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Leaderboard April May 2023

Le Tigre slashes fleet at the J/80 World Championship

by J/Boats 14 Oct 2022 19:53 PDT October 4-8, 2022
J/80 World Championship 2022 © Tim Wilkes

This past week, the 2022 J/80 World Championship was sailed from October 4th to 8th in Newport, RI for a talented fleet of forty-eight boats from ten nations (USA, India, Belgium, France, Netherlands, Canada, Spain, Sweden, & Ireland). Hosting the event was the experienced Race Committee/ PRO team (led by Tom Duggan) from SAIL Newport.

The regatta was heavily influenced by the remnants of the devastating Hurricane Ian that had morphed into a monster gale offshore of southern New England. For days it meandered around and, ultimately, moved further offshore as a powerful high-pressure system moved southeast to push it northeast. As a result, the first day of sailing on Tuesday was canceled due to 25 to 35 kts NNE winds on Narragansett Bay.. it was blowing even harder offshore in Rhode Island Sound. The next two days- Wednesday and Thursday- produced slowing dying northerlies swinging more northwest as the old hurricane moved offshore, with racing taking place north of Gould Island inside Narragansett Bay in racing Area C. Finally, the weather changed on Friday, enabling the fleet to sail race Area A offshore on Rhode Island Sound in classic south to southwest winds in the 6 to 12 kts range. For the finale on Saturday, the wind again swung back into the NNW as a cold front rolled through overnight, dropping the temperatures 30 F degrees into the high 40s at dawn!! Not surprisingly, the light NNW winds of 6-10 kts dropped off quickly on a gorgeous sunny day. Racing back up the Bay on Area C, the winds died off after the 10th and final race.

After winning the "pre-Worlds", a.k.a. the J/80 North American Championship the previous week, it was readily apparent that Glenn Darden's "all-star" crew on LE TIGRE (Willem van Waay, Victor Diaz de Leon, and Rod "Caracas" Favela, and Marcus Eagan) was going to be the odds-on favorites to win the 2022 J/80 Worlds. By the end of the first day of racing in mostly "planing-mode" conditions on Wednesday, it was clear Darden's team was up to the task, posting a stunning 2-1-1 against the World's best J/80 teams. They never looked back over the next three days of racing, accumulating four 1sts and three 2nds in their record to win the regatta quite handily with just 20 pts net.

The one world championship-caliber team that could match Darden's LE TIGRE team was the Spanish/ Swedish crew on Per Roman's GP BULLHOUND (Luis Bugallo Arriola, Alfredo Gonzalez, Gustavio Martinez Doreste, and Jose Miguel Segura). Like LE TIGRE, they also sailed the J/80 North Americans the previous week and took the silver. So, the stakes were high for Roman's crew on the first day of the Worlds. Would they match or overcome LE TIGRE's super-star team? Or, not? By winning the first race, they threw down the proverbial gauntlet and put all competitors on notice they would be a significant factor at the top of the leaderboard. By the end of the first day, they posted a 1-4-2 to be just 4 pts behind the LE TIGRE team... an easy striking distance to pressure them into possible mistakes. However, after the second day of racing, it was Roman's GP BULLHOUND team that blinked first, committing a foul and getting DSQ'd in race 4. Then, they picked up a 6-6 tally to drop still further behind LE TIGRE. In the end, Roman's GP BULLHOUND team was the only other boat to count only top 10 finishes to take the silver with 37 pts net.

Behind the two leaders, it was a battle royale for the final step on the podium between four boats- Pat O'Neill's Irish team on LEAD MINE, Will Crump's R80, Jesse Thompson's TUBBY, and Spaniard Jose Azqueta's BIOBIZZ BIZKAIA. After the first six races, Azqueta's BIOBIZZ BIZKAIA team was comfortably in third place after a remarkable string of races (3-3-6-3-28-2) with a shot at the lead (accounting for the 28th discard). However, their last four races were unforgettably bad, losing their "mojo" and posting an 11-8-DSQ-6 to fall off a cliff and "down the mineshaft" to end up 6th overall! A sad story, to say the least for such a talented team.

Meanwhile, the other three contenders faired better. In the end, it was the "luck-of-the-Irish" and some good tactical decisions that enabled O'Neill's Irish team on LEAD MINE (Ryan Glynn, Shane Hughes, and David Kelly) to earn the bronze with 60 pts net! The balance of the top five included Crump's R80 team in fourth (Zeke Horowitz, Tom Klok, Marie Klok Crump) with 63 pts and Thompson's TUBBY team (Evan Petley-Jones, Carter White, and Molly White) in fifth position with 69 pts.

Corinthian Division

Winning the Corinthians was Ryan Walsh's PEARLY BAKER team (Paul Adam, Sean McLaughlin, and Matt Wordell), followed by the Spanish youth sailors led by Nicolar Viar on the FHIMASA YOUTH team (Pedro Maria Basterra Moyua, Alba Ortega Merino, Manolo Rey-Baltar, and Tomas Trueba) in second, and Winnie Berteloot's Belgium crew on REGION DE BRUXELLES- CAPITALE 1 (Esteban de pas y Fuente, Timothee Deplasse, Celestin Goubau, and Jacques Lemaire) in third place.

Top Women's Division

The top women's skipper and also the top all-women's team was Olatz Munoz's Spanish team from Palma Mallorca on the famous DECOEXSA (Patrizia Alza, Gabriela Crus, Carlota Gala, Eva Gonzalez, and Marta Lizarraga). The second lady helmswoman was Shannon Lockwood's SHENANIGANS team (Bobby Lacker, Bill Lockwood, and Ian Moriarty).

J/80 World Championship race results available here. Click here for more J/80 World Championship sailing information.

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