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Keith Lovett, Business Development Manager - Boat-Zone

Keith Lovett, Business Development Manager

Latest news from Keith Lovett, Haven Knox-Johnston’s Business Development Manager:

Welcome to my blog with latest news from Haven Headquarters and boating related issues. If you would like to share a topic – contact us on the Haven Knox-Johnston Twitter page @havenkj or the HavenKJ Facebook page here…

Latest News:

J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race 2016

Picture taken by Frank Cope. Haven KJ Firestarter rounding St Catherine's.

Picture taken by Frank Cope.
Haven KJ Firestarter rounding St Catherine’s.

A busy weekend for both Haven KJ Firestarter and Haven KJ Enigma started on Thursday evening racing in the Royal Motor Yacht Club evening series. A frenetic race around Poole Bay saw both boats in the top three in a highly competitive fleet of 11 yachts.

Friday morning and the Poole Yacht Racing Association feeder race from Poole to Cowes, provided a long downhill sleigh ride across Poole and Christchurch Bays following a short beat. Haven KJ Firestarter well up with the leaders and certainly leading on handicap into the Solent but suffered a bad broach at Hurst in a 35 knot gust loosing several minutes. Having recovered places were made up, ending up a very respectable third (yet to be confirmed).

Saturday 2nd July – Race Day and the main event

We were in IRC Group Two, starting at 09:20 with 156 boats on our start line. We found the gap we were looking for just above a pack of boats at the Royal Yacht Squadron, secured clear air and were 8th or 9th to get into the Cowes Green and the first tack out onto Port with 150 boats coming towards us on Starboard.

We found the gaps, some very close and so began the long haul up to the Needles. We were pleased with our beat but undoubtedly suffered against some far heavier boats between Hurst and the light house rounding and bearing away in around 10th position in our class. We were now seeing gusts well up into 30 knots and speeds in excess of 12 knots. Broaches around us were frequent so giving other boats lots of space a priority and sadly we saw a number of masts break on the white knuckle ride to St Catharine’s.

Reportedly gusts up to 40 knots and more were recorded at this the most Southern point and half way around the Island – a gale!

Gybing repeatedly to keep out of the strong ebb tide we were to lose our vang strut (which holds the boom down) on one such eye watering manoeuvre. A temporary repair lost us 20 minutes or so and alas quite a number of places but once up and running again we started to claw our way back up our class. We reefed at the busy Bembridge Ledge buoy for a close fetch down to Ryde. With 30 knots still being seen we were taken up by a 70’ Clipper yacht at the mark (with a boat also inside us) several fairly vocal calls for room and we were provided with the space we were entitled to as the inside yacht.

Tide avoidance tacking closely into Ryde sands and we gained a few places on the beat back to Cowes to finish 13th in our class.

We discovered that we had also won the IRC Bavaria Trophy beating the second IRC boat of our make, by over an hour on corrected time and the best Bavaria in the larger ISC fleet by 12 minutes.

‘Haven KJ Enigma’ had a stunning race finishing 5th in their Group 3 class, so both MS Amlin yachts handled the sometimes extreme conditions very well.

Just a few repairs and ‘Haven KJ Firestarter’ is back out next weekend racing in Poole’s two handed mini-series – hoping for just a little less wind!

Poole Yacht Race

The crew from HKJ Firestarter jumped on board, crew member Phil Nicholas’ Maxi 1100 ‘Destiny’ to compete in last weekends Poole Yacht Racing Associations race from Poole to St Vaast on Friday 17th returning across the channel on Sunday 19th.

Following a 06:00 am start in Poole Bay it was ‘Destiny’ that lead the PYRA fleet off the UK coast, despite being the smallest boat in VPRS class one.


With Graham Davies from Pontos winches taking the photos, Mark Brook and myself joining Phil we managed to get the navigation spot on, picked up the flood around Barfleur and hot on the heels of much bigger boats went on to comfortably win the class.

A return picking up the eddy along the French coast on the return trip kept Destiny well in contention with 40’s. Once mid channel, setting an asymmetrical with 22 knots WSW and surfing speeds up to 11 knots helped Destiny once again dominate the fleet and take the weekend with two clear bullets.

The team will be back on HKJ Firestarter for the forthcoming JPAM Round The Island race in less than two weeks.

Watch this space…

Poole Regatta 30th May 2016:

The International Paint Poole Regatta fleet of 140 boats has enjoyed fantastic and varied conditions over the course of the late May Bank Holiday. Starting with light winds on Friday, the sparkling conditions on Saturday with wall to wall sunshine and a 10-15 knot breeze, and concluding with 15-20 knot winds on the Monday. Racing was divided up on to five race courses, with the multihulls, IRC, J/24 nationals spaced along the Bournemouth beach front, the Flying Fifteens, XOD, Shrimpers and VPRS classes in Studland Bay and the Bembridge Redwing and 2.4m classes within Poole harbour.

The multihull course included five Diam 24OD trimarans, which are a hugely popular class over in France and used for the Tour de France a la Voile. They provide exciting, affordable high performance trimaran racing on a relatively stable and robust platform. Within the Diam fleet were Team Concise, who brought their boat back to the UK after the Caribbean season, and also Mike Golding, a veteran of the Extreme 40 circuit, who enjoyed his first weekend in the class. Plans are afoot to now try and grow this class in the UK. Mike Golding won the class with some impressive use of the shifts and gusts on the final day.


Poole Regatta 29th May 2016:

Day 2 at the International Paint Poole Regatta was simply a cracker. Blazing sunshine, a good 12-14 knot breeze and great racing on the five courses out in the Bay and in Poole Harbour.

As Regatta President Andrew Pearce put it, “It is so good for Poole and so good for the sailing down here. The event has now become the third largest keelboat regatta in the UK and it’s exceptionally well run and I’ve been so impressed by the committee. Today must be the perfect day for racing with 10-15 knots and bright sunshine. It can’t get better than this.”

Full results are available on the event website at pooleregatta.co.uk but the day’s events are best described in pictures.


Poole Regatta 28th May 2016:

A hazy day with very little wind to start with turned into an unexpected and settled South Easterly of 10-12 knots to provide great racing for the 140 boats on day 1 of the International Paint Poole Regatta.

First to get racing were the J/24 fleet, where the event is the class National Championship, things couldn’t be closer with David Cooper on ‘Jawbreaker’ and Duncan McCarthy on ‘Madeleine’ tied at the top after each winning two races. Duncan described the day for the J/24 fleet, “A light morning, starting with the AP up for the first hour when a little bit of breeze filled in and the Race Officer did a good job in getting the first race underway in 5 knots of breeze. As always in these boats the racing is close! We were a bit concerned that when the sun came out we might lose the breeze completely but by 2pm we had a steady 10 knots of breeze – a good afternoon in the end.”


Monday 10th August 2015:

A busy week ahead as Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2015 gets into full swing. Alas, not racing this year but will be on the Island on Wednesday for meetings at the Island Sailing Club, catching up with clients and brokers.

The Fastnet fleet are also starting to gather in Cowes for the 90th anniversary of this legendary race which starts at noon on Sunday 16th August. Hopefully our friends Ian Braham and crew will be there on ‘Haven KJ Enigma’ an MG346 making it one of the smaller boats in the fleet and with a new mast going into the boat on Wednesday everything is crossed for them.

Still getting lots of positive feedback from our days at the Americas Cup World Series in Portsmouth and in particular the Haven Academy day taking young RYA Sailability sailors to the event to watch some of the racing and meet their yachting heroes.

The weekend also sees a Poole Yacht Racing Association race to Beaulieu on Saturday returning to Poole on Sunday.