The 2022/23 Hong Kong J/80 Class Championships took place at Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club (RHKYC, Middle Island) over the weekend of 10 & 11th December. For this edition of the championships there was a strong turnout of 18 boats, including a few teams from other competitive classes in Hong Kong joining, such as the Etchells, attracted by the close, competitive one design racing.
The strong pre-event favourites were ‘Baring Asia 2, skippered by internationally prominent Etchells sailor Mark Thornburrow. Mark and his crew won the previous two Hong Kong J80 Championships by a wide margin. Also migrating from the Etchells for this championship was Frank van Kempen (sailing Jahoo!), who placed 2nd at the J80 championships two years prior.
The first day of racing brought perfect sailing conditions - initially a slightly chilly December 12-14 knots - but easing off to a shiftier 6-12 knots as the bright sunshine warmed the day.
It was Jahoo! Who got off to a flying start in the first race, with Frank who’s aptly nicknamed ‘king of the pin’ starting toward the port end of the line before tacking out to the right side to take advantage of the shifty conditions, setting a dominant lead by the windward mark.
At the end of day 1, with 4 races complete it was Baring Asia 2 sitting atop the leaderboard, scoring a very consistent 3, 3, 2, 1. Hot on their heels and leading the representation of regular J80 teams was Adam Glendinnings Alchemist, with an 8th from the first race after being called early over the start line, followed by a 1, 1, 2.
Day 2 brought about similar racing conditions, though the wind started at 8-10 knots and built progressively toward around 14-16 knots by the 3rd and 4th races. Again it was Jahoo! Laying down the gauntlet in the first race of the day (Race 5), except on Day 2 Frank’s team managed to carry momentum into races 6 & 7, taking one more bullet and very nearly a 3rd win of the day but for being overtaken by Baring Asia 2 just before the finish of race 7.
Heading into the final race of the championships, after lots of mixed results, there were 3 teams on approximately equal points, meaning the final race would be the decider; all or nothing for the teams battling it out. Mark Thornburrows Baring Asia 2 had been most consistent throughout but then two teams, Frank van Kempen’s Jahoo! and Adam Glendinnings Alchemist had each scored more 1st or 2nd places than Mark but had more mixed results.
With the breeze building to around 15kts, it was Alchemist who were able to put the pedal to the metal out of the start, pulling forward from the fleet to take a reasonable lead by the top mark. From thereon they were able to solidify their position, opting for a loose covering of Thornburrows Baring Asia 2 on the 2nd upwind.
Glendinning’s Alchemist took the championships for 2022/23, with Thurnburrow’s Baring Asia 2 in 2nd and van Kempen’s Jahoo! placing 3rd overall. The 1st Corinthian (amateur) team was Andrew Moore’s Tigrina, who raced an excellent series and slotted into 4th in the overall standings.
The post racing scene entailed sailors mingling dockside, still buzzing from the racing as they shared stories from their day. While the J80 class enjoys close one design racing it’s also the friendly and welcoming social experience offered by the J80 class which makes it a fantastic class to be part of.
With huge thanks to organisers, RHKYC, the J80 Class Association of Hong Kong, all volunteers including the race management team lead by Barry Truhol.
Full results Here