After a week of watching the forecast, Race Officer Steve Thompson made the decision to go ahead with the J/24 Autumn Cup at Poole Yacht Club. Saturday dawned with a strong southwesterly breeze so the decision was made to race within the harbour to shelter from the mid-channel gales. Following the briefing, 22 teams went afloat for four races back to back. Race one started on time at 10:30 with Madelaine helmed by Duncan McCarthy leading from start to finish. A pack of boats followed in close company with Joe Cross in Jambalaya just holding off a late charge from Dave Cooper’s Jive to take second followed by Cacoon and National Champions Hustle in fourth and fifth respectively. A quick turn around, and the fleet were away for race two. Once again, a good start from Madelaine catapulted them into an early lead which they held to the finish. This time, Nick Phillips and team on Chaotic recovered from a main halyard issue in race one to sail a solid race to finish second ahead of Sam Pearson’s Hustle. Race three saw the breeze increase, with some particularly strong gusts on the run, resulting in plenty of planing and broaches. Jive stormed into an early lead, which they held until the final run, when the ever-consistent Madelaine powered past to take their third win of the day. Jive took a close second with Hustle once again taking third. The final race of the day started with two boats OCS, but the majority of the fleet starting cleanly for another three laps. Once again, Madelaine started well leading around the windward mark and extending away to take a clean sweep for the day followed by Chaotic and Nick Macdonald’s Mojos in third. The fleet returned to Poole YC with smiles on their faces ready for a barbeque laid on by the club straight after racing, allowing crews to get together and socialize after an exciting day on the water. Following a few protests, the day’s results were posted seeing Duncan McCarthy and his team on Madelaine leading the way with 3 points. Second was Dave Cooper’s Jive on 9 points with Joe Cross’ Jambalaya third, ahead on count back of Sam Pearson’s Hustle (both on 11 points). Sunday morning dawned with gusts over 30 knots and a forecast of building breeze during the day. The decision was, therefore, made to abandon the day’s racing allowing boats to be lifted out before the weather closed in. A slick operation executed by a team of Poole YC members meant that an hour and a half later the 16 visiting boats had been lifted out of the water ready for the prize-giving where Poole YC Commodore (and J/24 sailor) Nye Davies presented Duncan and team Madelaine with the J/24 Autumn Cup. Duncan thanked the team at Poole YC for putting on a good event and getting four good races away in challenging conditions to finish the UK qualifiers for next year’s UK J/24 World Championship. For more J/24 United Kingdom Autumn Cup Championship information, visit https://www.pooleyc.co.uk/racing/results/772.