Amateur Initiative in J/70 Class

Published on September 1st, 2016

When the J/70 class was launched in 2012, it was discussed whether the rules should include limitations on professional sailors. The class decided, in the interest of growth, that all were welcome, which opened the door to both industry pros and ‘pay to sail’ pros.

While class growth has been significant, so has the impact of pro crew. With success in the class now intrinsically connected to hiring professional sailors, the class leaders have launched a more amateur initiative.

The US J/70 Class Association inaugural US Corinthian National Championship will take place in conjunction with the established Fall Brawl Regatta from October 20-23, 2016 in Annapolis, Maryland. As a Corinthian event, all competitors, including the owner/driver, will provide proof of a valid World Sailing Group 1 (amateur) classification at the time of registration.

Eastport Yacht Club will host the amateur-only event, which will included three days of racing plus practice races on Thursday, October 20. Both Friday and Saturday evenings will include a competitors’ social and industry professional debrief.

“The concept of having a Corinthian Championship really took off at this year’s Easter Regatta,” summarized Christopher Howell, US J/70 Class Association Executive Director. “While our amateur teams have benefited tremendously from professional sailors, there is a strong desire to also have a Championship with a balanced playing field where the competitors can receive advice from industry experts.”

The Class Association has already scheduled the second US Corinthian National Championship for August 2017 as part of the Buzzards Bay Regatta in Massachusetts.

Additionally, the class has designated the 2017 Midwinter Championship as a ‘one Group 3 (pro) per boat’ event. This event will be held on February 24-26 in St. Petersburg, FL. While the Worlds and North American Championships will continue to remain open regattas per Class Rules, local event organizers can choose if their event will be open or to invoke existing class rules to limit participation by professionals.

With 83 teams currently entered in the J/70 World Championship in San Francisco on September 27-October 1, and only four designated as Corinthian teams, the genie is clearly out of the bottle. Can it be put back in? Standing by…

Note: Scuttlebutt published two stories that preceded this class initiative:
Is It Time for Corinthian-Only Events?
Limit Professionalism to Protect the Fleet

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