J/70 Worlds: This is going to be huge
Published on September 6th, 2017
The 2017 AUDI J/70 World Championship may go down in history as the class’ largest event ever – with 171 boats registered for the event on September 12 to 16. Hosted by Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, it can be said there are few yacht club and marina facilities in the world that can handle such an enormous fleet.
The regatta format has been updated twice because of the record number of entries. The YCCS PRO for the event will be Mark Foster from Corpus Christi YC in Texas – one of the survivors of the recent catastrophe caused by Hurricane Harvey in the Gulf of Mexico.
Foster has significant experience with big fleets, including acting as the St Francis YC’s PRO for the 2016 J/70 Worlds that had 83 boats on a single starting line. The fleet will be split randomly into four “flights” and the goal is to have a double-round robin consisting of six races for each flight to determine a Gold and Silver Fleet.
Thereafter, the Gold fleet will consist of 85 boats racing for the World Championship with up to nine races scheduled over the three remaining days. The start line will consist of three boats, including a mid-line signal boat.
Twenty-four nations are represented in the fleet with 16 European countries, four North American countries, three South American countries and Australia. By far the largest contingent is from the greater European continental region.
As the host nation, Italy has 39 teams registered, including all of the top names and teams that just completed their ALCATEL J/70 Cup on Lago Maggiore – emblematic of their Italian J/70 National Championship series. Amongst those teams are two-time J/70 European Champion – Claudia Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE, Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK (2x J/70 Midwinter Champion and 2017 ALCATEL J/70 Cup winner), Gianfranco Noe’s WHITE HAWK (the 2017 ALCATEL J/70 Cup Corinthians champion), and Franco Solerio’s L’ELAGAIN (a multi-regatta winner in the ALCATEL J/70 Cups over the past two years).
In addition to these top teams, there is also strong family participation in the Italian J/70 class. Claudia’s father – Alberto Rossi – is sailing ENFANT TERRIBLE (he’s also a Farr 40 World Champion). The famous fashion and sailing family – the Loro Piana’s also will have father and sons racing – brothers Giacomo & Pietro sailing on CU-J and father Pier Luigi sailing on MY SONG. Similarly, another past Farr 40 and M32 World Champion, Vincenzo Onorato will be sailing MASCALZONE LATINO with Cameron Appleton as his tactician, while his son Achille Onorato will be sailing MASCALZONE LATINO JR with Francesco Bruni on board as tactician- a formidable pair those two!
Just behind the large Italian group is an entire German armada of 32 teams heading south to take over Porto Cervo. Clearly, their famous Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga is having an impact on sailing all across Germany, and Europe, for that matter. Most all of the top German J/70 teams will be present, such as the uber-fast combo of Pit Finis and World Champion match-racer from Poland- Karol Jablonski – sailing on DRALION.DE for Dusseldorf YC. Other German colleagues should be in the hunt, such as Phil Mecklenburg’s HANDWERKER (with brothers Lukas & Tobias Feuerherdt aboard), Klaus Dieche’s LED ZEPPELIN, Martin Christiansen’s MARE-Z, Bjorn Bielken’s PROCEDES DIVA, Margale Rudiger’s REALITY DISTORTION FIELD, Jurgen Waldheim’s ROSAROTER PENGUIN and Christian Soyka’s VOICE OF ITZEHOE. An all-women’s crew from YC Langenargen will be sailing LADY LIKE- Anica Rimmele, Lina & Rosanna Schentz, Anne Winkelhausen, and Carla Rau.
The next largest contingent comes from the Swiss mountain lakes with 13 teams making the trek south to the Mediterranean sun. Leading teams from their highly popular sailing leagues include the SN Geneva crew on Cde.CH – Nicolas Anklin, Fredrik Hedluns’ Buchillon YC crew on AGERA 3, Vieter Casas’ SN Geneva team on CER 1 APROTEC, Thomas Studer’s SC Enge crew on JEAN, and Alain Stettler’s team from Regattaclub Oberhofen on QUARTER-2-ELEVEN.
With a dozen crew making the migration across the English Channel and the Moby Lines Ferry ride out to Olbia, Sardinia, no question the teams from Great Britain will have had a lot of practice in a wide range of wind and sea conditions – all good for the waters off Porto Cervo. Those leading teams include Allan Higgs’ ESF ENERGY, Dan Schieber’s HELLY HANSEN, Martin Dent’s JELVI 8, and Jeremy Thorp’s PHAN. Amongst their crews are also a top women’s team- Suzy Russell and Hannah Peters’ HANZY.
Also headed to Sardinia are several formidable Spanish teams; amongst the dozen crews are Olympic Medallists and multiple J/80 World Championships. Not surprisingly, the first time these teams appeared at the J/70 Europeans in the United Kingdom, they had a very strong showing – at one point holding 2 of the top 5 places in the regatta. While not well-known yet, they will be serious contenders for the top ten overall. Their top crews include NOTICIA from RCM Santander (“Pichu” Torcida and Rayco Tabares), PETITE PALACE HOTELS (Laureano Wizner), FERMAX (Gustavo Martinez) and the Canal brothers sailing on separate boats- ABRIL ROJO (Jorge Perez Canal) and ABRIL VERDE (Luis Perez Canal).
Familiar with the local waters and certain to have teams at the top of the leaderboard will be the nine crews attending from YC Monaco. Those crews include Pierrik Devic’s FRASER YACHTS, Ludovic Fassitelli’s JUNDA-BANCA DEL SEMPIONE, Stefano Roberti’s PICCININA (with United Kingdom’s Olympian Chris Grube aboard) and Maiano Herve’s SOPWITH CAMEL.
Also showing up with a strong contingent that has been doing a lot of racing and practicing in Monaco are the nine Russian crews. Their top teams include Valeria Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE, Daniel Odintsoy’s GOLDEN WING, Peter Nosov’s JESSIE TANTA, Aleksander Generalow’s JANE, and Alex Semenov & Hugo Rocha’s NEW TERRITORIES- a Russian & Spanish combined team.
Similarly, the seven French teams have top J/80 sailors amongst them- including a French National Champion. Those crews are Laurent Sambron’s EJP 14 and Elizabeth Valliant’s TRISKELL from SN Marseilles.
Five teams are sailing from The Netherlands, including J/22 European Champion Wouter Kollmann sailing PLAJ and Rikst Dijkstra’s WATERLAND MONNICKENDAM.
Other top crews from across Europe include Poland’s Krzytof Krempec skippering ENA, Norway’s Eivind Astrup sailing NORWEGIAN STEAM, Sweden’s Magnus Tyreman sailing TYRA with the American Jay Lutz onboard, Turkey’s Emir Icogoren racing AMEERA JET, Austria’s Klaus Diem skippering PFANDER, Croatia’s Pavel Kostov steering MINI NAHITA, and Malta’s Ripard brothers (Sebastian & John) sailing CALYPSO with Jon Calascione.
The North American contingent is certainly the most deeply talented in the fleet – perhaps the “dirty dozen” – armed and dangerous and all fast. Amazingly, all dozen teams have finished in the top three in large J/70 regattas in both the “open” and “Corinthians” divisions, including the Midwinters, Sailing World NOOD Regattas, Great Lakes Championship and the past three World Championships.
Hoping to defend his World Championship title will be Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT crew that includes John Kostecki (himself a J/24 World Champion). Chasing them hard will be teams like Glenn Darden & Reese Hillard’s HOSS with Olympic Gold Medallist Jonathan McKee on tactics; Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY crew (2nd in the J/70 Europeans and won the final ALCATEL J/70 Cup in Italy against all top European teams) that includes Victor Diaz de Leon from Venezuela and Willem Van Waay from San Diego; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA team (winner of the 2017 Corinthian Nationals) that includes US Olympic Medallist Stu McNay; Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE crew that has Australia’s Champion skipper Jeremy Wilmot; and Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER team from St Francis YC that includes none other than the famous Paul Cayard (Star World Champion and Volvo/Whitbread Race Champion) calling tactics.
Other top crews from across the America’s and the Caribbean include Peter Cunningham’s POWER PLAY from the Cayman Island Sailing Club (with top Argentinean Olympic sailor Lucas Calabrese calling tactics); the Weakley brothers (Scott & Dave) from Canada sailing REX; Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil sailing MANDACHUVA (a four-time J/24 World Champion); Chilean J/24 Champion Victor Lobos and the Molina brothers (Cristobal & Benjamin) sailing LEXUS CHILE; Argentinean J/24 Champions Sebastian Halpern and the Despontin brothers (Pablo & Ezequiel) racing CEBOLLITA; and the Perez brother trio (Ignacio, Juan & Santiago) from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico sailing ADRENALINE.
The lone crew from way, way Down Under is Reg Lord’s team from the Cruising YC of Australia racing JUNO!