Spanish Teams Lead J/80 Worlds; Ferocious Northeaster Blitzes Fleet
(Newport, RI- Tuesday, Oct. 5th)- The start of the 2010 J/80 Worlds promised to be an epic day.**** The morning broke cool and windy from the northeast, exactly as forecasted.**** Not that anyone was expecting anything much different after sailing in northeasters practicing on Sunday and Monday in 15-30 knots and huge breaking seas from the east.**** The PRO Tom Duggan warned the fleet at the opening ceremonies on Monday evening that if conditions looked good, the fleet would go offshore off the fabled "R2" buoy off Brenton Reef.**** Sure enough, at 0830 course signals went up on the signal halyard and the fleet proceeded to plane en'masse offshore to the starting area under spinnakers and white sails.
With breezes on the course area in the 60-75 degree direction blowing 15-25 knots and ginormous waves with cross-chop from the east, everyone knew they were going to be in for a serious, physically demanding day.**** As they have in the previous three J/80 Worlds, the Spanish teams put on a text-book show of how to sail at least as fast as everyone else upwind, but simply "blow doors" off everyone else downwind.**** Often sailing upwards of 2-3 knots faster at times than their rivals flying downwind over and under other boats in front of them as if they were pylons in an obstacle course.**** It was a "schooling" like no one can imagine.**** Even Chuck Allen on Jeff Johnstone's boat LITTLE FEAT admitted, "we got to the weather mark in the top five in all three races today, but before we knew it, Spanish boats were flying by us like we were parked!**** It was like we were body-surfing and they were on surfboards!"****
Leading the standings are top two Spanish teams, former J/80 World Champion, Jose Maria Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS, leading with a 5-3-2 score for ten points and Carlos Martinez (current J/80 European Champion) skippering PERALEJA GOLF in second with a 2-2-9 for thirteen points.**** While they may not have had strong first beats, their two downwind legs and second beats enabled them to grind down the competition in front of them to post very consistent scores.
The top five are all within nine points of each other.**** Filling out the top five are the top Americans with QUANTUM RACING team comprised of Scott Young and Terry Flynn in third with an 8-5-1 tally for fourteen points, just four points off the leader.**** Fourth is Jay Lutz and Gary Kamins racing FIRED UP with the "devils numbers" as their score- 6-6-6 for eighteen points!************Lying fifth is current J/80 North American Champion John Storck Jr with an 11-4-4 for nineteen points.****
Just off the pace are the other three J/80 World Champions.**** Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE (current runner-up at the recent J/80 North Americans) is lying sixth with a 3-8-10 score for 21 points.**** Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA started off slowly with a 17th in race 1, then finished the day strongly with a 1-5 to stay in contention in 8th place.**** Just behind him is Ignacio Camino Rodriguez on NEXTEL ENGINEERING**** that also started off slowly with a 13th in race one, but closed with a 7-3 score.**** Watch out for these guys as the continue to ascend the ladder in the next few days!
Kudos to PRO Tom Duggan coordinating the Ida Lewis Yacht Club and SailNewport race management teams for starting on time and running three great races, all 1.7 nm windward-leewards, four times around the track.**** No one could've asked for a more incredible first day to start off a J/80 World Championship.**** Let's hope the weather Gods cooperate and provide all the sailors with a few more days of challenging conditions.
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The Spanish Armada Dominates Day 2 of J/80 Worlds
The Tres Amigos Lead- Carlos, Jose and Rayco
(Newport, RI)- While many expected the Spanish teams to sail well and put on a good show at the Newport J/80 Worlds, it's doubtful many expected them to be dominating in their second day of sailing in the strong, shifty northwesterly winds off Newport. After five races, the top three teams are all Spanish J/80 Champions of one form or another, with Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF winning, putting his mark on the fleet with a 1-2 today for a total of 16 points. Jose Maria "Pichu" Torcida lies second six points back after a 5-7. And, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Rayco Tabares Alvarez on HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS sailed to the second best record with a 2-3 for a total of 28 points. To illustrate how tight the competition is so far, four different boats in five races have won a race, the only double-winner being the American team of QUANTUM RACING sailed by Scott Young and Terry Flynn from Austin, TX.
The day started out slowly. At 0830 hours, in the middle of a torrential downpour, the prospects were dim for any kind of reasonable racing. Consulting with his brain trust of Brad Read of SailNewport and others, Tom Duggan elected to postpone until 1000 hours. After two more on-shore postponements, the Low that was developing SE off Cape Cod started to move, enabling the PRO and the RC team to mobilize the troops and issue a "race on" at the 1200 hours announcement. Sure enough, the predicted WNW breeze behind the front started to pipe-in at 7-12 knots. By the time the fleet got to the race course, a combination of down pours, squalls, fog, mist, and locusts (just kidding) seemed to bedevil both the fleet and the PRO/ RC. After several tries, the fourth race started around 2 pm with some degree of clearing. It was a great race. In fact, with the wind settling in around 275 to 280 the fleet was treated to a classic WNW wind with large shifts and large channels of breeze in the 10-20 knots range. Carlos Martinez's team on PERALEJA GOLF sailed a strong race, coming back from a rounding of around 10th at the first windward mark to win the race. Sailing equally as well was Rayco on HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS, rounding in about the same position at the first weather mark, but battled back to get a second. John Storck on RUMOR got third. Fourth was Henry Brauer and Will Welles on RASCAL, just clipping Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS in fifth in an all-out planing finish!
The fifth race was an abject lesson in trying to do the right thing for the fleet at the right time. PRO Tom Duggan hung in there despite all kinds of protestations from the sailors. The wind was shifting dramatically at the starts, first favoring the port end, then starboard end, then port end, forcing general recalls and an eventual postponement to reset. Undaunted, Tom got the last race off late in the day, we believe around 4pm or so. It was a gorgeous race, held in the twilight of a front passing by with a shelf of clouds forming a clear edge to blue skies in the distant west, all lit by impending sunset at 6:15 pm. No one was disappointed. It was a fun fast race, cut short to three legs so everyone could get home by nightfall. Taking the gun was QUANTUM RACING, Scott Young and Terry Flynn simply sailing a very strong race against perhaps the tightest fleet yet in the top ten. Second was Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF sailing up QUANTUM's exhaust-pipe very, very fast. Third was Rayco on HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS. Rounding out the top five were Jay Lutz/ Gary Kamins on FIRED UP finishing 4th and Christer Faith-Ell on HASSE from Sweden. The finish for the top ten at sunset was quite spectacular, with the carbon and kevlar sails blazing in a reddish-orange glow and seemingly a dozen boats all finishing about the same time behind the top three!
The stage is now set for the three Spanish teams to duel it out for world supremacy in the J/80 class. They've all been there before, it's only a question now of who's going to be the spoiler between Scott Young/ Terry Flynn's QUANTUM RACING, Jay Lutz/ Gary Kamin's FIRED UP, John Storck's RUMOR, or Glenn Darden's LE TIGRE.
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J/80 Worlds- Day 3- Wild, Spectacular Sailing Up The Bay
PERALEJA GOLF Hanging to Lead By A Thread
(Newport, RI)- The J/80 Worlds fleet was in for something special on their third day of sailing when PRO Tom Duggan hoisted "B" course area flag and sent the fleet up Narragansett Bay north of Gould Island. And, a special day it was, nearly post-card perfect winds and weather. The day dawned partly cloudy and cool blowing from the West, very shifty and extremely gusty. By the end, it was crystal clear skies with torn-cotton clouds blowing across the sky with winds fluctuating from 10 knots to upwards of 30 knots at times and shifting over 30 degrees from the WNW.
The course area presented a challenge regards how to stretch the course to the maximum possible length of 1.5nm. This meant the starting line had to be east of Halfway Rock in the shipping channel with the windward mark buried up under the Jamestown Island shore. It was a day that perhaps some of the "locals" might appreciate and have some fun with. That's exactly what happened.
The first race winners were the RASCAL team of Henry Brauer and Will Welles, neither are strangers to "up the Bay" sailing, nor is their tactician Stuart Johnstone. Right from the start, it was clear the left was paying with huge left-handers in the top left of the course. After a closely fought race, the RASCAL team held off a late charge from the very well sailed QUANTUM RACING team skippered by Scott Young and Terry Flynn from Austin, TX, the two bright red spinnakers pulling hard as the two boats flew across the line together on a full-on screaming plane and spray flying everywhere in a 25 kt gust. Third in the race was Jose Maria Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS. Rounding out the top five were Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF in 4th and Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT in 5th.
Between the first and second race the wind kept clocking a bit further right, going from 255-265 to 260-275 and with enormous differences in pressure across the race track. It took a while for the committee to reset and after a general recall, Z-flag recall, a black flag start/postponement, the fleet finally took off on one of the crazier races of the day. The second race saw a tough battle ensue for domination of the left side of the course. In the end, Al "Albie" Terhune with Moose McClintock as his tactician were not going to let anyone get left of them after giving it up to RASCAL in the previous race! Lesson learned, they took the gun. Not far behind them was Jeff Johnstone sailing LITTLE FEAT to an excellent race for second. Nipping at their heels were the hard-charging team on-board HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS sailed by Rayco Tabares in third. Making a nice comeback in this race was Glenn Darden's team on LE TIGRE managing to salvage a 4th and
fifth was Javier Aguado Blanco on CROCS.
The third race of the day was simply a stunner. Race two was spectacular enough with 15-25 kt breezes from the West. But, the last race could not have been a more beautiful one to sail. With the race track moved around yet again to compensate for a 290-305 direction, it was going to be interesting to see if the "lefties" in races 1 and 2 for the day would still pay. Not. It was pretty clear that middle-right was going to pay big. Sailing a very strong race was Glenn Darden on LE TIGRE, earning a well-deserved first (the actual race winner HOTEL PRINCESA CANARIAS was DSQ'd). Second was Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS. Sailing a very consistent day was QUANTUM RACING skippered by Scott Young/ Terry Flynn in 3rd. Fourth was Ben Schwartz skippering LUCKY FROG and fifth was Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT.
After the dust cleared, it was clear the shifty, gusty conditions would jumble the standings significantly. Sure enough, Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF (who got black-flagged in race 8) managed to avoid big mistakes and leads by one point. Lying second just one point back is the QUANTUM RACING team skippered by Scott and Terry. On the second place tie-breaker is Jose's ECC VIVIENDAS team. With throw-outs, the top three boats are only separated by one point. The last day promises to be a mind-bender for these top three teams. And, if they really slip-up, it's possible that Glenn's LE TIGRE and Jeff's LITTLE FEAT could be contenders for the top three-- with a roll of the dice, anything is possible!
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Pichu Torcida Wins 2nd J/80 Worlds
Epic, Wild, Wet, Sunny Finale
(Newport, RI)- The final races for the J/80 Worlds in Newport were truly epic. No one could've predicted what was in store for the fleet and the top five leaders. The NOAA weather forecasters got one thing right, it was going to be a sunny day. And, to emphasize the fact that we were all sailing a World Championship, the PRO Tom Duggan and his brain trust that included Brad Read from SailNewport, felt that it was going to be important to ensure that everyone had a fair and level playing field on which to determine a true World Champion. The decision was to go offshore on what seemed to be a gorgeous day, somewhat benign in its initial stages with a nice 10-15 knot wind blowing from the West. The course was set just 2 nm SE of Beavertail Point at the end of Jamestown and about 2.5 nm ESE of Whale Rock in Rhode Island Sound.
Going into to the first race of the day, it was truly anybody's guess as to who would end up crowned as the 2010 J/80 World Champion. The top three all had a strong chance of winning and, as you'll discover, all three in fact were winning at one point or another over the three races sailed on Friday. 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 had lost several boats in the process to get their worst race of the series- an 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.
The first race of the day started off in a beautiful 10-18 knots Westerly swinging 10-15 degrees in the 270-290 range. After the four-legged 1.7 nm per leg windward-leeward course, it was clear that playing left of middle in the first 2/3 of the windward leg upwind was fast and top right 1/3 was good for right-handers just off the shore. The winners were a pretty happy bunch. Imagine Tom Klok, Will and Marie Crump and the invincible Vince Brun onboard GULDFAXE all wearing huge, cheshire cat grins on their face and you can only begin to appreciate the joy it meant to win a race in a World Championship against some very tough hombres in super-evenly matched one-design J/80s. Second in the race was Jeff Johnstone on LITTLE FEAT who's tactician Chuckie Allen also had about as big (or bigger) grin on his face than Vinnie. Why? Because they'd beaten fair and square ECC VIVIENDAS' team sailed by Pichu Torcida who got a third in the race. Just behind them were Scott Young/ Terry Flynn's QUANTUM RACING in fourth and Albie Terhune with tactician Moose McClintock sailing US 221 in fifth. Carlos Martinez's PERALEJA GOLF, who was the regatta leader at the time, was now fighting for survival to stay in the top three after their worst race of the event, a 24th (note- he went right on the first leg early, not a good thing).
With the standings now jumbled a bit after the first race, it was still unclear if the PRO Tom Duggan and his SailNewport RI Team and the fleet themselves were capable of sailing just one more race or two more races. Nevertheless, the SailNewport RC team managed to reset the course for the wind that had started to shift further SW and increase dramatically in velocity-- pushing 25 knots by the time of the second start. At this point, no one knew how crazy the world was going to get in the next 20 minutes. The wind started to increase more during the starting sequence and go even further left. Incredibly, on a black flag start, the wind shifted enough where half the fleet near the port end couldn't make the line and had to tack (or gybe) onto port to simply get across in the last 20 seconds. In turned into one of the most incredible races for anyone racing a J/80 in recent memory. 20-30 knot winds from 250-260 degrees, spectacularly sunny day with not a cloud in the sky, huge 5-6 foot breaking waves. The top American teams had figured out how to get around the course in the challenging conditions to get three of the top five, with Glenn Darden's LE TIGRE team leading the charge to get first, followed by Kerry Klingler on LIFTED, fifth was the fast-recovering Bruno Pasquinelli steering TIAMO (Bruno suffered a few stitches on Day three after having an argument with his boom). Not surprisingly, the top Spanish teams Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESSA CANARIAS finished third and fourth was countryman Carlos Martinez on PERALEJA GOLF. Barring any scoring issues like DSQs, Black Flags, DNSs or Z flag penalties, the QUANTUM RACING team with Scott Young skippering were winning the Worlds simply because Pichu Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS had their worst race of the series, an 18th, due to a spectacular broach on the last downwind run!
Setting 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. Without hesitation at around 1:35 the signals were raised and the fleet sent off into the teeth of a "baby gale"- blowing a steady 20-30 knots, shifting 10-15 degrees, with large breaking waves. It was apparent Carlos Martinez had enough "practice" in the first two races to simply show the rest of the world his performances
were not a fluke winning the J/80 Europeans by winning 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.
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.
Congratulations to Jeff Johnstone, Kendra Muenter, Brad Read and Tom Duggan as the principal regatta/ race organizers for conducting what had to be one of the best regattas ever in most sailor's recent memories. How can anyone beat the fact that for at least five straight days (six including practices on Sunday) that J/80s sailed in 15-30 knot winds nearly every day and over the course of the regatta were presented with some of the most challenging conditions anyone could ever imagine? From giant tropical depression induced waves from the East in a strong 15-30 Northeaster on Tuesday; to a 15-25 knot WNW in big chop offshore on Wednesday; to 10-30 knots WNW inside the Bay with flat water on Thursday; to yet another epic day offshore in 15-30 knot WSW breezes offshore in 4-6 foot waves for the Friday finale. Awesome. Cool. Incredible. All adjectives heard from sailors on the docks and at the Awards Dinner Friday. Till next year! Hope it will be just as fun!