM and annual prize giving dinner. This fantastic event acknowledges and celebrates all the success of competitors and volunteers that have helped make this JOG season so successful.
Tickets for the evening are now available on the JOG website at a cost of £55 per person, or the reduced price of £29 for under 25s thanks to some generous members.
Dress code for the evening is black tie.
Click on the events page for more information.
01 October 2019
This weekend was the last two races of the JOG inshore series. Purple Mist was lying in second place in the double handed section and three of our 2H rivals were signed up for this race, realistically based on past performance I was expecting them to come past us... however as the old saying goes you need to be in it to win it and you can do well in overall seasons points by completing the races.
The weather forecast was showing gale force winds so sensibly we were on the red flag course meaning all would be revealed on Saturday morning.
The adventure really started Friday night. Rob and I wanted to listen to the talk at RORC Cowes by Will Harris Figaro sailor and meet up with a few other double handed pals. So at 16:30 we set off for what was supposed to be a little jaunt across the Solent under engine to Cowes. Being experienced and seasoned sailors we were well prepared for the 30kt forecast ..... not ! I had on just my non waterproof midlayer and Rob normal trousers and a waterproof jacket. As we battled the strong spring tide and the 30kts winds off Calshot doing less than 1kt under the poxy 15hp engine with big waves crashing over the deck totally drenching us we wondered why we hadn’t bothered to dress properly. It took just over 2 hrs to get to Cowes and at one point I wondered whether the engine had the power to fight the tides at Cowes entrance. Anyway we finally made it to the empty yacht haven , totally drenched to be greeted by a somewhat damp Deb Fish from Bellino, they had had a similar crossing experience.
Saturday dawned and after the Friday experience we wondered what we were letting ourselves in for. However it was sunny as well as ridiculously windy so before we knew it we were off.
We chose a pretty conservative sail plan being only 2 aboard. No spinnakers this weekend and the J3 reefed to a J4 for the upwind legs. Our start was reasonable given the conditions but we fluffed up the first tack and found ourselves heading for the shore at Egypt point. The waves and the wind were conspiring against me I had no further room to bear away to get speed, but not enough speed to make the tack. It was like Purple Mist was saying ohh look at that lovely wall over there, let’s not do this race but instead let’s go and tie up to it. Purple Mist the first (previous boat) once had a little brush with the bottom in a similar place but that was in 5kts of wind , flat calm and a tiny bump .... this was 30kts of wind and it was not going to be pretty. Anyway in the nick of time she tacked and we were thankfully off to the North away from the hazard. Martin later told me all the race officers in the JOG box were willing me round, shouting encouraging comments about my choice of sail plan .....with one hand poised on the radio to make a mayday call.
The next leg was up to Elephant just off Newtown creek, as tide was against us it was short tacking off Gurnard . After our brush with catastrophe we decided to play it a bit safe and not go as shallow as we would normally. It was fun match racing with Pure Attitude and crossing tacks as the Class 3 boats caught us up.
As we rounded the mark I shook out the reef in the jib and we were flying, over 30kts of wind and we reached 12.5 kts of boat speed. A chance for a short rest and gather our thoughts as we came thundering past Pure Attitude.
Many boats went for the spinnakers, some more successfully than others. I’m not sure who this was behind us but that spinnaker was all wrapped up saying...”No no no put me away back into my bag, it’s too windy for me” which they did. Next time I looked round it had gone.
The rest of the race was more of the same. The downwind legs were super speedy. The upwind legs super wet and bouncy. However we were ahead of the other Sunfast 3200 Mzungu, and we never spotted the other double handed boats so maybe we were doing ok. The tide was ripping past the buoys so all roundings had to be done very carefully.
It was a long upwind beat to the finish with wind over tide making it super bouncy. I had been winching all day and was absolutely done in. Oh to be on a fully crewed boat with 6 or 8 sets of fresh arms to grind sails. Anyway with the strong spring tide pushing us along the end was in sight.
We came into the line on starboard tack and basically should have tacked onto port. Rob said he was saving my worn out arms and trying to miss the yellow buoy KMS. Everything happened so quickly but before I could say ... “Shit that is Egypt point wall again”... we were flying towards Egypt point wall. This time Rob fluffed the tack and as we were over the finish line I dived below to put the engine on.
Sunfast 3200 engines do not give power until they have warmed up but we shoved it onto max revs and in the nick of time the bow came round. As you see from the track we didn’t have much more room. Twice in one day the sailing gods were with us.. I’m not going to be going anywhere near again in a hurry.
The race was done but even taking the sails down was a wrestling match. Bouncing waves and strong winds I just shoved sail ties round the two heaps of mainsail and jib. By this stage I just wanted to get tied up to a pontoon.
Back to Cowes and due to a logistical error by the skipper we were booked into Shepards. However after the excitement of the day we needed a calm couple of hours to take it all in, racing double handed in 30kts is a bit mad.
Imagine my surprise when, looking at the very brilliant live results that JOG now has, we beat Mzungu. The other double handers had all scratched the race.. no wonder we didn’t see them. This is Purple Mists first ever race win so myself and the Penguins were beyond excited.
Saturday night was a fantastic JOG party in the Cowes classic boat museum. A chance to see the original JOG boats of Theta and Sopranino. They are very very small and Sopranino went across the Atlantic. We were not the only boat with tales to tell. J Fever ripped their mainsail on a gybe and Azygos has a little broach too near a buoy, got caught up and mangled the pushpit. I’m sure there were other boats with damage.
Given the forecast was worse on Sunday the crowd gave a big cheers when Martin announced racing was abandoned. Good job for Purple Mist as my coskipper had already refused to go racing again. So that just left some complimentary beverages to be consumed at the Party and a lazy breakfast in Cowes on Sunday.
Best comment of the weekend was by Rob. My liferaft for the season was on hire and as you don’t need it for inshore races and the time was up I had given it back Friday morning. I was reflecting on the fact we had completed the race in that strong wind and waves and we didn’t even have a liferaft. Quick a a flash Rob said “ we didn’t need a liferaft, we could have stepped ashore twice!”
23 September 2019
Friday night we were supposed to be sailing to Cherbourg, the last offshore race of the JOG season . We had a new crew member Matt joining us for the first time who was dreaming of warm Croissants in France on Saturday morning. We had even all remembered to bring our passports. The forecast was not looking too friendly with 20-30kts easterlies so the race officer Martin took the wise decision to switch it to a day race to Weymouth instead. Friday evening was therefore spent with my head behind the electrics panel trying to fathom the installation whilst Rob was supervising with much sucking of teeth and mumbling about negative terminals. Anyway we labelled a few connections and fuses and put it all back together again ready for the early start.
When the alarm went at 6am I have to say there was a brief moment when the bunk felt cosy and the prospect for getting out of it was not so appealing. The weather forecast was still 20-27kts from the East/ South East so a downwind sleigh ride was on the cards.
We got to the start way too early and hovered around eating cereal. I wanted to put up the full main but knew as soon as we hoisted we would have one feisty animal to be trying to control. We finally put up the main and immediately had to reef as we had no manoeuvrability. 5 minutes to go and Matt noticed we had crossed halyards so we weren’t as close to the line as we would like but we were off with the A5. The 20kts of breeze then died so we had to quickly unreef the main and start chasing. The A5 has previously been called the naughtiest sail on the boat due its love of wrapping itself round the forestay so it was in the last chance saloon this race. Any wraps today and it was threatened with being marched back to Robs storage shed to languish with the 24 other old sails that live in there.
Surprisingly the A5 got the message and behaved impeccably. Even allowing itself to be poled out and hitting 165’ downwind without a flutter of instability. Maybe we’ve just got better on the helm!
The wind was was variable in strength with plenty of 20kts plus gusts which made for for very fun sailing as we went past Jelenko but unfortunately it went more East so a gybe was needed to hit Hurst narrows. We should have gybed further towards Lymington as although we hit Hurst on the West side it was not west enough to really get out of the foul tide and Jelenko and Scream came past us.
The original plan was to snuff the A5 and just have white sails for the short downwind leg to North head however fortune favours the brave so Matt and I overruled the voice of experience (Rob) and kept the A5 up and gybed down the north channel. Again the A5 was behaving well although we were snuffing and gybing to be a little safe and we got pretty slick at the manoeuvre.
The wind increased and went a little south and we were now fully powered up. We were sailing at 130-140’ to 26kts of breeze , this is ideal 3200 conditions and Purple Mist was flying along. We were surfing , we were planing , we came thundering past Double Trouble and Sheevra and we had Jelenko back in sight. We hit 14.9kts boat speed and mostly we were going the right direction at over 11kts. Matt was suggesting lots of big boat fully crewed techniques so the three of us were fully occupied with trimming, pumping, helming, easing with the occasional spin out of control as despite 2 hands on the helm and maximum pull the twin rudders finally lost grip. Waves were thundering past, spray was flying and I can honestly say it was the most thrilling sail ever on Purple Mist. Hardly time to take drink or a bite to eat.
About St Albans Jelenko was finally overtaken, they had a dodgy broach, we surged past ....job done !
The final leg was going to be 110- 120’ to the finish just short of Weymouth pier. Could we carry the A5? It was going to be tight. Most boats ahead had dropped the kites but we thought we would try. At first we were ok but we were broaching a bit too much to stay speedy so we decided to drop and switch to the J2. First error was the tylaska on the J2 popped open half way up the hoist . I’d obviously not totally closed it so we lost that halyard up the mast. No worries we switched to a Spi halyard and the J2 was up. Then came the drop of the A5, clearly Purple Mist was not onboard with the idea we should drop the A5 so she jammed the halyard. The A5 was snuffed (thank goodness) but the big flappy sausage of fabric was stuck up the mast. We did our best to keep up but airflow over the J2 was compromised and we could only keep pace with Marta and Sidney 2. Jelenko meanwhile flew the spinnaker, caught us back up and came past at a rate of knots.
At this point the wind had subsided a little and we could have unsnuffed the A5 again but knowing it’s halyard was jammed and there is not much room at the finish before you go onto the rocks we decided we better keep the A5 snuffed for safely. There are tales of a boat called Amy Lou hitting the Weymouth rocks under spinnaker and we didn’t want to repeat that experience.
Matt and I hiked out in a last attempt to get speed and we finished within seconds of the other boats.
We came into the harbour and Matt went up the mast to investigate and found the Spi cover had slipped effectively jamming the halyard. It took a good 15mins of chopping to release it.
The J2 also had damage on the leech, it’s on it’s last legs anyway after 2 seasons on old Purple Mist and 5500 miles on new Purple Mist. At least as the damage is at the edge if the sail so I can repair it myself, not the prettiest of stitching but it works.
The evening drinks were at a busy Weymouth Sailing club. It was great to meet up with everyone especially to meet Al from Jelenko who equally enjoyed our match racing. He assumed I’d beaten him not aware of my rubbish IRC rating that comes from recycling the J2 from the old boat. I promised Purple Mist that is we missed out on a podium position due to the rating she could have a new J2 ...so that’s a decision made, a smaller J2 is required.
We were 4th in class out of 4 though we beat boats in classes 3 and 5 including two Sunfast 3600 which we beat even before handicap was taken into account so all in all we were happy with the speed and performance.
We had dinner filled with salty sea dog tales with Kathy (Arcsine) and Pippa and Jonathan and crew (Sheevra).
Looking forward now to next weekend with the final 2 races of the JOG inshore season , a talk at Rorc from Will Harris Figaro sailor and a tour of the Classic boat museum.
11 September 2019
We’re excited to announce the JOG 2020 programme. More details about the JOG 70th Platinum Triangle sponsored by Gill will be published shortly. Save the dates in your diary and start making plans for this coming season.
You can find the programme at https://www.jog.org.uk/programme/programme-2020/
01 September 2019
The last Inshore racing weekend of the season is shaping up to be a really exciting event. In addition to the racing, starting and finishing off the JOG line for both days, there is reserved berthing in Cowes Yacht Haven for Saturday night. This is in walking distance of the Classic Boat Museum’s base in West Cowes, down by the chain ferry and Hammerhead Crane, where we have arranged a private showing, including the most famous of JOG exhibits Sopranino and Theta. Our founder Patrick Ellam raced Theta (not much bigger than a canoe) with RORC races in the 1950’s which caused him to build Sopranino and sail her across the Atlantic to demonstrate the seaworthiness of small boats. All JOG members are welcome.
During the showing, between 17.30 and 19.00, we will be holding a reception and prize giving for Saturday’s racing with free drinks (until we run out)! This is a special evening where we have invited the Race Officers who work behind the scenes in the race box, at all hours of the day and, sometimes, nights. Come and show them your thanks and appreciation please! We have also invited the generous race box owners who allow the continued use of our unique start line and continue to give JOG the maximum support and welcome for each and every race.
Rick Tomlinson has been booked as the race photographer for the event and digital photos will be made available to skippers and crew with no charge by JOG.
Please note the dates in your diary, get your entries in if you haven’t already and lets have the very best of JOG parties to mark the season’s racing.
07 August 2019
GILL PARTNER WITH THE JUNIOR OFFSHORE GROUP
Leading marine brand joins forces as Official Clothing Supplier with the innovative UK yacht club
Gill Marine, one of the leading technical apparel brands in the world, are set to partner with the Junior Offshore Group (JOG) in the UK. Gill will become JOG’s Official Clothing Supplier, so JOG can offer their members exclusive discounts as well as a bespoke JOG-branded range. Gill will also be working with them on special events, like the exciting race next year to commemorate 70 years since the launch of this unique yacht club.
Gill will also be the primary sponsor of this year’s Cowes to Cherbourg race to be held on Friday 20th September.
JOG is a yacht club with a difference - since 1950, JOG has been focused on making coastal and offshore racing accessible to small boat owners by keeping entry fees modest. The yacht club doesn’t have a clubhouse, but instead organises events at host ports for their weekend events.
Commenting on the partnership, Joel Chadwick, Gill’s Corporatewear Business Development Manager, concluded, “Gill are very proud to be supporting the Junior Offshore Group. The iconic yacht club breaks the mould in the UK and we share their values of innovation, friendly yet serious racing, a Corinthian spirit and building a supportive community. The partnership is a great opportunity for Gill to engage with our core consumers in the UK. We can’t wait to start offering exclusive discounts to JOG members, to create a unique branded collection and we’re excited about celebrating 70 years of the club with the 70th Anniversary event next year.”
Dougie Leacy, JOG Captain concluded. “The Junior Offshore Group are very proud to announce this partnership with Gill. This will benefit our members highly and build awareness of our shared values within the broader sailing community.”
30 July 2019
Skipper: Kate Cope Co-skipper: Bobby Drummond Purple Mist
The next race in the JOG inshore series was Weymouth . I’m currently lying in second place overall in 2H in this series so everything to play for to keep my place. It’s fair to stay so far we’ve had some light wind races and I’ve benefited from others retiring but as they say “you need to be in it to win it!”
I was joined by Rob who is super experienced on his J105 Bigfoot ( don’t ask ...still in Falmouth with a wobbly keel) but it was his first race on a Sunfast 3200. Still hopes were high he could bring some magic speed to Purple Mist.
We had a pretty hopeless start behind the fleet, only one boat was more hopeless and was shoved out the windward end of the line and had to loop back.Normally I’m good at starts so this was a bit disappointing.
It was a lovely reach out the Solent in touch with the fleet. 12kts of wind from the NW and all the fleet were sailing well so hard to catch up. We overtook Fury the other Sunfast 3200 at the Needles and were doing ok across Poole Bay.
We stayed out a bit at Anvil and St Albans to take advantage of the stronger tide and not loose the NW wind which paid off. The inshore boats did loose the wind a bit.
After St Albans it was head to wind , tacking to the end with the wind at 16kts. Bright sunshine made for a lovely sail but the boat was a bit overpowered so we struggled to make top speed. The last tack was very favourable as we had gone out towards Portland Bill and benefitted for the tide and a wind shift to almost make the final mark. Just a quick tack at the end and we were done. Weymouth in record time!
Final position was 4th in 2H so I think my 2nd overall is maintained. Only 8th from 9 boats in Class 5 was not so great but that same corrected time would have put us 3rd in Class 5.
We moored up on the Cove (South ) side in Weymouth which was a first. It’s a bit quieter and nearer the Weymouth sailing club which welcomed the JOG fleet for drinks and food. I had the unexpected honour of being presented a bottle of bubbly as a well done for completing AZAB race which was very thoughtful.
Sunday was a festival to celebrate 150years of Weymouth lifeboat. There was 4 or 5 historic lifeboats at the quay fully dressed ready to make a parade of boats with the current lifeboat.
Sundays cruise back was downwind and we tried the spinnaker net I made to prevent wraps. It looks ok and would be useful in a rolly sea. On Sunday we wrapped the S2 twice gybing and then the net doesn’t help as you need to take it down to gybe the symmetrical spinnaker.
So overall a very enjoyable weekend and better prepared for the next race which is Fastnet on Saturday.
23 July 2019
I was lost in France ...St Malo race
Skipper: Kate Cope Co-skipper: Bobby Drummond Purple Mist
No sooner had we got back from Azab then it was off to France on the Rorc St Malo race. This was our Fastnet qualifier so important that we finish to avoid debates about miles completed. We still had our broken kicker but the forecast was favourable and the pink dyneema doing a good job holding the kicker on the boom.
Expedition was promising less than 24hrs but given last year we took 66hrs I was not sure to believe the software. Last year we had some great success in this race winning the Spica trophy for a second year running ( best boat in IRC 4 under 38’ sailed by 3 or more friends and family) . Also with Bigfoot we won the John West trophy for the best 2 boat team from a yacht club amazingly beating the Fast 40 InoXXX and Baraka GP. To be fair we beat them as they gave up the race ...but you have to be in it to win it and if you give up you loose !
The race had 180 boats entered and the IRC 3 start was crazy. As you see from this picture we had a great start with Purple Mists generously proportioned rear end snuggled up with the lead boats. A French boat tried a tricky manoeuvre on the start barging in and was protested. Another windward boat to us was not making the yellow buoy marking the end of the line so decided to squeeze into us bumping us in the process so we protested them as the windward boat has to keep clear and we quickly attached the red protest flag to the rail.
We had a great run out to the Needles ahead of Joy a JPK who has done so well in AZAB. Friday afternoon we were still ahead of Zest however as we came off the wind we struggled to increase speed - something we need to work on.
As night fell the wind incresead to 18kts and went behind to 120’. We needed the A5 but for those that have read my AZAB blog and Cervantes you will know that the A5 is the naughtiest sail on the boat with the tendency to cling to and wrap around the forestay rather than catch the wind. With new crew aboard and in the dark I decided to be cautious and stick to white sails.....and so had to suffer boats overtaking us.
By Les Hanois lighthouse off Guernsey the wind has reduced and gone further behind so despite the dark it was time to throw caution to the wind and hoist the S2 which Is anyway a better behaved sail. A lovely spinnaker run down to St Malo keeping pace and overhauling various boats. A slight wrap was quickly unraveled and we finished in just less than 24hrs ...just as expedition had predicted...what clever software !
St Malo really is a beautiful city and we wanted to lock into the inner harbour to be under the city walls and avoid the 40minute walk. Rather than jostle with the rest of the fleet on the waiting buoys outside the lock we picked up a mooring buoy off Dinard on the opposite shore and enjoyed bacon and eggs with a fantastic view.
The lock is was the busiest I’d ever seen it with at least 30boats jostling for position. Knowing the lock is massive and we would all get in we hung back and were last boat in rafted onto a guy with “St Malo sailing “ on his shirt.....I figured he must know what he is doing.
Inside was busy but there is always room on the wall so we nipped into the last spot and welcomed Sheevra and Jangada to raft onto us.
Sunday we enjoyed a lovely walk out to the islands at low tide . We spotted some beach catamarans but resisted more sailing.
At the prize giving ceremony I learnt that my Purple Ensign had made the pages of the Royal Naval sailing association members forum with a discussion on whether its faded blue or really purple. Yes it really is Purple, I made it that way, and worse than that it’s defaced with a penguin! In Salcombe recently someone asked me if it was from the Falkland Islands Yacht club !
Here is my track outside the big sea lock into the inner harbour and eventual mooring spot. Lots of circling but no need to jostle as bags of room in the lock.
Sunday was Bastille day July 14th. We had a fabulous lunch at a little restaurant we found inside the city walls and were treated to most fantastic fireworks display in the evening. Well worth staying for.
Monday we set off for home dropping in on Dielette which makes a very convenient stopover being much more on the route than St Peter Port or Braye. Also walk ashore pontoons and convenient restaurant. It also is positioned favourably to catch 10kts of tide up the race ...yes STW was 5kts and SOG was 15kts !! Home in to Hamble in record time.
20 June 2019
Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels announced as sponsor of the JOG Cowes to Weymouth Race
The Junior Offshore Group (JOG) announced today that Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels will be sponsoring their Cowes to Weymouth, Yacht, Race.
Dougie Leacy, JOG Captain, had this to say: ”I look forward to, not only presenting their prizes at the Weymouth Sailing Club on 27th July but welcome their generous two part, sponsorship which will also enable JOG to offer its members preferential accommodation rates for our Annual Dinner and Prize Giving to be held on the 7th December in Southampton. JOG will announce the offer to its members very soon when tickets become available. Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels are a first class Southampton brand and this allies itself well to one of the South Coast’s premier offshore sailing clubs”.
About the Junior Offshore Group
JOG has focused since 1950 on making coastal and offshore racing accessible to Corinthian boats. While taking yacht racing seriously, they value sportsmanship and their community above all else.
JOG run about 16 yacht racing events each season split 50/50 with inshore and offshore races between 30 and 180 miles per race.
JOG is run by and for its members and few sailors haven’t heard of, or competed in, a JOG race.
About Jurys Inn and Leonardo Hotels
Jurys Inn is part of Leonardo Hotels, the group that includes the landmark Royal Hotel Southampton Grand Harbour.
Jurys Inn hotels are ideally situated in city centres across the UK, Ireland and the Czech Republic. Their hotels provide guests with extremely convenient locations from which to enjoy local attractions and are renowned for their superb customer service and friendly welcome.