Healy opens lead at J/70 Worlds
Published on September 12th, 2014
Newport, RI (September 12, 2014) – Narragansett Bay was the setting for the penultimate day of racing at the 2014 J/70 World Championship presented by Helly Hansen as the New York Yacht Club Race Committee worked to get the competitors racing before the northerly breeze died. In roughly 10 knots of breeze, two races – one each for the gold and silver fleets – were run before the breeze ultimately ran out.
It was a complete change of pace for the competitors who had faced big breeze and rough seas for the first three days of the series; picking the correct side of the course and factoring in the ebb tide was the key to doing well.
For series leader Tim Healy of Jamestown, R.I., the lone race would become his drop as he picked up a 13th-place finish. Despite crossing the finish behind his closest rival for the championship crown – Minneapolis’ Joel Ronning, who placed 10th on Catapult – Healy and the crew on Helly Hansen retain the lead position heading into the final day of the championship tomorrow. Healy’s lead over Ronning (14 points vs 28) is not insurmountable for Ronning, in light of an earlier start for the final day and the Race Committee’s plan to get in three races.
2013 BACARDI® Miami Sailing Week class champion Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., at the helm of Savasana, was the winner of the lone gold fleet race today, which helped to slightly close his points gap on the leaders. With 41 points, Keane has also improved his margin over Martin Kullman of St. Petersburg, Fla., on New Wave, who has 55 points and is fourth overall.
After moving from 24th into fifth overall in the standings yesterday, 2013 J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl of Boston, Mass., on MUSE, kept the momentum going with a second-place finish in today’s race. MUSE retains the fifth spot on 60 points, and also continues as the top Corinthian (no professional sailors on board) team in the series.
“We’re pretty happy about our position considering the talent in the fleet,” said Gregg-Earl. “We are super excited about where we are in the standings so far; it’s a really deep talent pool and to be in the top-15 in the regatta was our goal and we’re achieving that.”
Gregg-Earl is sailing with Joe Bardenheier (Boston), Stu Johnstone (Newport, R.I.) and Stu Saffer (New York, N.Y.). All four are not only alumni of Tufts University (Medford, Mass.), but also members of New York Yacht Club and it was through NYYC’s Team Racing program that the four came together. “We are all friends and felt strongly about sailing Corinthian,” said Gregg-Earl, explaining that they have been able to keep a Corinthian team and still do well.
For the final day of the championship, the strategy on MUSE will be to sail conservatively. “Just keep ourselves in the game. Not be too risky; not take flyers,” said Gregg-Earl. “Lots of people have had some deep races and we want to get ourselves in the top-five or ten tomorrow.”
In the silver fleet, Mexico’s Marco Teixidor, on Cachondo, moved up from third to first overall with 104 points after finishing fifth in today’s lone race for that fleet. Following Cachondo is a three-way tie on points – 106 – between Mark Ploch of the Bronx, N.Y., on Sugar Daddy, Newport’s Blake and Lud Kimbrough on Nostalgia, and Geoffrey Pierini of Rumson, N.J. on Surge.
Racing concludes tomorrow, Saturday, September 13. The September 8-13 competition is being hosted by New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court, with regatta headquarters at Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center.
Day Four Results – Gold Fleet (Top 10 of 43; 9 races, 1 discard)
1. Helly Hansen, Tim Healy , USA – 2, 2, 2, 1, 3, 2, 1, 1,  ; 14
2. Catapult, Joel Ronning , USA – 1, 1, 1, 4, 8, 1, 2, , 10 ; 28
3. Savasana, Brian Keane , USA – 1, 3, 3, 2, 11, , 9, 11, 1 ; 41
4. New Wave, Martin Kullman , USA – 6, 24, 6, 3, 2, 3, 7, , 4 ; 55
5. MUSE, Heather/Joe Gregg Earl/Bardenheier , USA – , 13, 9, 11, 13, 5, 4, 3, 2 ; 60
6. Joust, Tim Molony , USA – 16, 2, 6, 2, , 7, 6, 20, 11 ; 70
7. Africa, Jud Smith , USA – 14, 10, 14, , 1, 10, 19, 4, 3 ; 75
8. Stampede, Patrick Wilson , USA – 7, 12, 13, 5, 14, 15, 3, 6,  ; 75
9. Heartbreaker , Robert Hughes , USA – 7,  , 5, 14, 3, 4, 16, 18, 9; 76
10. Wild Child, Henry Filter , USA – 17/SCP, 1, 7/SCP, 6, 4, 19,  , 9, 14; 77
Report by Media Pro Intl. Photo by Paul Todd / Outside Images.