by Gemma Dunn
The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by Slam, held in Dartmouth, UK was co-hosted by the Britannia Yacht Club and Royal Dart Yacht Club from the 9th to 15th June. The fleet consisted of seventy-six boats from nine countries across Europe and the USA, and for the first time in the competition’s history included a team from Hong Kong.
It’s a crowded start line with 76 boats
With the Championship returning to British soil for the first time since 2005, the thirty-nine UK teams were determined to reclaim the title from 2011 victors, Spain. Following the warm hospitality felt in Dartmouth during last year’s J/80 Nationals, the teams descended upon the picturesque seaside town with fervour. A regatta village was established in Coronation Park in the heart of the town, generating much excitement from local residents and media.
Rob Larke on JX2 poised to win the start at the pin
The fleet revelled in a variety of conditions across the nine race championship series, from a very tricky four to six knots on the first day through to race abandonment due to treacherous wind conditions on day four. Frenchman Patrick Bot sailing Ecole Navale CG29 took the win on day one, but his reign was short-lived as after day two Spaniard Jose Maria van der Ploeg was beating off the competition onboard NILFISK. By day three Rayco Tabares of the Canary Islands who won the Championship in 2010 had pushed through to second place, with Eric Brezellec of France, who won Spi Ouest Regatta at Easter held third place. The next two boats at the end of day three were both Brits; Kevin Sproul in fourth in J.A.T and Rob Larke in fifth in J2X.
2012 World Chammpion Jose Maria van der Ploeg and his team show great concentration - J/80 World Championships 2012
The last two races of the series were scheduled on Friday morning, however at 09.30 Principal Race Officer Mike Pearson called back to the Race HQ with the news that a constant wind speed of thirty-three knots coupled with swells in excess of four metres across the race area had necessitated the decision to abandon racing for the day and for the overall Championship Series. 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: Lluis Mas, Juan Merayo, Hugo Ramon and twelve year old Jose ‘Junior’ van der Ploeg.
Pre-dinner drinks on the fabulous Quarterdeck at BRNC
The Closing Ceremony took place at the stunning Royal Britannia Naval College on Friday night, with the Prizegiving held in the magnificent Quarterdeck. Several British J/80 teams featured in the roll-call: Kevin Sproul and Phil Taylor’s J.A.T finished in fourth, Rob Larke and Nick Barnes’ J2X took sixth place, Simon Ling and Ian Southworth’s RAF benevolent Fund Team Spitfire finished ninth overall and Simon Johnson and Ruairidh Scott’s Joyeuse finished tenth. The largest piece of silverware presented on the night was 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.
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.
The 2013 J/80 World Championship will take place in Marseilles, France from the seventh to 13th of July next year.
Bruce Perkins and his Hong Kong team - J/80 World Championships 2012
2011 World Champion Nextel pointing high - J/80 World Championships 2012
Richard Soper and his Exmouth based crew power upwind
Jose Maria van der Ploeg and his team celebrate with Mrs Charlie Williams - wife of Simon Williams Commodore of BRNC
The competitors watching the band beat the retreat at the Opening Ceremony
The BRNC volunteer band beating the retreat
J80 Worlds website