The Martinez's Re-writing History?(Lago di Garda, Italy- 27 June)- With the win of the Spanish boat PERALEJA GOLF, skippered by Carlos Martinez, the Spanish teams may be slowly re-establishing the pre-eminence of Spanish sailors who were once remarkable sailing adventurers that took great risks and opened up the New World (e.g. anything other than Europe) to a wide-eyed European community in the 16th century.
Carlos Martinez and his crew on PERALEJA GOLF from Spain showed what they can do on the water once again after another fantastic day’s racing on the final day. They came 3rd in the first race and 1st in the second and final race of the Championship, giving them 45 points, only one point ahead of the next boat. Martinez said “Of course we came here to win, but to be honest we didn’t really expect to as we knew how tough the competition was going to be. We knew it was not going to be easy. We have been sailing together as a team now for 3 years and two years ago came 3rd in Kiel and 3rd in the World’s and last year we came 3rd again in the World’s in Santander. So this is our first major win on the international circuit and so makes it extra special for us all.”
On the first day, the racing kicked off with a delayed start. The usual “Ora” wind from the South going up the lake was delayed, which resulted in a delayed start and only two races taking place. Just as the wind was full of surprises, so were the races. The Spanish dominated the leading positions all day finishing first (Luis Martinez Luis), second (ECC VIVIENDAS) and third (PERALEJA GOLF).
The second day saw a complete turn-over in the winner's column with the French leading the day-- as they say, "Vive la France!" After the day's three races, the French boat ATLANTIS skippered by Laurent Sambran from APLC takes the honor of leading the Europeans with a 9th, 5th and 2nd, giving them 30 points overall. Second overall on the second day was the Italian boat OLJ Spirit steered by Federico Rajola taking 1st, 8th and 14th today giving them 33 points. Following right behind in their shadow, also with 33 points was the Spanish boat FORTY FIVE helmed by Luis Martinez. The British boat TEAM BALTIC WHARF sailed by Henry Bomby was in 4th. So, this scenario set the tone for the next two days, with the four countries and their teams battling it out to maintain or improve their leading positions. The Spanish, however, have five boats in the top ten positions, the French and the Italians have two and the UK just one.
On the third day, the impressive fleet was tested and challenged. Tough competition and a high level of expertise among these crews means that every race was something they all have to fight very hard for, and on this day the top three positions changed again. The wind was constant and gradually increased throughout the afternoon, providing more stability to the conditions than the championship had previously seen. On Day 3, a new leader emerged in the form of the Spanish boat PERALEJA GOL,F skippered Golf helmed by Carlos Martinez- they dominated racing with a 1st, 3rd, and 1st today placing them firmly ahead of the rest of the fleet with 22 points. This is not such a surprise to J/80 followers, as they came 3rd in the World’s in Kiel in 2008 and again in Santander in 2009. Second is another Spanish boat, MUSTANG, helmed by Luis Martinez, a boat that is also often found in the top few places (2nd in the Santander Worlds 2009)-- their 2nd , 8th and 7th, gave them 32 points and were thus 10 points behind the leaders. However, new to such high placing in the international circuit and thus a boat to watch out for in the future, is the Italian boat OLJ Spirit helmed by Federico Rajola- their 25th, 10th and 2nd gave them 41 points and third overall with one day to go.
On the final days racing, the top ten standings flip-flopped yet again. Behind regatta winner PERALEJA GOLF in 2nd overall was the Spanish boat MUSTANG helmed by Luis Martinez, finishing the day with a 2nd and 12th. This team also had a 13 year old boy crewing for them; no doubt someone for us all to watch out for on the water in the future! Third overall was yet another Spanish boat, NEXTEL ENGINEERING helmed by Rodriguez Camino who today had a 7th and spectacular 1st finishing with 58 points. One point behind in 4th position, was another Spanish boat ECC VIVIENDAS helmed by Jose Maria Turcida in 1st and 10th position in the last day's racing. It's clear the Spanish J/80 fleets are producing world-class sailors from their year-round racing in Palma de Mallorca, Barcelona, Bilbao and Santander.
TEAM BALTIC skippered by Henry Bomby from England finished 5th overall, despite having a 6th and a disappointing 31 on the final day. This team showed great consistency throughout the Championship and have proved themselves to be a boat with great potential. The French boat ATLANTIS, helmed by Laurent Sambron came in 19th and 11th today, resulting in them losing a few places. But this team, too, have displayed some great sailing this week. Dropping a few positions today after a bad start in the first race, OLJ SPIRIT helmed by Rajola Federico took a 29th and 18th today which meant they finished 7th overall and top Italian team. In 8th position overall there was yet another Spanish boat CROCS helmed by Javier Aguado who had a 15th and 8th. Two French boats keep the French tri-color flag flying in 9th and 10th positions overall, giving them three boats in the top ten positions. In 9th was GEODIS steered by Luc Nadal who actually had two 9th positions today and in 10th position overall was ECOLE NAVALE CG29 helmed by Patrick Bot. This year’s Italian Championship winners, TEAM JENIALE! finished 11th after a great day on the water today with an 8th and 3rd. The top German boat was PROCEDES DIVA who finished 13th and the top Dutch boat was JOIE DE VIVRE finishing in 14th position. In 15th position was the German boat CAMPAIGN. For Estonia, TEAM NAUTILUS came in 26th and also from far afield, MOONRAKER from Poland finished 38th. For more J/80 Europeans sailing information. Photo Credits- Jaco Poraule