Thursday, September 27, 2018

WEST MARINE J/70 World Championship Update

J/70s sailing at Worlds (Marblehead, MA)- The 2018 edition of the J/70 World Championship, sponsored by WEST MARINE, will be hosted by Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA for a fleet of ninety teams from around the world. It may represent the most unprecedented assemblage of world-class talent ever gathered together in a single one-design regatta in history- keelboat or dinghy. Teams will be travelling thousands of miles to compete at the 2018 J/70 World Championship from as far away as Australia, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Italy, Great Britain, Japan, Monaco, Russia, Spain, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden and Turkey. Furthermore, J/70 teams will be competing from all over South America including; Argentina, Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay.

J/70s sailing off start- WorldsDay 1- Big, Fat Tuesday
The first day will be remembered for tough racing conditions. A cold and wet southeasterly wind brought true Atlantic conditions to the combat zone. The big factor was the sea state, with waves topping out at over three metres. Upwind J/70s were climbing, then launching off huge waves. The downwind rollercoaster ride was an adrenalin pumping rush, the opening day was extreme, and right on the edge for racing.

PRO Hank Stuart and his team kept a close eye on the weather, and just before the bad weather really closed, called a halt to racing after two heart-thumping races. As the fleet headed into a warm welcome at the Eastern Yacht Club, torrential rain engulfed the race area, and there were no complaints about not running a third race.

Reigning J/70 Open World Champion, Peter Duncan (USA) racing Relative Obscurity, was second in both races to top the leaderboard. In second place, Claudia Rossi (ITA) racing Petite Terrible scored a 4-1, and lying third after Day One is Bruce Golison (USA) racing Midlife Crisis, after a 3-3 scoreline. Alberto Rossi (ITA) racing Enfant Terrible is fourth after two races, having scored a 5-5, and Vincenzo Onorato's Mascalzone Latino, racing under the burgee of the Yacht Club de Monaco, scored a win and a 13th to finish the day in fifth.

In the Corinthian Class Jim Cunningham (USA) racing Lifted leads the fleet after two races. Ignacio Perez (MEX) racing Zaguero with all family members is second, and Lucas Authier (ARG) racing Manuto is third. Luis Bugallo (ESP) racing Marnatura scored the best result in Race One, but retired in Race Two after sustaining damage.

“It was a struggle today,” commented Jim Cunningham racing Lifted to top of the Corinthian Class. “Keeping in clear air was key, but to do that in the pack you have to anticipate much more about the boats around you. Staying on the edges, especially downwind was our game plan today, and it was a lot of fun, we hit 19 knots as a top speed, which is something you don't often experience. Mark roundings were a challenge, we came in on Port a couple of times, which was interesting to say the least!”

“It was a great day for us with two good results but the championship is really long so we have to be focused and strong until the end,” commented Claudia Rossi. “ I prefer big conditions, I feel strong, and I am not scared by the waves or high winds. I absolutely enjoy these conditions and I hope we get it every day!”

Bruce Golison from San Diego is one of the most experienced skippers at the championship, and is a past winner of the Etchells Worlds and J/24 North Americans.  “Well done to the race committee today, under pressure, Hank and his team did a stellar job. On the first day of the worlds you just want to have a couple of keeper races, and things worked out for us,” commented Bruce. “It is a pretty darn tough fleet, so we are very happy with the start to the regatta. I hate sailing in the rain, but this is a world championship - you cannot let that bother you. I have been around since the first J/24 Worlds in 1979, and this is the deepest fleet in terms of overall talent. A lot of the owners have all sailed against each other for years and years, and this is spectacular racing, in a great fleet, who are pretty cool on the race course. It's the best of the best in one design keelboats.”

J/70s sailing World ChampionshipDay 2- Spanish Flyboys Dominate
After the rollercoaster ride on the first day, a change in the conditions provided a tactical and strategic second day of action. It was a gorgeous sunny day, most welcomed by the salt-encrusted crews from the day before.

Two Spanish teams reveled in the Mediterranean conditions and were leading the Open and Corinthian Classes. The wind was oscillating 15 degrees either side of the course axis and the wind speed varied from 14-17 knots; it was definitely a day for keeping your head out of the boat, anticipating the changes in the conditions.

After being deep in the fleet in Race 3, Jose Maria Torcida (ESP) racing Noticia, clawed back through the fleet to finish 14th. The Spanish team followed that with a 2-1 in the last two races to take the lead for the championship.

“We are very happy! ” smiled Noticia skipper, Jose Maria Torcida. “Today we recovered from the back of the fleet in the first race to fight back up to fourteenth, basically we got the wrong side of the shift in that race. We got the tactics right in the second race, rounded the top mark in second and nearly won the race but Savasana made a good move on the downwind to pass us. In the last race we Port tacked the fleet and held on to take the win, which was fantastic, but we have only had five races.”

Judd Smith (USA) racing Africa, posted a 2-6-11 to move up to second place. Brian Keane (USA), runner up for the 2017 J/70 World Championship, scored a bullet in Race 4 but a 28th in the last race, pegged his team racing Savasana back to third. Bruno Pasquinelli (USA) racing Stampede on his birthday, was challenging for the overall lead going into the last race but 31st place put Stampede into fourth by the end of the day. Mascalzone Latino (MON) helmed by Matteo Savelli, is in fifth place after scoring a bullet in Race 3.

“We just want to have a chance when we go into the last day. Right now we are just looking to sail ourselves into a winning position with some good scores.” commented Judd Smith. “Obviously like the other 90 boats out there we want to have a good regatta, and do as well as you can, against a lot of great sailors.”

In the Corinthian Class, Luis Bugallo (ESP) racing Marnatura leads after scoring three good results today. It was a much better day for the team from Vigo, Spain. After sustaining damage on the first day and retiring, Marnatura now has a big lead in the Corinthian Class. Aldo Centanaro (URU) racing Pura Joda, was the top Corinthian team in the last race, moving the Uruguay team up to second. Lucas Authier (ARG) racing Manuto, remains in third for the Corinthian Class.

It was not a good day for the overnight leader and reigning world champion, Peter Duncan (USA) racing Relative Obscurity. “We set up to go left in the first two races, but it did not work out for us,” commented Duncan. “In the last race we went right and that didn't work either. Sometimes, that happens but we are only two days into the regatta and there is plenty more racing to come.

J/70s sailing downwindDay 3- Black Flag Thursday
There were thrills and spills on the third day with 15 teams falling foul of the Black Flag during the three races held. Flatter seas and a shifting nor-easterly provided yet another different day. Eight of the maximum 14 races have now been sailed, and challengers for the championship are now emerging.

It was a day of high and lows for Peter Duncan (USA) racing Relative Obscurity. The defending J/70 World Champion did the business in Race 6, scoring their first bullet of the regatta but was disqualified in Race 7 for being OCS with the Black Flag flying. Race 8, Duncan's team scored a fourth to finish the day at the top of the rankings, on countback from Jud Smith (USA).

“For the Black Flag it was close but we were highly visible as the first boat on the pin,” commented Victor Diaz de Leon, who is calling the starts on Relative Obscurity. “It was immature on my part, and maybe a lack of experience, I feel like I let my guys down, because I say when to pull the trigger. Peter and the team back me 100% but it was a low point. We had to watch for over an hour before we got into the next race, and we were hungry. In the last race, we had a mediocre start and battled back, and ended up having a great race. We are very happy that we are leading the regatta but we have the biggest drop of the top boats. As I see it the top six are all level, and who ever sails the best for now on, is going to be the winner.”

Jose Maria "Pichu" Torcida (ESP) was leading the regatta at the start of the day but a 7-43-31 drops the Spanish team to third. Bruno Pasquinelli (USA) racing Stampede is in fourth place just four points off the lead. Jack Franco racing 3 Ball JT scored a bullet today to move up to fifth. Brian Keane (USA) racing Savasana drops to sixth after a 18-17-26. Congratulations should also go to Gannon Troutman (USA) racing Pied Piper who won the last race of the day.

In the Corinthian Class Luis Bugallo (ESP) Marnatura has extended their lead with two solid results today, the young team from Vigo, Spain have now broken into the top ten for the entire fleet. Finishing the day in style, Aldo Centanaro (URU) racing Pura Joda, scored a fifth keeping the Uruguay team firmly in second place. Jim Cunningham (USA) racing Lifted had a consistent day, keeping out of trouble to move up to third.  For more J/70 World Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.