Spanish rule J/80 World Championship
Published on July 10th, 2015
With 50 teams competing for the J/80 World Championship title, two Spanish teams sit atop the rank after five days of racing (July 6-10) in Kiel, Germany.
Two Iberian top teams staged a dramatic final, in which the crew of “Princesa Yaiza“ with skipper and owner Rayco Babares Alvarez brushing past their countrymen. Marc de Antonio, skipper of the beaten “Bribon Movistar” was thoroughly disappointed – he had led the races from the very first day onward. The 3rd place was secured the French “Co-Pilotes” (Maxime Mesnil) against the strongly emerging team from Bremen of the “Procedes Diva” around Björn Beilken.
In a weather scenario which caused the teams of eight nationalities difficulties over the entire World Championship, conditions for the 10 races ranging from light to strong wind, the crews were really challenged on the last race day. The storm of the previous day had died down on Friday morning, but strong gusts of up to 30 knots blew across the racing course.
The race officer, Fabian Bach, signalled an earlier start for sailing and left no doubts that he wanted to increase the competition load, getting three fast races underway. “Everything went down well; the competitors were also quite satisfied. Many of them offered their thanks at the finishing line,” the race officer explained. The wind conditions were challenging but the basic wind force was stable, Bach explained, who hoisted the black flag after a premature start on the 1st day’s race, bringing the crews under tightened terms across the starting line.
At the end of the week he voiced satisfaction with his team’s work. The praise was echoed by Thore Hansen, the managing director of the marketing agency POS: “The entire team worked perfectly in the preparation and execution of the World Championship. We are proud to have such volunteers from the Kieler Yacht-Club and the German J/80 Class Association gathered together.”
The conditions provided a great World Championship. “We started with light winds for the practice race, and then had spectacular scenes during the following races. Kiel put on its smiling face and offered good conditions for all sailors. The race committee showed, by planning the course close to the shore, sailing at one’s fingertip and by doing so furthered the recruitment for Kiel as venue”, Hansen explained, who was delighted with the presence of the local and trade press: ‘The “Segler-Zeitung’ as media partner of the Worlds showed competence and thoroughness in the reporting of the event. The support of the SZ reporting daily of the World Championship contributed to making the event a medial success.”
Especially on the last day the visitors to the Olympic Center at Schilksee were offered quality sport directly off the jetty, as the crews in gusty winds turned around the luff buoy and hoisted their genakkers. The perfectly working team of the Rayco Babares Alvarez didn’t miss the big chance of displaying quality seamanship.
“We are a family crew, sailing together for many years, integrating the tasks,” explained the overjoyed skipper of the ‘Hotel Princesa Yaiza’ on reaching the harbour. “We prefer a little less wind, but in the first two races of the day everything simply worked better than for our competitors for the title.”
With a victory at the start of the day and a 4th place in the following race, the team from Lanzarote on the Canaries had already secured the crown. The 6th place became the voided result for Alvarez, who also had his wife on board. “This title means unbelievably much to us. It’s our second victory since 2009. We came to win, but knew it would be difficult fighting our compatriots. In the first few days we had to come to terms with the charter boat. During the Championship we gradually found our best trim.”
Contrary feelings prevailed on the “Bribon Movistar”, who even with a win in the last race could not secure the victory, after dropping back to the 6th place on the previous race. “Today of all days – the most important one – our manoeuvres were not good, and we made wrong tactical decisions. The starts were generally ok, but at the luff buoys we had already lost the race.” skipper de Antonio explained. “The win at the end improved our spirits but in general we are very disappointed.”
Even though the finish of “Procedes Diva” (fellowship of the Wappen von Bemen) didn’t secure them a place on the podium, the crew around Björn Beilken showed satisfaction about the World Championship: “A place on the podium would have been perfect, as this was our final competition in this class,” tactician Jork Homeyer explained: “But we’re satisfied. We aimed at a placing in the top ten and toward the end came very close to secure a medal, which we didn’t even dare to hope for. And then to win a day’s race in the World Championship was great.” Five points were missing at the end for a 3rd place for the French team of the “Co-Pilotes”, which, with a 13th and a 10th placing in the last two races, had to cast some feathers.
The good performance of the “Procedes Diva” on the last day forced the decision of the internal German duel distinctly. The club members of the “Bootswerft Winkler Campaign” with skipper Sven Vagt, with 15 points down, had to contend themselves with a 5th place. The “Pike” of the local hero Martin Menzner (Kieler YC) lost a further place and landed on 7th place. “Everything went wrong today. Firstly the compass broke down, which in Strander Bay could be compensated. But then the top batten slipped out of the sail. We had to focus on ignoring the flapping to not be distracted.” Menzner explained, and then, looking at the results list, realizing that the breakage of the tackline of the gennacker just before the last buoy cost us so many points so that the French “Dunkerque VADK One” overtook us onto the 6th overall placing.
Andreas Rose, chairman of the German Class Association, summarised the World Championship in these few words: “It was a great week with difficult conditions, but also with light-wind competitions. In any case we had a lot of fun”. Kiel’s Lord Mayor, Dr. Ulf Kämpfer, was impressed at the Prize Giving Ceremony: “You presented great sport and superb sportsmanship. It was an honour to have had you here. Once more you have put Kiel in the focus of German sailing.”
Report by Martina Nebelung.