Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Spain Sweeps J/80 Worlds

J/80 World Champions- Van Der Ploeg family(Dartmouth, England)- At a constant wind speed of 33 knots coupled with swells in excess of 4 metres (12 feet plus) across the race area had necessitated the decision to abandon racing for the day and for the regata. An excited round of applause rang around the Race HQ as the assembled fleet congratulated the new J/80 World Champions: Jose Maria van der Ploeg and his crew on board NILFISK: Luis Mas, Juan Merayo, Hugo Ramon and twelve year old Jose ‘Junior’ van der Ploeg.  A sweet and well-deserving victory for this family crew!

The nine races sailed at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM each delivered a different winner: a fact that is testament to the level of competition on the race-track within the International J/80 Class. Van der Ploeg’s team on NILFISK never conceded a single result outside of the top 14 boats during the course of the regatta but nor did he finish a race within the top two. Skilled consistency in crew work, boat handling, tactics and intelligent regatta strategy delivered a World Championship win for NILFISK with a four point lead over the second placed boat, Rayco Tabares’ Hotel Princesa Yaiza and six points over third place Carlos Martinez’ Mapfre.

All 76 J/80s were de-rigged and lifted back on to their road trailers on Friday afternoon along Dartmouth ’s North Embankment so that 350 competitors could rush home to spruce themselves up in advance of the Closing Ceremony and Prize-giving Dinner scheduled for Friday evening. The venue for the closing ceremony (by virtue of the fact that the Britannia Yacht Club shared the hosting of the World Championship with the Royal Dart Yacht Club) was Britannia Royal Naval College .

J/80 sailboats at windward markCompetitors enjoyed dinner, wine and a fair few tots of SLAM-buca on Friday night in the stunning surroundings of The Senior Gun Room and The Ward Room at the college before moving on to the official Prize-giving Ceremony which was held on The Quarterdeck. Prizes were presented to the top ten boats at the MIQ Logistics 2012 World Championship Powered by SLAM. Several British J/80 teams featured in the role-call: Kevin Sproul’s J.A.T finished in fourth, Robert Larke’s J2X took sixth place, Simon Ling’s RAF benevolent Fund Team Spitfire finished ninth overall and Simon Johnson and Ruairidh Scott’s Joyeuse finished tenth overall. The largest piece of silverware presented on the night war Rennie and Ruth Miller’s J/80 One-Design Cup which went to Sproul and his team from J.A.T who were the best performing British team at the Worlds. Special prizes from Allspars of Plymouth were awarded the best performing furthest travelled boat, which went to Andrew Moore’s Tigrina from Hong Kong and to stalwart supporter of the J/80 UK Class, Scott Cole and his team on Purple Haze.

At the Prizegiving Commodore Simon Williams of Britannia Royal Naval College explained how much the college had enjoyed being involved with the World Championship and without need to recourse to spoken word his presence at the Ceremony meant that all competitors were duly reminded what an honour and privilege it was to take part in such an auspicious event in such dramatic and historic surroundings.

Paul Heys of Key Yachting thanked Britannia Royal Naval College , Mike Moody and his team at the Royal Dart Yacht Club, the PRO Mike Pearson, the massive team of volunteer helpers and all of the sponsors of the event: Principal Sponsors MIQ Logistics and SLAM. Supporting Sponsors Baltic Wharf, Brittany Ferries, Coast Graphics and Dart Harbour and Prize Sponsors Allspars, Café Alf Resco, Chandlery.co.uk, Lifedge by Scanstrut, Paul Barclay, Rowbury Gallery and the Royal Castle Hotel.  Dancing and celebrations continued in to the small hours of Saturday morning.    Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright- http://www.photoaction.com  For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

Saturday, June 16, 2012

J/80 Worlds Update

J/80 one-design sailboatSpanish Teams Leading, English & French Fill Top Ten
(Dartmouth, England)- It was a tough first day of racing for the 76 boats sailing the J/80 Worlds in Dartmouth, England.  The day started ashore with a postponement.  Then breeze built in from the south light air and rainy.  Just one race for the fleet doing a double windward-leeward.  As a result, many of the top contenders were all over the map, some finishing mid-fleet.  The podium was Frenchman Patrick Bot 1st, Englishman Robert Larke 2nd and Spaniard Javier Aguado 3rd.  French were 5 of top 15, showing their hard-work this spring has been paying off.  English were 8 of top 15 and Spanish were 2 of top 15, the latter was a surprise to many sailing.

J/80 sailing crew at markRacing commenced in Dartmouth on Tuesday. The World Championship is being co-hosted by the Britannia Yacht Club and the Royal Dart Yacht Club. Principal Race Officer Mike Pearson held the crews of the seventy six competing teams ashore for a postponement of just over two hours in order to wait for the breeze to fill in and settle. Light airs meant that only one race of the three scheduled for today was raced but the fleet returned to the Regatta Centre happy to have completed the first race of the eleven scheduled for the World Championship series.

Out in the race area in Start Bay the breeze eventually filled in to a very tricky four to six knots from 180 to 190 degrees and a windward-leeward course was set. Keen to get going, competitors pushed the line on the first start resulting in a general recall and the PRO immediately deployed the black flag and at the next start all boats got away cleanly. Crews from nine nations are racing in Dartmouth and today it was Frenchman Patrick Bot sailing Ecole Navale CG29 who took the win in Race 1.

J/80 SLAM sailing J/80 Worlds EnglandPatrick explained ‘I had a good start, not perfect, but I arrived at the first windward mark in eighth place having sailed the left hand side of the beat. We then just worked our way through the fleet. The gate at the bottom on the leeward leg was important: I took the left hand mark and it paid. The boats around us on the race course are all evenly matched in terms of boat-speed.’

Rob Larke of Great Britain took second place in Race 1. He said ‘We also chose the left hand side of the beat but it was hard to call. Our boat speed and we’re happy with our second place today.’

All in all it was a good day on the water for British teams with five GBR sail numbers in the top ten at the end of day one. Four races are scheduled for Wednesday 13th June and all the competitors are hoping for a little more breeze to add to the excitement.

On the second day of sailing, clearly the sun was shining brightly on the Spanish Teams. Dartmouth was blessed with blue skies, sunshine and just a little more breeze on Wednesday for the second day of racing. Four races were sailed in 6 to 9 knots of breeze oscillating through the day between 095 and 135 degrees. As the crews came ashore after racing it was clear that the fleet were delighted to have enjoyed really tight racing and top flight competition albeit the day’s sport had been both physically and mentally challenging. The overnight leader of the regatta is Jose Maria Van der Ploeg from Spain and his crew on board NILFISK, a result of this crew’s consistency across the regatta series so far, never scoring a result outside of the top 10 boats in the fleet of 76.

The first race of the day (Race Two of the series) was won by Laurent Sambron of France racing EJP 10 with the young crew of Henry Bomby on Team Baltic who are all from Dartmouth in second place. Simon Ling and Ian Southworth took third in RAF Benevolent Fund Team Spitfire. Eric Brezellec from France won Race Three in Interface Concept 1 and his friend Maxime Rousseaux won Race Four in his J/80 called CN St Cast Grand-Ouest Etiquette. The final race of the day (Race Five) belonged to Javier Aguado’s team on board CROCS, a win that puts him second in the overnight rankings.

J/80s starting J/80 Worlds off Dartmouth, EnglandThe two top boats in the fleet going into Day Three on Thursday are both Spanish teams. Speaking to Jose Maria Van der Ploeg, skipper of NILFISK after racing he said ‘We are very satisfied to be leading but it was hard on the water today. We are not used to sailing with this much current and we found it very difficult. We have tried not to take too many risks but we were very close to being over the start-line in Race Four and that would have meant a Black Flag disqualification for us’. Van der Ploeg’s son Junior is just twelve years old and is a crucial part of this talented race-crew. He explained that today the crew work and boat handling was good on board NILFISK but that the J/80s racing in Dartmouth are all very evenly matched in terms of speed across the water.

Javier Aguado helmsman and skipper of CROCS are in second place overall and he said ‘The racing was close and exciting although the light airs and strong current are not what we are used to and it has made judging the start-line very difficult. We were over cautious in Race Two and found ourselves late when the start signal sounded but we were tactically strong for the next three races and I am pleased to be in second place overall.’

The top placed British boat is Kevin Sproul’s J.A.T. and this crew currently sits in third place on the leader-board. Sproul is a formidable sailor and is well known in racing circles for his dry humor. ‘I was feeling close to suicidal when I came ashore’ he joked. ‘It was so hard out there with 76 boats on the race-track and I really felt that I could have sailed better. I suspect that I may have been just a little hard on my crew today but when we came off the water and I saw our points score and our position in the rankings I have to say I felt a lot better.  My crew definitely deserve a beer or two on me tonight.’

The next two days of racing promise more wind, more weather and, most certainly, much tougher racing as the top teams from Spain, UK, France and Germany fight it out for the podium and top ten.  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright- http://www.photoaction.com  For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

Friday, June 15, 2012

J/80 in Barcelona Sailing School

(Barcelona, Spain)- Sailing director, Eva Piulats, says "We're opening a new sailing school in Barcelona...the novelty is that we have a beautiful J-35 in our fleet along with J/80 sailboats! We are proud to have such a performance boat for sail-training."

Furthermore, Eva says, "As founder of the brand new company "Barcelona Sailing School", I have a background in sciences in my early ages and then more than a decade of sailing experience in several seas and countries. And from the beginning, I had the chance to work with the dealer of J-Boats in Spain, Mr. Pedro Egea, manager of the company Catamaran Center SL & Yate Center. He made me love J-Boats by sailing them and I was clearly set up for the decision.

So, when I wanted to turn my career into another field and be devoted to training, I decided to focus on J-Boats. We planned to use J-35 for offshore regattas and preparing skippers to cruise on their own. We also offer other activities in J-80 for day-sailing!"  For more Barcelona Sailing School information- L'Equip de Xaloc

Is J/80 Sailing Growing In Canada?

J/80 sailing in CanadaYes! According to Larry Alexander.  "We’re building slowly but surely on the north shore of Lake Ontario have formed a small group that are diligently putting together a fleet of J/80s adding two more boats over the winter out of the Ottawa region and very excited about the 2012 One Design season with up to three separate J/80 events planned. The theme for the first event this season was to give back. As we see more success building locally, we wanted to align to a charitable cause and one that is know across the local sailing community. We’ve negotiated with the TAHR organization to have the first north shore Lake Ontario J/80 start. We need to get as many of you out as possible for this inaugural local Lake Ontario J/80 fleet, support our fledging local J 80 One Design fleet and a great charitable cause.

The 2012 Toronto Area Hospice Regatta (“TAHR”) is celebrating its 5th Year the weekend of June 16-17, 2012 hosted by the National Yacht Club in Toronto.  Thanks to the participation and generosity of Lake Ontario sailors, we have raised over $100,000 over four years to benefit Perram House – a palliative-care residence in Toronto’s inner city.  For more Canadian J/80 sailing information.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Calling all J/80 Sailors!

J/80s sailing past mark(Fort Worth, Texas)-  Get your game on in Texas for the 2012 North Americans to be held at Fort Worth Boat Club on October 31-November 1st!  There are a great slate of feeder events starting with the HOOD regatta at Houston YC, followed by J/Fest at Houston YC.  J/Fest Southwest has become a "can't miss" event for the local J Sailors, and the Texas J/80 sailors would like to see all their J/80 counterparts to go down and experience the fun times at this great event!

The very next weekend is the last Southern circuit stop two weeks before the North Americans!  So, get your J/80 on down there and dial up your favorite airline (Southwest, maybe?) and get some cheap tickets to fly back and forth.  Local J/80 owners will try to pitch in and help trailer boats to Ft. Worth from Houston!  In the true vernacular of Southern hospitality, "you'll come on down, ya here!"  They mean it.  When the Texan contingent decide to throw a "hoe-down" and have some fun, you really don't want to miss it.  Fun sailing and entertainment for all!  Here's how the schedule lays out for those who wish to extend their sailing seasons into the fall (especially for our J/80 European friends):
     Sep 22-23rd- The HOOD Regatta- Houston YC
     Oct 13-14th- J/Fest Southwest Regatta-  http://www.jfestsouthwest.com/
     Oct 20-21- Old Man of the Sea Regatta- http://fortworthboatclub.com/
     Oct 31-Nov 1- J/80 North Americans- http://j80northamericans.com/

Great Sailing For Grand Prix Crouesty

J/80s sailing upwind off startJ/80 INTERFACE CONCEPT II & J/22 EUROPEAN HOMES Winners
(Crouesty, France)- Forty teams participated in the fourth leg of the Coupe de France J/80 over the weekend.  If the wind gave the competitors a wonderful first day with three beautiful races contested in gorgeous medium wind conditions, it proved far more elusive the next two days-- with only one race sailed between Sunday and Monday.  The crews, however, could console themselves somewhat on Sunday evening with the traditional "feast of oysters" offered by the Crouesty Yacht Club Carnac, host of the event.

The Grand Prix du Crouesty, sponsored by the Yacht Club de France, has been held since its inception in 1990 during the weekend of Pentecost on the magnificent body of water bounded by the Presque Ile Rhuys, and the islands of Houat Hoedic, called "Mor Braz".  Beyond the festival at sea with over 600 sailors engaged in tight battles in over 200+ boats, the Grand Prix of Crouesty is also great entertainment with a tremendous festival and "carnival spirit" associated with having fun both on and off the water.

In general, the sailing was very tight for the top three boats, only two points separating them in the end. But, ultimately it was the crew of Simon Moriceau on INTERFACE CONCEPT II that won the battle, beating Nicolas Lunven sailing GENERALI in second and Philip Guigné on MARINE LORIENT in third, losing the tie-breaker to Lunven.  Fourth was Luc Nadal sailing GANJA and fifth was Eric Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT I.

For the J/22s, a half-dozen boats participated with Patrick Huet on EUROPEAN HOMES winning with straight firsts.  Second was Claire Pouteau on SOFFE and third was Fabrice Cahierc on J'M.  The event was good practice for these teams that will be hosting the upcoming J/22 World Championships in Crouesty at the end of June.   For more J/80 & J/22 Grand Prix Crouesty sailing information

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Awesome Sailing J/80 Copa de Espana

J/80 sailing in SpainEl Conquistador Pichu Torcida/ ECC VIVIENDAS Wins
(Bilbao, Spain)- Past J/80 World Champion, Pichu Torcida, can seem somewhat invincible sometimes; sailing his trusted ECC VIVIENDAS J/80 to yet another regatta win against another field of strong Spanish J/80 teams.  Pichu managed to overcome late challenges from NILFISK, sailed by Catalonian Olympic Medalist Jose Maria van der Ploeg.  During the three days of the regatta, Torcida never dropped below fifth place and finished with 15 points.  Meanwhile, Van der Ploeg sailing for the Club Nautico El Balis of Barcelona, ​​finished with just 16 points after an intense struggle on the water with Torcida.  Completing the podium was RAITAN sailed by Amaliach Gonzalez with 20 points.  The first three teams had a thrilling final day to determine the champion and the podium outcome.

This year's Copa de Espana had 32 teams participating.  After the top three, fourth was Paul Santurde's GO FIT, fifth was yet another J/80 World Champion, Ignacio Camino's familiar NEXTEL ENGINEERING. Remarkably, even past champions like Jaime Piris on FONESTAR could only manage an eighth.  With this practice behind them, the J/80 sailors during the Worlds in Dartmouth will have to again face a well-honed group of sailors from Spain.   For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Saturday, June 9, 2012

J/80 Worlds Sailing Preview

J/80 worlds sailingA Fraternity of Champions Re-Unite
(Dartmouth, England)- Seventy five boats and 350 racing sailors from nine nations will begin to arrive in Dartmouth next week to compete at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM. The World Championship opens on Friday 8th of June and the practice race takes place on Monday 11th in Start Bay, just outside Dartmouth Harbour. The regatta is being organised by the Royal Dart Yacht Club and the senior hosting club is the Britannia Yacht Club. Racing for the World Championship title starts on Tuesday and three races are scheduled each day until Friday 15th June when the final two races of the series will be sailed. The new MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Champion will be crowned at the Closing Ceremony and Prize-giving at Britannia Royal Naval College on Friday evening.

To have so many International teams traveling to this island nation to take part in the championship is an amazing feat in itself and it is a credit to MIQ Logistics, to SLAM and to all of the others supporting this year's J/80 Worlds. The fleet will be 40% bigger in Dartmouth than when the World Championship last came to the UK back in 2005.

Dartmouth offers the potential to deliver extremely challenging and exciting conditions for those racing at the event. Couple this with the splendor of the coastline and the warmth and support of Dartmouth residents and it is clear to see why the entry number is so high. The result is that some of the best sailors on the International racing circuit along with World Champions both past and present are coming to Dartmouth to compete. Jay Lutz of the USA and Ignacio Camino Rodrigues of Spain, the current J/80 World Champion will both be hoping that Dartmouth affords them a second opportunity to take the top spot on the podium this year.

Ruairidh Scott of North Sails won the World Championship for the UK when the event was last here in 2005. Scott returns to the J/80 fleet for the 2012 World Championship and will be racing with Simon Johnson in their boat Joyeuse.  Ruairidh said ‘It’s good to be back in the J/80 fleet. Over the last few years I’ve been closely involved with the development of the class through work but I have not actually managed to fit in much J/80 racing myself. Simon and I have my Spanish colleague Gustavo Martinez as our tactician and he was second at the J/80 Worlds a few years ago so we are hoping to put together a strong campaign in Dartmouth’.

J/80 worlds sailing in EnglandKevin Sproul of Ultimate Sails helmed the top British J/80 at Spi Ouest Regatta in France earlier this year. Canny Scotsman Sproul sounded confident but cautious about his prospects for 2012. ‘The French and Spanish are very strong at the moment’ said Sproul. ‘They’re spending a lot of time on the water and they will not be easy to beat but my crew are absolutely ready.’ Sproul and his team won the UK National Championship which was raced in Dartmouth in 2011 and so he knows the waters well. Having just come back from winning a major International regatta in a forty foot race-boat in Barcelona last week it is clear that Sproul is at the top of his game just now.

Nick Haigh (a familiar name in UK sailing circles with vast experience ranging from Lark dinghies to his most recent DK46 yacht) will be sailing his new J/80 with his wife Annie and the current SB3 World Champion Geoff Carveth. Nick explained ‘Geoff has campaigned J/80s before and when he called me to suggest putting a team together, I could not resist. Annie and I live in South Devon and with the J/80 Worlds sailing in our home waters we had to do it. We are fully revved up and ready to go with our new boat, Slightly Steamy.’ For Carveth, of course, the J/80 Worlds represent unfinished business.

Rayco Tabares (Spain) who won the J/80 Worlds in 2009 explained, ‘I started to sail J/80s in 2006 and in 2009 we won the World Championship in our country, at Santander. We thought then that it was a difficult year because there were so many boats with such good sailors, but the crews competing this year are even stronger! I love the J/80 class: it’s amazing for us to be competing against so many other teams, at regattas all over the world.  I’m so happy to get the chance to race in Dartmouth this year and we hope to have great racing with good winds’.

It promises to be an extraordinary regatta.  French Teams like Eric Brezellec and Jean Charles Moriceau on INTERFACE CONCEPT I & II, respectively have been at the top of their game in both French regattas and J/80 Worlds.  Fellow Frenchmen Luc Nadal and Pierre Follenfant will also be in the hunt.  On the English side, Ian Atkins on boats.com, Stew Hawthorn and Patrick Liardet will all be forces to contend with and are all capable of top three performances. From Denmark are top contenders Tom Klok and Will & Marie Crump.  Hong Kong are fielding two teams for the first time, Bruce Perkins and Andrew Moore.  From Sweden is their national champion, Ingemar Sundstedt.  And, from Netherlands is one of their top teams with Laura Vroon skippering.    For more J/80 World Championship sailing information