Flojito Y Cooperando leads J/70 World Championship

Published on July 8th, 2015

La Rochelle, France (July 8, 2015) – The opening day for the J/70 World Championship completed three races for the 78 teams competing in the 4-day event (July 8-11). With 16 countries represented, it was Mexican entrant Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s Flojito Y Cooperando that leads the fleet with a 2-2-7. Neckelmann’s crew of Bill Hardesty, Willem Van Waay, and Erik Brockmann was the only team to stay in the top ten, now holding a margin of eight points over defending World Champion Tim Healy (USA) who sits in second with scores of 5-1-13. Ten races are scheduled. ResultsPhotos.

Additional report by J/Boats:
After two days of registration and a training race yesterday under the sun, the competitors from 16 different nationalities left the port in the late morning to get to the racing area. Three races were held today, under a partly cloudy sky and with a slightly oscillating wind between 12 and 17 knots.

Around half past one, after a general recall, the competitors took their first start of the Championship. A start under black flag, which cost Allan Higgs’ English crew his first race. A clockwise rotation of the wind has required a change of course and it is the English (GBR 557) who won this first race in 53 minutes, led by Ian Atkins, already Spi Ouest France winner in J/70 this year.

The second round was more difficult, since the tidal current combined with the wind were pushing the boats on the line. Three general recall were necessary before having a good start and more than a dozen boats were declared BFD (disqualified for premature start) for that round and had to wait for the start of the next and last race of the day.

After this first day of championship, it was the Mexican (MEX 384) and their skipper Julian FERNANDEZ NECKELMAN that take the overall lead. Just behind in second place, the US team HELLY HANSEN of the skipper Tim Healy, J/70 World Championship winner last year have had a good first day, too. Ranked 5th and then first during the first and second races, they ranked 13th in the third race. He explains: “The conditions today were good but the wind was a bit shifty which made the race quite tricky. We missed such a change during the third round so we didn’t made a very good start, but we managed to climb over the race to 13th, which was not so bad. Anyway, we have not been BFD today, like many competitors, which is good.”

With on board a crew he knows very well and with whom he is used to sail since several years, Tim HEALY was happy with this first day in La Rochelle, on a body of water he did not know but had heard off. However, he is well aware that nothing is played yet for this championship: “This is a large fleet and everyone came very well prepared; the best are here, so inevitably, there will be competition, but if conditions remain as they were today, it will be a good week.”

At the third place overall, we find the Italian on Calvi Network (ITA 456) and its skipper Carlo Alberini, who won the J/70 European Championship in 2014.

The French are not far behind. Indeed, Laurent SAMBRON and his crew on HEMON CAMUS (FRA 722) ranked eighth in the provisional general. Just behind the ENTENTE CORDIALE and its crew from La Rochelle, sailing under the Great Britain flag (GBR 836), and led by Philippe Briand are positioned in tenth place.

This first day of championship will has been marked by numerous BFD and a fairly dispersed fleet which suggests some surprises in the coming days of competition.

In the Corinthian classification of the event, reserved for amateurs, it is the English teams who dominate the race for now. TEAM BENEVOLENT FUND RAF SPITFIRE (GBR 123) and skipper Simon LING ranks first, followed by GILL RACE TEAM (GBR 259) and their skipper Ian Wilson.

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