Monday, June 27, 2016

J/80 World Championship Preview

J/80 Worlds- Sotogrande, Spain (Sotogrande, Spain)- The first J/80 teams started to arrive in Marina Sotogrande during last month’s RC-44 World Championship.  In fact, several of the J/80 sailors were also sailing the RC-44s before their preparation for participating in this year’s J/80 World Championship that will be running from June 25th to July 2nd.  All that time offshore of Club Nautico Bevelle’s beautiful facilities may pay off for some teams; many of them have been training for weeks in the waters of Barcelona to learn as much as possible about the wind and currents.

Fifty-seven teams are entered from six countries (Spain, Norway, Great Britain, Italy, France, Russia). The CNB PRO plans for up to fifteen races in a windward-leeward format over the five days of competition.

Spain's Sotogrande MarinaNot surprisingly, the largest group will be fielded by the host nation- Spain- with thirty-nine teams from across their half-dozen fleets.  They will have most of their past World Champions hoping to duplicate past success yet again versus some of the world’s top one-design keelboat sailors.  Amongst that rarified group are NAUTICA WATCHES (Jose Maria van der Ploeg), BRIBON MOVISTAR (Marc de Antonio), HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA (Rayco Tabares Alvarez), OXITAL (Jose Maria “Pichu” Torcida), HM HOTELS (Javier Chacartegui), and MOVISTAR (Iker Martinez).  It is significant the Martinez Brothers are jumping back into the class and campaigning for another World Championship title; amongst their other accomplishments were nearly winning the Volvo Ocean Race on TELEFONICA and are Olympic Medallists in the 49er Class and also 49er World Champions.  Collectively, this group of talented sailors would be the envy of any national Olympic team selection committee around the world!

While the Spanish crews will be fighting huge battles for the honor of being the top Spanish sailor in 2016 on the J/80 World’s stage, the visiting foreign contingent are just as capable of sailing at the top of the leaderboard.  Leading French teams that have been sailing all spring will certainly create havoc at the top of the fleet, they include COURRIER JUNIOR (Eric Brezellec), GAN’JA (Luc Nadal), and ARMEN HABITAT (Simon Moriceau)- all winners of major J/80 regattas in France over the years and have placed on the leaderboard in past J/80 Worlds.  The same can be said for the United Kingdom crews like BETTY (Jon Powell) and AQUA J (Terence O’Neil)- both winners in UK and European waters over time, perhaps this year they will surprise everyone!  Finally, Italy’s JENIALE EUROSYSTEM (Massimo Rama) and Russia’s Alexey Semenov on RUS 1154 from Royal St Petersburg YC have participated in numerous J/80 events this past spring in preparation for the Worlds and expect to enjoy competitive racing!  For more J/80 World Championship sailing information