Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tabares Takes J/80 Copa Espana

J/80 sailing upwind in Spain(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- Only in Spain.  A nation that has produced some great sailors in the last decade or so.  J/80 sailors dominating the Volvo Ocean Race on Volvo 70s with the Martinez family having an impact on sailing TELEFONICA.  Olympic 49ers, Olympic 470s and other classes the Spaniards have sailed well.  And, sailing J/80s has proven to be their "national testing ground" for next-generation keelboat sailors.  It's clear Spanish sailing team efforts have seen their efforts come to fruition on a global scale in the J/80 class.  Nowhere is this more self-evident than sailing against some of the world's best sailors in the J/80 Worlds- Spanish teams have won the last SIX J/80 Worlds in a row (Dartmouth 2012 (UK), Copenhagen 2011 (Denmark), Newport 2010 (RI, USA), Santander 2009 (Spain), Kiel 2008 (Germany), La Trinite sur Mer 2007 (France))!

Therefore, when the top teams in Spain congregate for their Copa Espana from around the country at the High Performance Center in Los Alcazares Infanta Cristina de Murcia, it's going to be clear that year-end "bragging rights" for "top dog" in the Spanish sailing world will be the winner of the Copa Espana.  The world be damned, who wins in Spain is what counts.

J/80 World Champion Nilfisk sailing upwindThe first day of sailing was marked by a good breeze of 15 kts average, which made it easy to get in three races for the madding crowd of champions. From the start the fleet opted for the left side of the course, led by Rayco Tabares at the helm of the J/80 AUTRAN who would never relinquish his lead to win the first race.  The second race was for local and reigning Copa del Rey Mapfre J/80 Champion Carlos Martinez.  With a great start, he controlled the race despite repeated attacks by Rayco Tabares' AUTRAN, with whom he had a nice "match race" in the second beat.  In the third and final race of the day, the strategy again favored those who got left.  Again, Rayco's AUTRAN team started well and won the race followed by Carlos Martinez on MAPFRE.  The reigning world champion Jose Maria van der Ploeg and his crew of NILFISK after a slow start stood at 6th place overall after the first day.

J/80 sailboat with cartoonsThe second day was marked with hotly contested races amongst the top ten teams.  The Race Committee had a difficult job because the wind was unstable in strength and direction. It would not be possible to start the first race of the day until 2:30 p.m. with winds of 5 to 9 knots.  On the first beat the fleet divided between left and right with a clear advantage to HERBALIFE sailed by Leonardo Armas playing the middle of the course quite well, rounding the first weather mark first and never relinquishing his lead in difficult, shifty conditions.  The second race was clearly for NILFISK and MAPFRE on the left side of the course on the first beat, finishing 1-2 in that order.  For the third race, Jose Maria van der Ploeg after a great start took the lead from the start and with good speed controlled all his rivals to win the race.  Meanwhile, the battle for second place was between three boats, Rayco Tabares' AUTRAN, Carlos Martinez's MAPRE and Jose Ballester's Bureaufax-Eu; ultimately they finished in that order.

J/80 video from SpainAfter trying to get races going on the third and last day of the event, the RC had to cancel all racing after 1500 hours. As a result, Rayco Tabares on AUTRAN was proclaimed the 2012 Copa de Espana Champion with just 11 pts net with a well-sailed 1-2-1-3-6-2-2 record.  Second was Carlos Martinez on MAPFRE with a dsq-1-2-8-1-3-10 record for 25 pts net.  Third was current J/80 World Champion NILFISK with José María Van der Ploeg with a 7-7-13-4-2-1-1 for 26 pts net, narrowly missing out getting second for the regatta.  Fourth was Emilio Azofra on YACHT PORT CARTAGENA sailing a solid series with an 11-3-3-9-4-9-1 record for 20 pts net.  And, rounding out the top five was Pablo Benjumeda on PUERTO SHERRY I scoring a commendable 4-4-9-7-5-7-3 for 30 pts net.  Close racing, indeed, for the top five overall!

The awards ceremony was attended by the Director General of Sports of the Region of Murcia, Antonio Peñalver, accompanied by the mayor of Los Alcazares, Anastasio Bastida; RFEV president, Gerardo Pombo, president FVRM, Pedro Román, Spain J80 class president, Alejandro Diaz, with his secretary, and Pepe Gándara Cartagena Premium BMW manager, Miguel Angel Poor.   J/80 Copa Espana YouTube  For more J/80 Copa Espana sailing information