"A J/24 Turning Up-Side Down"
Up Side down "J" you turn me...

Athens Greece in front of Microlimano, January 1992



A series of 8 pictures is presented in this Web page. I think they are unique pictures, world wide.
And they are unique, 1st because they were taken on the spot as it happened, and 2nd, because "jokes"
of this kind, are not every day jokes!.

Even now,  when I look at them, I still like and enjoy them.
The 10th of  November 1995 I placed them on the Internet for you, to see them as well.
The pictures are 10,  17 to 25K .gif  interlaced or .jpg and they will take some time to load, but .....
They  where taken on a 35mm film,  copied onto a CD ROM, and finally processed for web presentation.
Soon we will have blow-ups to see by a clicking on each picture.
NOTE: You see, back in 1995 speeds where slow and pictures of this size had tobe small and interlaced!.

Well, the story is "ON" after you browse the pictures, so have some "dry fun", we had ours in wet suits. :-)

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3 4
3 4
5 6
5 6
7 8
7 8
9  10
9  10

Enjoyed the pictures?, now the promised story,
written by: Aggelos Aggelidakis (nautilus)

Captain: Dr.Athanasios N. Fanariotis, (afanar@sailing.gr)
Nautilus: Aggelos Aggelidakis
  • Nikos Sofroniadis
  • Sofoklis Morfopoylos

It was one lovely Sunday morning, January the 11th 1992, sunny, windless, and warm for this time of the year.

We were quite excited because we had been planning for some time to take part in a series of four inshore races organised by the Yacht Racing Club of Athens. Little did we know about what was about to take place!!

The race was supposed to start 10am but it was delayed and we were sailing around the RC boat with the mains up and the engines on. At about 11am we decided to approach "Sidhartha", an X-412 whose owner is a very dear friend, to say "good morning" and have a drink. As soon as we got next to them, the captain (the "dear friend", we do not name names) and 11 members from his crew stormed us in a very pirate like way.

Instead of demanding any gold we might have been carrying, or taking prisoners the women we did NOT have with us!, one of them started climbing up the mast while the others leaned over the right side of the boat "for the fun of it", later we have been explained that their goal was simply to "upset" us, but....

The first time the "J" turned upright again and everybody was laughing.This wasn't enough for them and they had a second go.

Parenthesis: While everybody was watching the "happening", the race photographer Paul Kourkoulos, was photographing the event!.

So the "invaders", had a second go, but this time, the main got into the water. Most of us jumped into the cold water, but not everybody on board.

In the beginning (for some seconds) we thought that the "J",  it would do its "magic" and turn upright again, so a few more jumped into the water too. 
(The second week of January is not exactly the best time of the year for a swim!!).

The poor "J", however, was already too exhausted from the first try and refused to make the effort. 
It helped that three guys kept hanging from the mast, even when it was in the water, refusing to jump into the water. After that, water started getting into the boat through the hatches that we had opened before we reached "Sidhartha" in order to get the fenders out and not secured again because of the very calm weather.

The only one who did not get "wet" in the end is Sotiris, the one who had climbed up the mast. You can see him on the third picture walking on it as the boat has already tilted at more than 90 degrees angle, and then sitting on it as it capsizes. He is also seen on the fifth picture sitting on its bow as the "J" is being towed into port.

The "J" capsized in about three minutes and that was when the situation started getting serious. We were picked up by other boats that where waiting for the start of the race while others helped to turn the "J" upright again.

It was then towed back into port and just before reaching the crane that would lift it to safety, it decided that life was too harsh and sunk. :-(.

That is also when Sotiris, the "mast climber" finally got wet!. 
The operation to resurrect the poor victim turned into a bit of a party, or a shouting match if you will, with half the people present yelling advises to the other half as to how this should be done! It took about one hour to lift it from the dark world that it had entered and about at least four hours to clean it up.

Everything was wet inside the boat but nothing was lost, people around they started giving us dry clothes and brandy to get warm. We where very excited commenting the story to the port staff and anybody else who cared to listen.

The whole incident raised quite a few doubts about the stability of the J/24's in general which lasted for more than a month and still go on whenever the subject is brought up. 
We would like to attest that the boat is very stable, provided Sotiris is not climbing up to the mast and nobody is hanging from it when it heels 90 degrees!! :-)

What we found very surprising was that the water was not too cold at all, and although considered to be "dirty" nothing happened to us. Actually since then and if the weather is warm, we do not hesitate to have a quick dive, germs if any, made us indestructible!. Maybe there is something to be said about those who swim all year round after all!! Needless to say that we did not participate in that race nor any of the others the following Sundays. We did, however, get the chance to make a set of unique T-shirts with the inscription in the back "Up side down "J" you turn me", and Sidhartha carries a "scratch" on the boom, indicating: "One boat sunk, now the next....

So, if you ever see anybody wearing such of these T-shirts around Mikrolimano you will know that he is one of the "heroic J/24 crew". :-)

 Author : 
A. Aggelidakis

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