RTYC welcomes 6 brand new J/70s


To all RTYC Racers,
I took over as Captain of Racing from Richard Hill at the start of the year and would like to start by thanking him for his help and support as we transitioned the role. I know I have a tough act to follow!
With the weather showing some early signs of improvement last weekend and with the prospect of some warmer weather on the way, I thought I'd give you all a short update on racing developments at the Club. Many of you who attended the recent Sailing Forum at the Club were naturally interested to learn more about the J/70s and how we planned to operate them.  I'm therefore going to focus in this update on our J/70s.
The big news is that our fleet of six brand new J/70s is currently at the Hamble and due for delivery to us early next month. They will be based at Shepards Wharf Marina in Cowes; we will dry sail them from there.
Our J/70 programme will soon be under way and, like all new initiatives, will likely change a bit as we learn more about the boats and our members' racing preferences. As such, please keep a close eye on the Club's website which should show the latest developments and programme.
We've made one important decision re our J/70s. We have decided that they should not be used for team racing, at least for the next few years. In short, a J/70 is not ideal for team racing (in contrast to a J/80). More important, we want to minimise the risk of collisions and keep our boats in top racing condition. The one exception to the 'no team racing' rule is the RYS Bicentenary event in late July, in which RTYC has entered a team and which is white sails only. 
An identical fleet of J/70s has also been purchased by RYS, also based at Shepards. This is great news and naturally we will run a number of events jointly with the Squadron during the year in addition to our own.
Our J/70s will also be available for charter on a first come, first served basis by our members on days when they are not being used for a Club event. As such, therefore, a member may charter a J/70 for racing in external events such as the Warsash Spring Championships (18-19 and 25-26 Apr), the J-Cup Regatta in The Central Solent (11-13 Jun) and the J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle (6-10 Jul).
What about costs? We've set the basic cost at £180 per boat per day, i.e. £45 per person if you are racing four-up, payable by the individual chartering the boat. This charge will apply for all Club events as well as for most external events. The charterer will need to be responsible for any (hopefully, only minor!) damage sustained up to £800 (the insurance excess); in the case of a RTYC member chartering a J/70, the damage deposit will only become payable in the event of damage or loss of boat kit.
Accommodation in Cowes? We recognise that to race the J/70s during a weekend it will often be beneficial to stay in Cowes. As such, we are aiming to negotiate preferential rates for RTYC members with the Royal London.
So, in summary, the J/70s will be with us shortly. We want to make them generally available to all our members for their use and enjoyment both in our own racing events and external events. For some external events, such as the J/70 Worlds, we may offer our boats for charter by non-members. However, priority will always be given to our members beforehand.
Key J/70 dates in 2015
21-22 Mar        Training (open to all)
28-29 Mar        Training (open to all)
18-19 Apr        Warsash Spring Championships - Weekend 1
25-26 Apr        Warsash Spring Championships - Weekend 2
9-10 May         RSrnYC Regatta
16-17 May       Masters' Weekend
30-31 May       Younger Members Weekend
20-21 Jun        J/70s participate in the Cumberland Regatta
6-10 Jul           J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle
25-31 Jul         RYS Bicentenary Regatta
27-30 Aug        J/70 Nationals in Dartmouth
12-17 Oct        J/70 Europeans in Monaco
We will also be organising an event similar to the popular Mum's Bucket but using a short course fleet, instead of team, racing format. Keep an eye on the website.
So, please mark your calendars with some of the above events which, along with others, will soon be shown in the calendar on the Club website. You'll also be able to register via the website and, otherwise, via the Sailing Office. As always, don't worry if you haven't got a helm, crew or a full team. We'll try our best to put crews together. At the end of the day, we want the J/70s [and our J/80s!] to be used by our members.
So, to get the ball rolling, we have two training weekends on 21-22 and 28-29 Mar. These sessions will provide participants with invaluable advice on how to rig the J/70s and optimise speed and manoeuvring. Please put your name down for one or both weekends.
Also, if any member is considering chartering one of the J/70s to compete in the J/70 Worlds (6-10 Jul), please register your interest with the Sailing Office as soon as possible and at the latest by close on Fri 6 Mar. We will likely offer our boats for overseas competitors to charter for this event but, as always, priority will be given to our members.
I hope the above gives you an overview of some of our plans for the eagerly awaited J/70s. I should just like to mention that our purchase of the J/70 fleet has been helped to a large degree by the very generous financial assistance of two of our members and, on behalf of the Royal Thames, I would like to record our sincere thanks to them.
Finally, please let me know if you have any comments or suggestions re our racing programme. I have a number of ideas for ways to develop it but would welcome your comments.
Warmest regards,
Are you coming to the Racers' Dinner on Tue 17 Feb? There are still some places available, so how about getting some mates together and reserving a table? Our guest speaker is Helena Lucas MBE, who will talk about her success at London 2012 when she claimed the Paralympic gold medal in the 2.4mR class, becoming Britain's first ever Paralympic sailing gold medallist, as well as her preparations for Rio in 2016.
Angus Prentice
Captain of Racing, Royal Thames Yacht Club
Mobile: +44 (0)7974 982 512