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J-Class World Championship - Hanuman takes first win

Hanuman, skippered and steered by local ace Ken Read stole the show on a spectacular opening day of the first ever J Class World Championship on the waters of Newport, Rhode Island.

Newport is the home of J Class yachts, where they made their America's Cup debut way back in 1930.

Hanuman lead from the first mark around a 20 nautical miles 'Navigators Course', until challenged by the newest J Class yacht in the fleet Svea, which is guided by wily America's Cup Stars & Stripes veterans Peter Isler and Tom Whidden.

Hanuman fought back downwind with smooth, well executed manoeuvres. When they took their well earned winning gun, Hanuman were extending into the mist, stepping clear of a spirited scrap over places second to sixth.

The New York Yacht Club race team took full advantage of the forecast for a building, pre frontal breezes to sail a spectacular, tight coastal course up and back under the Newport-Jamestown bridge, checking off in turn historical local landmarks made famous over the dozen editions of the America's Cup raced here.

Ranger shut out Velsheda at the windward end of the start line and with nowhere to go Velsheda clipped the signal boat.

Harrying Hanuman around the first top mark Svea – in just their fifth ever J Class race - split their kite on a botched hoist, forcing them to make their first ever in line spinnaker peel.

Double winners in Bermuda Lionheart came from behind on the beat to the finish, holding west of Gould Island, enjoying a huge starboard tack lift which got them back up to a useful third.

There were even a pod of dolphins out to play around the bows of Ranger and Topaz early on the first 3.5 nautical miles beat.

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The 20 nautical miles course was essentially a short upwind to a laid mark followed by a long run north against the ebb, funnelled spectacularly under the centre span of the bridge.

Their choice of the Castle Hill, right side of the run looking downwind, by Svea prompted in part by their kite problems, yielded a useful dividend in tidal relief and they were all but leading as they passed Fort Adams, until Hanuman again eased away at the next gybe.

For the Svea team which only put their rig back in the boat just over a week ago after having their Bermuda J Class America's Cup halted by a forestay problem after just two races, second place today was a welcome reward.

The newest, biggest J ever shows great speed but they are still early on the learning curve when it comes to smooth, effective manoeuvres compared to the teams polished by more than five years of J Class racing.

After being bounced around downwind Lionheart made the most of their recovery up the beat and were pressing Svea hard to the line losing out by just five seconds on corrected time.

J Class World Championship - Race 1

1st Hanuman 2h 8m 13s
2nd Svea 2h 10m 15s
3rd Lionheart 2h 10m 20s
4th Topaz 2h 11m 37s
5th Ranger 2h 12m 4s
6th Vesheda 2h 10m 17s

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