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Bristol Channel IRC Championships and Shanghai Cup - Leg 2

by Tim Pearson 28 Jun 2023 10:08 UTC 24-25 June 2023
Bristol Channel IRC Championships and Shanghai Cup - Leg 2 at Cardiff © Timothy Gifford

Portishead Boat Ctrl-J wins the Shanghai Cup

After a successful weekend's racing in Portishead on 10th/ 11th June, the fleet re-grouped in Cardiff on 24th / 25th June for the second and final weekend of the regatta. With entries from Portishead Cruising Club (PCC), Cardiff Bay, Thornbury, Neyland, and Pembroke Haven Yacht Clubs, the event drew wide interest from the Bristol Channel racing community.

Saturday's racing started in light airs as the fleet headed for the windward mark near to the Monkstone lighthouse. As the wind continued to drop, the course was shortened and crews had to make tactical decisions to ensure they used the best of the wind while avoiding the effects of foul tide. Emma Peel, a Elliott 7 skippered by James Dwyer took line honours but it was regatta leader Ctrl-J, a J109 skippered by Andy Williams who collected the victory on corrected time with Jaloha, a J80 skippered by Jonathan Nutting, securing third place.

With glassy conditions, rare sightings of porpoises and no sign of the wind returning, racing was curtailed and the crews headed to Cardiff Bay Yacht Club to round off the day's racing with a BBQ and drinks.

Conditions looked more favourable for Sunday's racing and the first race got under way in a light airs. However, tactics once again came to the fore as the breeze dropped and some crews got trapped in wind holes which eventually meant not all boats were able to complete the course within the time limit. After a 50 minute postponement where a once again glassy Bristol Channel provided a swimming pool for the overheating sailors, a significant dark shadow approaching from Lavernock Point signalled the arrival of the forecast wind.

The second race quickly got into sequence. Amid continually building gusts and white caps forming, a general recall gave crews time to reef mainsails and switch down headsails in readiness for the more testing conditions that led to a fast and furious start. At the windward mark, spinnakers were hoisted for a demanding and fast downwind leg as crews completed two laps of the course.

After an exhilarating final race, the crews headed to the shelter of Cardiff Bay ahead of the final prize-giving. Ctrl-J, a J109 skippered by PCC member Andy Williams took the regatta's overall first place which meant they retained the Shanghai Cup for the second year in a row. Second and third place overall went to Cardiff Bay Yacht Club members, James Dwyer, skipper of Emma Peel, an Elliott 7 and Phil Cook, skipper of half tonner, Checkmate XV, respectively. Commenting on his regatta win, Andy Williams said, "Another fantastic and well organized Shanghai Cup that's tested us all in a variety of conditions. A huge thanks to all the competing crews, organizers and sponsors and of course special thanks to the Ctrl-J crew for some great teamwork to secure this result."

If you've always hankered to be part of a racing yacht crew or want to get back into sailing then the team at PCC would love to hear from you! The fleet races in a number of club series across the year in the waters of the Bristol Channel - including some evenings during the summer. Contact Nick Duppa-Miller at to find out more and get involved - you don't need a boat to join in the fun!

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