Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Pichu Torcida Wins 2nd J/80 Worlds

J/80 Worlds- Pichu Torcida wins - crew photoEpic, Wild, Wet, Sunny Finale

(Newport, RI- October 5-9)- Sixty-two teams from nine countries sailed last week in the J/80 Worlds off Newport.  With six past World Champions sailing, it was tightly fought competition amongst excellent sailors.  It will be remembered as one of the best sailing regattas ever.

J/80 Worlds- sailing downwind under full plane
The sailing itself was extraordinary.  When the regatta started on Sunday/ Monday, teams were practicing in 15-30 knot winds.  More of the same was predicted for the next day. Tuesday's northeaster blowing 15-25 knots offshore with ginormous waves from the east made for some incredibly long planes/ surfs on what seemed like a long roller-coaster ride.  Wednesday's WNW breeze offshore was incredibly tactical and shifty.  That was followed up by yet another even shiftier and tactical day on Thursday inside Narragansett Bay.  For the grand finale on Friday, the fleet was treated to epic conditions- sun, 15-30 knot shifty winds from the WSW, ginormous steep waves, with the 80s wildly planing downwind.

J/80 Worlds- rounding windward markThe first two-time winner of the J/80 Worlds was Jose Maria "Pichu" Torcida sailing ECC VIVIENDAS from Santander, Spain.  However, going into to the last day of racing, it was truly anybody's guess as to who would end up crowned as the 2010 J/80 World Champion.  The top five all had a good chance of winning. At one point, PERALEJA GOLF's Carlos Martinez had it in the bag and was ready to celebrate.  After race ten, Scott Young's and Terry Flynn's team on QUANTUM RACING were ready to break out the champagne, as Pichu Torcida's crew on ECC VIVIENDAS had experienced a massive gybe broach (keel-waving anyone?) and finished 18th. After race eleven, it was anyone's guess how the standings finished as there were enough black flags, DSQs and Z flag penalties that it was next to impossible to compute 3-5 point differences in the standings for the top 25 finishers, forgetting the fact that the top five were racing for the title separated by several points going into the first race of the day.

J/80 Worlds- Scott Young and Terry Flynn- runners upSetting the stage for the last race was the fact that it was still anyone's ball-game to go win.  The top three were now the top five-- any finish up or down the top ten in the last race would determine who would win between Scott's QUANTUM RACING, Pichu's ECC VIVIENDAS, Carlos' PERALEJA GOLF, Jeff Johnstone's LITTLE FEAT (who BTW had the best scores for the last two days, each day!) and Glenn Darden's LE TIGRE.  By now, it was clear that PRO Tom Duggan and Brad Read had the SailNewport RC team troops marshaled together to get yet one more unbelievably epic race off in the spectacular conditions the fleet had enjoyed in race ten.  The fleet started in a "baby gale"- blowing a steady 20-30 knots, shifting 10-15 degrees, with large breaking waves.  Carlos Martinez won the last race in convincing fashion- planing across the finish line going at least 17 knots and enshrouded in huge sheets of salt spray.  Second was Javier Blanco sailing CROCS in his best race of the series.  Third was Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT, despite sailing 80% of the last run wing-on-wing with main and jib after shrimping and shredding their spinnaker on the set at the last windward mark.  Fourth was Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE and fifth Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS with the six point spread they needed to beat Scott and Terry's QUANTUM RACING for the World title.

J/80 Worlds- ECC Viviendas winning a sailboat race.After the dust and salt-spray settled, Pichu's ECC VIVIENDAS team from Real Club Nautico Santander (Spain) are crowned the 2010 J/80 World Champions, winning by two points over Scott Young/ Terry Flynn's team from Austin Yacht Club on QUANTUM RACING that had 50 points.  Third was Carlos Martinez's team from Santiago, Spain on PERALEJA GOLF, only four points back with 54 points.  Fourth was Jeff Johnstone's team on LITTLE FEAT from Ida Lewis YC with 58 points, just one point ahead of Glenn Darden's LE TIGRE team from Fort Worth Boat Club with 59 points. It was truly a horse-race at the end to determine the final standings for the top five, and not one anyone will forget for a long time.

Congratulations to Jeff Johnstone, Kendra Muenter from J/Boats and Brad Read and Tom Duggan from SailNewport as the principal regatta/ race organizers for conducting what had to be one of the best regattas ever in most sailor's recent memories.  Sailing Photo Credits- Allen and Daniela Clark-  Follow all the action, photos and results for the J/80 Worlds.