Monday, July 18, 2011

Spanish Teams Sweep J/80 Worlds

J/80 one-design sailboat- Spanish sailing team winnersCamino, VDP, Martinez, Tabares Go 1-2-3-4!
(Copenhagen, Denmark- July 8th)-  As one of the world's leading one-design keelboat classes, this year's J/80 World Championships did not disappoint.  With sixty-eight competitors participating in a world-class regatta sailed by some of the top sailors in the world, most sailors expected the top Europeans to factor in amongst the leaders.  With multiple Olympic and World Champions participating as skippers or tacticians and the best sailors from Spain sailing as a team, too, it was also expected the Spanish teams would be amongst the leaders at the end of the regatta.  In fact, the script for this "movie" played out nearly the same as it has in past worlds.

The last day racing dawned with grey skies, easterly winds of 10 knots and rain pouring down in Dragor, but that was not going to stop the Royal Danish YC's PRO from pressing forward to complete yet another challenging World Championship.  One where the actors were nearly the same as in the past four championships, but with roles swapping as to the new "cinderella story" and who would be the "new sheriff in town" for 2011.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing upwind at J80 WorldsAfter four days and nine races of excellent sailing in conditions that saw light to moderate winds for the entire event, it was clear the Spanish sailors are not only fast in a big breeze and big waves, they're also quite fast and smart in shifty, wind streak, "drag race-type" sailing conditions on the Baltic Sea where the winds never exceeded 12 knots!  Showing their extraordinary versatility was the new sheriff, World Champion for 2011, Ignacio Camino's team sailing their renown NEXTEL ENGINEERING to a very well deserved win over some extremely tough competition.  Ignacio and crew only had to get two good top 10 finishes on the last day to win, finishing with a 4-6 to win his second J/80 World Championship, the second Spanish sailor in a row to do so (countryman Pichu Torcida won the 2010 J/80 Worlds in Newport, RI in epic conditions).  They finished with a total score of 34 points to win by 10 points over the second place boat.

J/80 one-design sailboat- Jose Maria van der Ploeg's sailing teamThe Cinderella (and family) story of this year's Worlds has to be the remarkable comeback of Jose Maria van deer Ploeg (a.k.a. "VDP") sailing his boat GREAT SAILNG. Jose started off the series on the first day barely in the top 20 with a 27-17-11, disappointing to say the least.  Thereafter, from day two to day four, Jose's team (including his young son) simply smoked the fleet!  Perhaps, near total domination and a "schooling" of the fleet may be a better perspective regards how well Jose's team sailed the last six races.  How about a scoreline against Olympic medallists and World Champs in multiple classes that would be the envy of any team sailing in Dragor-- a 5-1-5-2-2-1 to finish with 44 points and win a tie-breaker with another Spanish team-mate Carlos Martinez (himself a former World Champion).  Proof that "family teams" can be competitive at a world-class level in one of the world's premiere one-design keelboats!

Third in the Spanish sweep of the podium was Carlos Martinez racing MAPFRE with his very strong, well-practiced team.  Carlos' team was yet another Spanish team that raced up the ladder after a disastrous first day, starting with a 3-26-4, to then finish off the series with an average of 6th place to finish with 44 points and lose the tie-breaker to Jose Maria!

J/80 Worlds- sailing upwind- Hotel Princesa Yaiza Canary IslandsFourth yet another Spanish J/80 World Champion, Rayco Tabares and crew on HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA GRAND CANARIAS, the same boat he's raced for years.  Amongst the top five, it was apparent that Rayco was the most despondent after the first day's racing- starting off with a disastrous 4-9-52.  Nevertheless, Rayco has proven to be a strong, indomitable competitor, and his "never say die" attitude serves him well.  Rayco's team confidently bounced back to be the only team to score back-to-back 1st places in races 7 & 8 to jump higher than most kangaroos and finish with 53 points.  In fact, had Rayco pulled off a miracle and finished in the top three in the last race, he would've finished 2nd overall!

J/80 worlds- Glenn Darden sailing teamPerhaps the "hard luck" award has to go to American Glenn Darden, yet another J/80 World Champion, sailing with his veteran team aboard LE TIGRE.  After starting off strongly to lead the regatta for the first two days, a lapse in race 7 on the third day was too much for them to absorb to stay in contention for the top three.  Now having to count both an 18th and 15th, Glenn's team nevertheless showed the rest of the world the LE TIGRE team is never to be counted out in the final results.  After getting the second best record of the final day behind Jose Maria's 2-1, LE TIGRE's 5-2 bounced them back up the ladder to fifth place overall with 56 points.

If Glenn's LE TIGRE team fell on some hard luck in some races, so too the same can be said for Sweden's Ingemar Sundstedt SWE 243.  Sundstedt was lying second going into the last day with a very good chance of being the first Swedish team to win the J/80 Worlds, especially since their worst race up to the last day was a 14th and their average finish was about 6th place, the most consistent team on the race course for the first three days!  However, the first race of the last day erased all chances of that happening, finishing with a 27th, then followed by a 7th in the last race to end the regatta with 58 points and finish 6th overall.

J/80 one-design sailboat- French team sailing in DenmarkFinally, mention should be made of the very strong showing by the top French teams, Eric Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT 2, the current French J/80 National Champion, finishing 7th and Jean Charles Moriceau finishing 8th!  Furthermore, it was also the first time the German teams showed both good boat-speed and good tactics, getting the next four places in the standings!  German teams finished 9th- Sven Vagt's GER 1027, 10th- Martin Menzner's GER 614 (a regatta leader on Day One), 11th- Bjorn Beilken's GER 1107 and 12th- Malte Christopherson's GER 745.   Top Danish team from the host country was Jesper Kragh Jespersen's DEN 850 in 13th, the top Italian team was Massimo Rama's EXTREME SAILING TEAM beating fellow Italian Aldo Samele's CANARINO FEROCE 2 by a HALF point! The top Russian team was Vitaliy Tarakanov RUS 999 in 29th, top British team was Tom Phipps' HAMBLE YACHT SERVICES in 32nd, top Polish team was Pawel Boksa's POL 1187 in 39th, top Netherlands team was Laura Vroon's NED 831 in 36th, top Estonian team was Peeter Meressaar's EST 603 in 56th and top Finnish team was Otto Reittila FIN 1144 in 64th.

J/80 one-design sailboat- top 3 Spanish world championsIn the final analysis, the racing was extraordinarily close going into the last day, as has been the case for at least the past four J/80 World Championships.  Excellent world-class sailing by the top fifteen, at least.  What was interesting was to see the depth of the teams that could pull off a top three finish during the course of the regatta, particularly in conditions where hitting corners often did NOT pay-off.  The top three podium finishes only accounted for 8 top three finishes (of a potential 27 possible!) and only four 1st places (just 44% of the 9 races!).  That's stunning fleet depth.  Moreover, the only teams that could get two first places in the series were the winner, Ignacio Camino's NEXTEL ENGINEERING and Rayco Tabares' HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA GRAND CANARIAS.  The lowest placing race winner (race #4) was Frenchman Luc Nadal who finished 24th; lowest place 2nd (race #5) was the Danish/American team of GULDFAXE (Tom Klok, Will/Marie Crump and Will Welles) in 17th overall.  Lowest place 3rd (race #2) was Italian Naval Academy Sailing Team's Giorgio J/80 MALTESERS womens world team- sailing in DenmarkGuzzi who finished 37th.  There are few, if any, international one-design keelboat/ sportboat classes of any kind that can demonstrate that kind of fleet depth and ability to sail a boat fast enough, easily enough to fire one into the top three in any given race! That's cool.  Moreover, a "family boat", finished second overall- the father/son team aboard Jose Maria van deer Ploeg's GREAT SAILING-- that's even cooler.

The two women's teams faired well considering the depth of the competition, the best was TEAM MALTESERS ("The Sweeter Side of Sailing"), Gritt Bjornshave's five women team on DEN 1176 getting three finishes in the 20s and finishing 43rd overall.  Sailing Photo credits: Peter Sogaard Photos      For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

Thursday, July 14, 2011

CRAZY IVAN Wins J/80 Northwests

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Pacific Northwest(Anacortes, WA- June 11)-  This international contest was attended by four boats from the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, two boats from the Seattle Sailing Club, one boat from Idaho, and two more boats from the San Juan Islands.

Mike Brewis, fleet captain, enjoyed playing host on foreign shores at the Windermere Regatta hosted by the Anacortes Yacht Club.  The first day saw a 2 hour delay due to a lack of wind, but racing got underway with all nine J/80s on the line – a first in the Northwest!  The first day’s racing was won by Don Sargent on EXCITABLE taking two bullets in close competition.  The Canadians held all of the four top spots after the day’s racing!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Pacific Northwests off Anacortes, WASunday saw the return of the owner/skipper Chris White on CRAZY IVAN who had attended his son’s graduation the day before.  He stepped aboard and went 1-2-1 on Sunday to retain his trophy for the second year.  Dunnery Best on SHEVA and Don Sargent on EXCITABLE took second and thirds, respectively.

Mike Brewis on SWISH and the other Canadian boat, Tara Smith’s JOY RIDE, took the next two spots.  The rest of the fleet included William McKinnon on the oldest J/80, SKYE ROCKET, hull #1, Joe Cline on TAJ MAHAL and Michael Sawyer on FEARFUL SYMMETRY – both from the Seattle Sailing Club, and Jerry Judd on GO FISH from North Idaho.

Thanks go to Jerry Judd for hosting a great welcoming party, Mike Brewis for taking care of fleet captain duties, and Chris White for working with the Anacortes Yacht Club and their race committees. Contributed by William McKinnon on SKYE ROCKET.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

J/80 Swedish Championships/ Pre-Worlds

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing spinnakers past Oresund Bridge(Malmo, Sweden)-  Mikael Lindquist, sailing Team ROCAD Racing from KSSS (Royal Swedish YC), won the Swedish J/80 Championships in Malmo, a great "pre-Worlds" event for the J/80 sailors participating this week in the J/80 Worlds in Copenhagen, Denmark.  Lindquist's team sailed a very strong series, starting out slowly but closing with all top three finishes- getting a 6-2-2-1-3-2 for 10 pts (inc toss).

Sailing a very strong series as well as the American Glenn Darden from Fort Worth Boat Club in Texas sailing their well-traveled boat LE TIGRE.  Glenn's team are past J/80 World Champions themselves and showed some of that form during the regatta, being the only two race winner in the event.  Glenn's team sailed a 1-4-4-7-1-3 for 13 pts (inc toss) to secure second overall.  Finishing third was Jesper Feltd, who started out strongly but faded towards the end, sailing a 2-5-1-6-6-5 for 19 pts.  Fourth was Johnannes Bergh and fifth was the familiar team of Tom Klok sailing with husband/wife team of Will and Marie Crump  and Newport sailor Will Welles.

During the awards ceremony, the team that traveled the longest received 2 kg of Toblerone Chocolate!  So, the betting was starting as to when Glenn and team on LE  TIGRE would finish it before weighing in for the Worlds in Copenhagen!   Sailing photo credits- Magnus Grubb/ Picasa   For more J/80 Swedish Championship sailing results

Friday, July 8, 2011

Spanish Sailing Top of the J/80 Worlds- Day Three

(Copenhagen, Denmark- July 7th)- Once again the third day of sailing for the J/80 Worlds started off with a postponement.  The announcement this time was for races to start at 12:30 pm.  It was "moving day" as it is often in many major regattas, time to move up or down the leader-board or else forget winning. 

After seven races, the Spanish contingent (the three past J/80 World Champions and Olympic Champion) all made huge moves into the top spots, now occupying four of the top five positions!  Leading the charge is Ignacio Camino's NEXTEL ENGINEERING, scoring a 1-5 to take a 5 point lead after three days of sailing.  Fellow Spanish sailor Carlos Martinez's MAPFRE leapt into second overall after posting a 4-4 to for a total of 29 points.  Perhaps sailing the most consistent regatta of all teams is the Swedish sailing champion Ingemar Sundstedt, posting an 8-8 score to secure third overall with 37 points.  Within striking distance of the top three is Canary Islander Rayco Tabares sailing HOTEL GRAND CANARIAS, posting a 3-1 for the best record of the day and catapulting himself into 4th place, just two points back from Sundstedt and only 13 points from first place! 

Perhaps the story of the regatta so far has to be the ascent of Jose Maria van der Ploeg sailing GREAT SAILING.  Jose's team started out very, very slow in the first three races with a 27-17-11.  Nevertheless, Jose's team got their act together and figured out not only how to get off the starting line, but sail very solid races to post the best record of the fleet for the past four races, getting a 5-1-5-2 to place themselves in 5th place overall with only 41 pts, just two points back from Tabares and also having a shot at a podium finish.

Eric Brezellec's IC2 TEAM
Yesterday's leader, American Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE, simply had a classic "hard luck" day, managing to only get a 15-30 and has to count to finishes in the teens to drop from 1st place and, like the classic board game of "Chutes and Ladders", dropped down the chute so far that they now lie in 7th place.  Rounding out the top ten are Jean Charles Moriceau from France, posting a 2-9 score to move up into 6th overall with 49 points.  In 8th is the German team from Kieler Woche led by Martin Menzner with 60.5 points, 9th is Eric Brezellec's INTERFACE CONCEPT 2 team with 68 points and 10th is another German team, Bjorn Beilken with 71 points.

Of note, the top Danish team from the host country is Jesper Kragh Jespersen lying in 14th, the top Italian team is Aldo Samele on CANARINO FEROCE in 15th place, top Russian team is Vitaliy Tarakanov in 21st, top British team is Tom Phipps in 25th, top Polish team is Pawel Boksa in 36th, top Netherlands team is Laura Vroon in 43rd, top Estonian team is Peeter Meressaar in 59th and top Finnish team is Otto Reittila in 63rd.

The racing on the final day sounds very similar to the past four J/80 World Championships.  All very, very close racing with at least 6-7 boats having a mathematical chance to win the entire Worlds overall!  At this level of world-class sailing, you simply cannot have any closer racing than what these teams are experiencing.  Friday will surely dawn with a lot of anxious skippers and tacticians pondering the best strategies to go win the regatta while avoiding any kind of massive mistakes.  What's unusual is that the only boat in the top ten with a toss race under 15th place is the Swedish team of Ingemar Sundstedt, every other team has toss races in the 20s, 30s or higher!  Friday will be an interesting day and the champion that arises like a Phoenix from the smoke of battle will be a well-deserved J/80 World Champion.

Sailing Photo credits: Peter Sogaard Photos

For more J/80 Worlds sailing information


Thursday, July 7, 2011

LE TIGRE's American Team Winning J/80 Worlds- Day Two

Sailing in front of Oresund Bridge
(Copenhagen, Denmark- July 6th)- As the sailors wandered down to the waterfront this morning, the forecast was not promising.  Light airs and no promise of a developing sea-breeze.  Undaunted, the RDYC RC/ PRO postponed onshore and simply waited, hoping for the possibility of a developing sea-breeze in order to keep the sailors moving forward, there's lots of nervous energy to expend!

By 1430 hours, there was a sufficient breeze that the PRO sent out the teams to race their second day in a 6-10 knots onshore wind, with the fleet framed in the background by the famous Oresund Bridge connecting Denmark with Sweden- the longest road and rail bridge in Europe at 5 miles end-to-end ( 

Glenn Darden's American team on LE TIGRE continued to hang on to their lead but now only by one point.  Glenn's first race of the day, an 18th, didn't help to stave off the expected onslaught from the top European teams.  And sure enough, they came at him hard and fast.  Only a 4th place in the second race saved the day for Team LE TIGRE, now counting a 2-5-5-18-4 for 34 pts.

As was anticipated, the Spanish contingent were not content to be flailing around in the top ten nor even in the middle of the fleet.  Nor was Swedish Champion Ingemar Sundstedt.  It's scary how fast these guys are racing up the ladder.  The standings now have Ingemar's team with a 5-7-14-2-7-for 35 pts, one point back from Darden.  J/80 World Champion Ignacio Camino from Spain leapt up to third overall adding an 8-5 to his scores of 1-4-21  for 39 points.  Another World Champion, Spaniard Carlos Martinez, also jumped up the leader-board and lies fourth with a 3-26-4-6-8 score for 47 pts.  Fifth is yet another Spaniard, Olympic Champion Jose Maria van deer Ploeg, overcoming a slow start the first day to post the best scores for the entire fleet on the second day.  Jose Maria now has a scoreline of 27-17-11-5-1 for 61 pts. 

Past J/80 World Champion Rayco Tabares from the Canary Islands sailing HOTEL GRAND CANARIAS added a 9-13 to his 4-9-51 day one scores for a total of 88 pts, so he's looking good after a throw-out after six races.  Also of note was the sparkling performance in the first race of the day by French champion Luc Nadal, winning race 4, as well as Massimo Rama's J/80 Italian Championship team getting a third in the same race.  Fellow Frenchman Eric Brezellec is sailing a very strong series, getting a 3rd in Race 5 and the Danish/American team on GULDFAXE sailed by Tom Klok and Will and Marie Crump got a strong 2nd for their best race to date. 

The standings are looking very intriguing.  Hidden in several score-lines are some big, big drop races for the leading contenders.  By Thursday afternoon the standings could look radically different as many teams will have total scores in the low 20s to high 30s after sailing tomorrow and earning a "toss race".  Right now, there are seven countries represented in the top 10, a mark of how strong J/80 fleets are around the world- 1 American, 1 Swede, 3 Spaniards, 1 German, 2 French, 1 Italian and 1 Danish crews.  Look for some more roller-coaster rides around the Oresund Bridge!

Sailing Photo credits: Peter Sogaard Photos

For more J/80 Worlds sailing information


Monday, July 4, 2011

Fun Bacardi Week For J/80s

J/80 one-design sailboat- winning team on GROMIT (Newport, RI) - An iconic brand has taken its decades-long affiliation with the sport of sailing to a new level with the start of a new tradition: BACARDI Newport Sailing Week presented by EFG Bank. For this inaugural event staged from Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s public sailing center, four one-design fleets, including the J/80s – they got in three great days of racing (June 24-26) under PRO Anderson Reggio who received resounding applause at the awards presentation.

'It was fantastic. It exceeded what we expected,' said Eddie Cutillas of BACARDI U.S.A. 'I think it’s a great first step and I look forward to a long future here.' Cutillas explained that the shore side activities – which included an exhibit of nautical photographer Cory Silken’s work along with nightly social events – are just as important as what happens on the race course: 'They [the sailors] work hard and it’s a long day on the water. I love to have something fun for them to come back to and enjoy after having been on the water all day.'

J/80 one-design sailboat- GOOSE sailing downwindThe only detail the event organizers could not dictate was the weather, which was chilly and grey for the first day of racing before settling into a partly sunny pattern that brought typical Newport sailing conditions of light, shifty breeze. Racing north of the Newport Pell Bridge on one shared course meant the sailors also had to contend with current which one described as 'tough because there was more pressure where there was adverse current.'

In the J/80 class, Newport sailor Andy Burton closed the series with a 2-2 after winning the first five races, for a net score of seven points to take the regatta title. Chris Bulger (Brookline, Mass.) was second with 11 points followed by Tim Pitts (Plymouth, Mass.) with 19.  By all accounts, the inaugural Bacardi Newport Sailing Week event Presented by EFG Bank, with Verizon Wireless as a preferred sponsor, hit it out of the ballpark with their first effort.  For more Newport Sailing Week sailing information.