PRESS RELEASE SPORTS DEPARTMENT
J105 Association welcomes Fleet #21 of Bermuda
The 21st fleet of J105 racing boats was launched in Bermuda on Sunday 25 November, 2001. "Monkeyshines", the first of these 34.5-foot boats to be brought to the Island, arrived three years ago. Owner John "JT" Thompson has been racing her in the Bermuda Offshore Cruising Association (BOCA) ever since under a handicap system which allows a wide range of different makes of sailing vessels to compete on a more-or-less equal basis. She was successful enough to have won the overall trophy in 2000.
The J105 is, in Thompsons opinion, the ideal Bermuda boat. Designed by Rod Johnstone of Newport, Rhode Island these sleek boats are raced with a crew of 5 or 6 but can be easily cruised by two. In fact, Thompson and "Monkeyshines" co-owner Marlee Robinson double-handed their J105 the 500 miles from Newport to Annapolis several years ago. "Monkeyshines" is not, however, only a racing boat. She has seen 14 party people sitting comfortably in her roomy cockpit and has welcomed 4 or 6 people for overnight stays.
JT has long yearned for boat-for-boat competition for "Monkeyshines". This year his dream has come true. In the spring he facilitated the arrival of the second J105 on the Island a sister boat built in France under contract with the Newport main office. Owner Mike Tucker kept the French name "Joji". A third boat arrived several months later owned jointly by Buddy Rego (who has successfully sailed his Frers 41 in BOCA and Newport/Bermuda races for some time), Jonathan Brewin and Bill Riker. (The trio has named her "Not Mine"). In November Derek Ratteray became the owner of "Passion" - the fourth Bermudian J105.
With the arrival of "Passion" on the Island there were enough J105s in Bermuda to become Fleet #21 in the J105 Association, linking local boats with J105 fleets across America, in Acapulco Mexico and in the UK. In his capacity as Fleet Captain, JT Thompson organised Sundays launch with two races around Hamilton Harbour. Experienced J24 sailor Pete Ramsdale kindly volunteered to set the course and act as race committee. The challenging racing was followed by a champagne reception and lunch at the Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club and Gosling-sponsored liters of Mount Gay Rum for each boat.
While 25-knot winds grounded the International 14 sailors here for their World Championships, the J105s truly celebrated the breezes. With spinnakers full, the fleet planed down the Harbour with speeds topping 14 knots. Part of the object of the races was to allow sailors who had not experienced J105 sailing before to take part. JT stepped aside for Ed Faries to helm "Monkeyshines" he take first place in both races. Derek Ratterays boat is so new his spinnakers have still not cleared customs but using a chute borrowed from "Monkeyshines" and crew borrowed from other BOCA boats he achieved two second place finishes. It was Jonathan Brewins turn to skipper "Not Mine" and with several visitors on board he ended in third place. In fourth place was Mike Tuckers "Joji" with celebrity "sail alone" Bermudian Alan Paris on board.
Enthusiasm for these exciting boats is high. They plan to continue to race within BOCA but as everyones experience increases the expectation is that Fleet #21 will become an international force to be reckoned with.
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004 - "Monkeyshines" lead "Passion" down Hamilton Harbour
022 - "Not Mine" passes along Front Street, Hamilton
002 - "Not Mine" leads "Joji"
004 - "Monkeyshines" crew and visitors
005 - second start from deck of "Monkeyshines"
009 - "Passion" planing
010 -"Monkeyshines" crew in the lead
013 - Fleet 21 at the dock of RHADC
015 - Fleet Captain John "JT" Thompson toasts Fleet
001 - "Joji" crew - 4th place
002 - "Not Mine" crew - 3rd place
003 - "Passion" crew - 2nd place
004 - "Monkeyshines" crew - 1st place
006 - the 4 Fleet 21 owners - with Goslings-sponsored Mount
oo2 - J flag flying from Royal Hamilton Amateur Dinghy Club
004 - J flag flying from "Monkeyshines"
006 - "Monkeyshines" leaving the dock for the first race
014 - "Monkeyshines" leads at the start
013 - the first start of the first race of Fleet 21
016 - "Joji" shows off her clean bottom
019 - "Passion" (newest boat on the Island) dressed in "Monkeyshines"s