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J-Class fleets pull out of International Race Week

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For the first time in over two decades the J-24s and J-105s will not be featured in Bacardi Bermuda International Invitational Race Week.

This means that only the International One Design (IOD) and Etchells will compete on the Alpha Course in the Great Sound designated for the larger keelboats this year.

Jonathan Brewin, commodore of Race Week co-hosts Royal Bermuda Yacht Club (RYBC), said: ”The class decided they weren’t able to participate, which is unfortunate.”

When asked why J-Class sailors had opted not to take part in this year’s invitational regatta, the veteran sailor and HWP CEO replied: “As I understand it, they aren’t competing due to a lack of international interests.”

It is understood that a decline in numbers in the local J-Class fleets in recent years may have also factored in their absence in the upcoming Race Week to be held April 21-27.

Meanwhile, it is anticipated that racing will be fierce in the IOD fleet which features six-time world champion Penny Simmons of Bermuda and two-time world champion John Burnham of Fishers Island.

The 13-strong IOD race fleet also consists of as many as five former Race Week champions, including defending champion Dan Faria who hails from Newport, Rhode Island. Faria is keen to repeat as champion this year, as are past Vrengen trophy winners Giles Peckham of England, son-of-the-soil Craig Davis, Norway’s Jan Peter Roed and IOD Marblehead Fleet’s Bruce Dyson.

Carrying the Island’s hopes in the Etchells is the evergreen Tim Patton who had a respectable showing at this year’s Etchells World Championships Down Under.

Bermuda’s past multiple Olympian, Peter Bromby, will not be competing in the Etchells this year.

Like the J-24s and J-105s, the Snipe Class will not be represented in Race Week this year which means only the Lasers and Comets will compete on the Bravo Course set aside in the Great Sound for dinghies.

This year marks the Comet Class’s first appearance in this event in four-years.

It is anticipated that as many as ten boats will make up the Comet fleet that will compete in a five-race series to be held in a single day.

“Although it’s only going to be a one day event, this is a start in the right direction and all the guys are excited,” said Bermuda Comet Class Yacht Racing Association president Gladwin Lambert.

“We would’ve liked to have raced the whole week because we did have three overseas sailors that showed interest. But they backed out at the last minute so we decided to race for one day among ourselves.”

Class heavyweights Stevie Dickinson, Rudy Bailey and Lambert are expected to be thick in the hunt for Race Week bragging rights in the Comet Fleet.

“We were hoping for 12 boats, but I’m sure we will have ten, which is a nice fleet,” Lambert said.

Past Sunfish world champion Malcolm Smith, Brett Wright and defending Race Week champion Rockal Evans are expected to be in contention for top honours in the Laser fleet this year.

Evans, who also sails the Comet and Fitted Dinghy, is gunning for a third straight Race Week title this year.

J-Class yachts will not be featured in this year?s Bacardi Bermuda International Invitational Race Week
Laser contender Rockal Evans

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Published April 17, 2012 at 9:32 am (Updated April 17, 2012 at 9:32 am)

J-Class fleets pull out of International Race Week

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