Thursday, December 24, 2015

GRAND SLAM Dominates Chilean J/105 Nationals

J/105 Gran Slam sailing team in Chile (Algarrobo, Chile)- In the first weekend of December, the Chilean J/105 class held their 4th National Championship on Algarrobo Bay. It was a fantastic turnout for this rapidly growing fleet on the southwestern coast of South America- 18 boats were on the starting line. During Saturday’s racing, the light wind conditions allowed the fleet to sail 2 of the 3 races  programmed for the day. On Sunday and Monday, wind conditions were stronger and all eight races were completed for the championship.

GRAND SLAM and ARCHIMEDES where fighting for the overall lead.  However, GRAND SLAM was crowned the 2015 J/105 Chilean Champion; Patricio Seguel was at the helm with his son Matias Seguel calling tactics and making the decisions along the windward-leeward course (Matias is also the Chilean J/24 Champion).  Father and son were a fast, smart combo, compiling a very steady record, winning four of the eight races for a total of 13 pts net.  Vernon Robert, another Chilean J/24 Champion, skippered ARCHIMEDES and found themselves in a battle for the silver with three other boats towards the end of the series.  In the end, ARCHIMEDES counted 33 pts total to secure 2nd overall.  However, Jorge Gonzalez’s PLAN B nearly caught them, closing fast with a 7-4 to finish with 35 pts net and the bronze on the podium.  The next two boats that rounded out the top five both had “bomber” racers in the 8th and final race.  Miguel Perez’s RECLUTA had a 12th to drop them out of contention for the top three and, as a result, finished in 4th with 37 pts.  By collecting a BFD in the last race, Miguel Salas’ BIG BOOTY also fell out of the fight and took the 5th position with 40 pts.

Formed in 2011, the Chilean J/105 fleet is the fastest growing keelboat class in Chile. Currently there are 32 boats, where 20 of them where imported from the US in the last 5 years.  With strict rules in terms of crews, the J/105 class in Chile has succeeded by focusing and protecting family and amateur crews. Also, it promotes a low budget program for the owners, keeps sail purchases down, mandates that all boats have wheels (so kids can steer) and enforces minimum boat weights.

The next event for the Chilean J/105 Class is the ChiloĆ© Regatta (January 23-31st) where 15 to 20 boats are expected to participate, including two top USA sailing teams! The J/105 is by far the largest fleet in the Chiloe Regatta, having eclipsed the Soto 30 and Soto 40 fleets three years ago as the top South American one-design keelboat!  Also, the J/70 will be making its Chiloe Regatta debut in the 2016 January edition.