The Junior Offshore Group (JOG) was formed on 7th December 1950 at a meeting at the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) in London. Its purpose was to create a race series for smaller yachts to race offshore than were permitted under RORC regulations at the time.
The UK offshore race scene might not have been what it is today had this group of adventurous sailors not set out to demonstrate that smaller yachts could race safely offshore just like their bigger brethren. To begin with race entry was confined to boats of waterline length of between 16' and 20' and spinnakers were banned. Today, spinnakers are very much allowed and the boats who race in JOG are a little bigger. Right from the outset JOG placed heavy emphasis on safety at sea, setting standards that were ahead of their time.
JOG always set out to ensure races could be completed in a weekend and the same is true today, although we do take advantage of Bank Holidays where possible to allow us to race further afield & celebrate or explore post-race for longer!
JOG decided on the Greek letter theta as its' emblem and symbol at the second meeting of the new club in December 1950.
The club even issued its own theta sail numbers from 1951 to the early 1970s. There were also JOG offshoots in Scotland and Australia and the archives are full of rich snippets of inter-JOG correspondance.
Amongst the founding members and early committee members of JOG were names that went on to become famous across the sailing world: Captain John Illingworth went on to found the Sydney-Hobart race among many other exploits and Patrick Ellam was joined by Colin Mudie to prove to the world that little yachts could brave the oceans too, when they took their specially designed 19'6 yacht Sopranino across the Atlantic. The story of their adventures aboard Sopranino is well worth a read.
JOG were delighted to welcome both Patrick Ellam and Colin Mudie to their 60th Anniversary regatta in 2011. Sopranino made an appearance too having been restored and kindly loaned for the event by the Cowes Maritime museum.
(Image appears courtesy of Max Mudie) Patick Ellam (left), Colin Mudie (right)
JOG racing has always been "Corinithian" in that we do not permit advertising or sponsorship for individual yachts. Colin Mudie spoke passionately at the JOG 2011 Regatta Dinner about his hopes that JOG would remain Corinthian for the future too.
JOG has certainly earned its place in sailing history and today it's a thriving club which takes racing seriously, and takes pride in the strength of the JOG membership community and JOGgers huge appetite for fun and adventure.