Modern Day Outlaws Reveal Secrets

Published on October 5th, 2017

When Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid paired up in the late 1800s, they formed a gang known as the Wild Bunch that were responsible for the longest string of successful train and bank robberies in American history.

The modern day tandem is now Victor Diaz de Leon and Willem Van Waay.

These guys are regularly on the podium, recently teaming up with Peter Duncan and Jud Smith to completely annihilate the 161-boat fleet at the 2017 J/70 World Championship.

What makes these outlaws so good? Let’s hear from them:

Willem van Waay:
I recently had breakfast with my good friend, Fabian. He owns a J/70 at Coronado Yacht Club and is very excited about his boat, racing one design, and improving his skills on the race course. The weekend before we had a local San Diego J/70 Regatta called J Fest. Fabian was a little frustrated with his results in the 13 boat fleet.

He only sailed Saturday and the conditions were quite challenging- shifty, light, and a little sea swell- plus he was sailing one man short. As a big, beautiful plate of Huevos Rancheros landed in front of me Fabian asked, “How do you do it? How have you been top 2 at all 4 J70 Worlds? How do I get better? What does it take? How do I get a steady team? What should I do? Help me please.” Full report.

Victor Diaz de Leon:
The first time I sailed a J/70 was at the 2013 Key West Race Week. I had recently met Willem Van Waay and he had asked me to join his team. He thought I was the right weight to complete his crew trimming main legs in. Once there, I quickly volunteered to dive the boat, bail between races, and do other chores. It seemed to me that those had my name all over it, since I was the youngest and most inexperienced by a long stretch!

Going forward from that regatta, Willem took me under his wing and took me along with most of the programs he was involved with. I guess he saw my passion and enthusiasm for the sport. He introduced me to pro-sailing, always having my back and looking after me. He still does. Full report.

Winning team (from left): Jud Smith, Victor Diaz de Leon, Peter Duncan, Willem Van Waay
© YCCS/Kurt Arrigo

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