J Class - Dream Double for Svea

Svea may be the J Class' 'newcomers' launched last year and racing at their first St Barths Bucket, but their two hard won first places is a perfect opening to the popular Caribbean regatta.Svea -

Racing remained typically close and Svea had to battle hard and sail smart for their first day double. On the finish line of the second race, Topaz crossed first ahead of Velsheda by only one single second, and eleven seconds separated first from third.

All three boats lead at different stages of the second race.

Svea corrected out from third across the finish to win by a slender three seconds on handicap from Topaz, with Velsheda in third just nine seconds shy of victory.

It is the first time in the short history of the Svea team that they have won two J Class races on one day.

Svea tactician Charlie Ogletree is backed up by Kenny Read sailing as strategist here. Read won the J Class one year ago at 'The Bucket' as skipper-helm of Hanuman.

Ogletree considers the changes made through the winter are working, a shoe fitted to their keel and a change of balance to their rig by utilising a bigger main.

Racing a 2.2 nm first beat in 12 to 14 kts of wind, Svea lead by two boat lengths at the first windward mark of the day with Velsheda second and Topaz third.

Velsheda eroded Svea's lead as they closed the leeward gate and were able to squeeze an inside overlap at the gate.

But by the top mark Svea were just ahead again and showed good boatspeed downwind, opening distance to take first gun and win by one minute and 36 seconds on corrected time with Velsheda second and Topaz third.

Topaz - Click image for a larger image

Topaz made the best start to the second race and profited by going early left towards the island.

At the first turn of the five leg windward-leeward, Topaz lead. In the oscillating breeze Velsheda read the second beat best, staying left and lead while Svea lost out a little by going right.

The Velsheda team highlighted their slick sail handling again at the leeward gate where a smart Kiwi drop allowed them to keep their noses in front.

Up the third and final beat it was incredibly even, Svea crossed Velsheda but, knowing they held enough advantage on rating, chose to stay conservative.

Velsheda - Click image for a larger image

For Velsheda, who sit third – at half way up the final beat - were still in with a chance of being best boat of the day, tactician Tom Dodson concluded,

"We are not so happy with the results today but feel like we sailed the boat quite well. We did not make any big mistakes and were rising in each race. We did not really do anything wrong but you could say we did not do anything right!"

"We had the lead in both races but just could not hold on. But the other two are sailing well."

J Class - St Barths Bucket Results Day 1

Race 1 - 1st Svea 1h 5m 42s, 2nd Velsheda 1h 7m 18s, 3rd Topaz 1h 8m 26s

Race 2 - 1st Svea 1h 20m 16s, 2nd Topaz 1h 20m 19s, 3rd Velsheda 1h 20m 25s

J Class - Overall after two races:

1st Svea (1, 1) - 2 pts
2nd Topaz (3, 2) - 5 pts
3rd Velsheda (2, 3) - 5 pts

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