Tim Healy: Riding the wave of J/70 class growth

Published on September 15th, 2014

Ever since the J/70 made its debut at the 2013 Key West Race Week, the class momentum has been historic. Tim Healy won that first 38-boat one design event, and has been riding the wave of class growth ever since. Last week Healy won the inaugural J/70 World Championship in Newport, RI, topping 86 teams representing 14 nations. Here he reports….

Key to victory
Newport in September is good for breeze and we raced in a number of different wind strengths and directions. Prior to the event, we spent a few weekend days training outside the bay on Rhode Island Sound. Spending time out on the ocean and getting a handle on the boat moving through the chop was key. We didn’t know how important that was going to be at the time, but it proved valuable because we ended up with three days of 3-4ft chop during the regatta. We constantly focused on keeping the boat going, and making sure our rig tune and sail trim were spot on; it made a big difference.

We trained on the weekends leading up to the regatta. Once per week we’d sail as a team after work, and we arrived to the regatta this year in time for at least one training day. Getting to an event in advance gets the crew comfortable; a few of us also sail J/24s together and generally spend time together as a team. I’ve been sailing with Gordon Borges since 2000, Geoff Becker and Paul Abdullah since 2010. We’ve clocked about 30-40 days sailing together in 2014.

Class growth
This event means the J/70 Class has achieved ISAF status and is now an internationally recognized class. One thing that really illustrates how rapidly this class has grown is that this first World Championship had more participants than any other inaugural world championship in any other J/Boat class ever.

What do I think this signifies? Continued growth. The boat and class are very strong. South America, Europe, the west coast of the United States, and Asia are the next growth areas. We’ve witnessed a steady expansion of participation here in the US, especially on the east coast. The class is organized and well-run and therefore poised to embrace decades of great international competition.

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