Phoenix Wins European Championship at the Royal Western Yacht Club

After battling with strong winds and a reasonable sea state for the first three days of the J/24 European Championships in Plymouth, at the start of the final day’s racing, the 37-boat fleet was greeted with a different challenge—light winds. The course for both races was in a tricky southerly varying in strength and direction. The smart tactic was to head out to starboard to catch the slightly stronger breeze and a lift off the Rame Headland. In the first race of the day, Nick McDonald’s Cacoon had to defend hard at the finish to fend off William Pollock in Flying Colours, who was able to keep clear on the run and overtake some six boats. But he was not able to beat McDonald to the line, only losing by a second, and closely followed by Andy Taylor in Phoenix. In the second and final race of the championships, the UK chairman of the Class, David Cooper in Jawbeaker finally showed his true potential by winning. He was followed over the line by Mike Mackie from Dartmouth in Jiggy with Japanese Gekko helmed by Tokuma Takesue in third place. At the close of the Europeans, the winning boat was Phoenix skippered by Andy Taylor. Second place went to Daniel Frost’s JJOne from Germany, and in third place was the young Irish team of Cillian Dickson from Howth Yacht Club in Kilcullen. Winning skipper Andy Taylor commented, “We’ve had a fantastic week’s sailing, across all wind conditions. We were fortunate to go into the final day without a bad discard which gave us options. The GER JJone have been phenomenal all week. We knew they had the speed to escape from a poor start or tricky first beat, and in final race put us in a boat-on-boat which was exciting. Even as we crossed the line, we didn’t know if we had done enough. We’ve had a great team and got on, both on and off the water, brilliantly. Huge thanks to team Phoenix (Rob, Paul, Zoe and Izzy) for putting up with me as well as PRO David Lovegrove and his team for a brilliant regatta, hosted by the always excellent Royal Western Yacht Club and Plymouth J/24 fleet.” A team worthy of note, Jool helmed by Dirk Olyslagers, came over from Holland having only been together six weeks. After mastering the conditions on day one, they proved themselves by achieving five top ten results in the last six races. The team from Sweden, sailing a chartered boat Another Cacoon, was heard to say, “This is a fantastic location. As soon as you let us know when the next event is, we’ll be back.” The main sponsor, Nick McDonald of Cacoon, said: “I’m delighted to have been a able to sponsor the Championships in my home port, and hearing comments like Dirk’s above from visitors makes it all worthwhile. All the competitors wanted to extend their special thanks to the organizing team from the Plymouth fleet headed by Stig McDonald with Neil Dunkley, Helen Peat, David Cooper and Nick Triscott. Stig said, “Everyone has worked extremely hard over the past 18 months to bring the event to Plymouth where we have a very active J/24 Class. The event couldn’t have gone better, the weather has been perfect, the racing has been competitive and the après sail has been welcoming.” For complete information, visit

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