Jud Smith wins J/70 World Championship
Published on September 29th, 2018
Marblehead, MA (September 29, 2018) – The glitterati from the world of sailing were present at the 2018 West Marine J/70 World Championships, with 91 teams from 18 different countries battling it out in 11 highly competitive races. The depth of talent in the fleet was unprecedented with Olympic Gold Medallist, America’s Cup winners, and world champions vying for one of the biggest world championships is the modern era.
With only three points separating the top three teams entering today, and with three final races on the table along with the struggle to avoid big scores in the deep fleet, uncertainty of the outcome was at an all-time high. But when the wind gods failed to deliver sufficient stable breeze to allow the Race Committee to run a fair race, the results were deemed final when the PRO signaled no more racing at the 14:30 cut off time.
There was a fairy tale ending for Jud Smith (above, right), born and bred in these waters, winning the 2018 title with his team of Lucas Calabrese, Will Felder, and Marc Gauthier racing J/70 Africa, and representing the Eastern Yacht Club, hosts for the event. The intensity of the battle was such that Jud Smith succeeded without winning a single race, and only making the top three on one occasion. In the end Smith’s Africa won the world title by a single point.
“This fleet was incredibly deep,” commented Smith. “We all have the utmost respect for all 90 of you, anybody could have won this regatta, and we respected that. It really was a privilege to race here and a lot of fun. I would like to thank my team, we have worked really hard, training for this event all year long, and we have been together through thick and thin.
“It has been a hard week, for Marblehead, we have had more breeze than we usually get – the conditions have been very challenging. We are really glad, we came back from a tough position in the last race, and at the time, we didn’t realize how important those points were. It is hard to comprehend – winning in Marblehead is special, but a little extra pressure for sure, I really can not praise my team enough.”
Luis Bugallo (ESP) racing Marnatura is the 2018 Corinthian J/70 World Champion, adding to the European title won in June at the young Spaniard’s home club, Real Club Náutico de Vigo. Luis, like most of the Marnatura team, is just 23 years old.
“I think we did a great job as a team, we prepared by trying to improve ourselves, and coming sixth overall and winning the Corinthian title is a very good result,” shared Bugallo. “In this fleet consistency is one of the most important factors, and so is to know the best way to mode the boat for the conditions.
“Upwind probably the top 30 boats were the same speed and height, the big difference is optimizing the boat for downwind, knowing whether to heat up, go wing-on-wing, or go low, and that takes time to understand. The racing was amazing, the start line was huge, and we tried not to be at the extremes of the line, we tried to keep our options open.”
Bruno Pasquinelli’s Stampede (Fort Worth BC) was the runner up overall, just a single point away from victory. “A lot of the owners have been racing against each other for decades, this has been a lot of fun, even though we just missed out.”
Jack Franco’s 3 Ball JT (Lakewood YC) was third overall, just three points away from glory, and had high praise for Jud Smith, with a touch of irony Jack commented. “Jud, if you hadn’t won you would be a dud, but now you have, well you’re a real stud!”
Of the 11 races sailed, teams from Brazil, Great Britain, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and the United States of America, all scored race wins. Twenty-Two teams made the race podium, epitomizing the strength in depth of the fleet, which was the largest fleet of J/70s ever assembled in North America.
As for special awards, the youngest helm at the championship was Gannon Troutman (USA) racing Piped Piper, scoring a race win. Claudia Rossi Petite (ITA) was the top woman helm, and Kim Gibson (CAN) racing Seaya earned the team’s good humour throughout the regatta.
The 2019 J/70 World Championship will be hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, Torquay, United Kingdom from August 29th to September 6th, 2019.
Final Results (Top 10 of 91; 11 races, 1 discard)
1. Africa, Jud Smith, USA – 7 -14 -2 -6 -11 -22 -15 -13 -5 - -10 ; 105
2. Stampede, Bruno Pasquinelli, USA – 8 -7 -3 -11 - -17 -25 -3 -9 -16 -7 ; 106
3. 3 Ball JT, Jack Franco, USA – 18 -22 -25 -8 -6 -5 -1 - -12 -3 -8 ; 108
4. Relative Obscurity, Peter Duncan, USA – 2 -2 -10 -16 -33 -1 - -4 -2 -49 -4 ; 123
5. Savasana, Brian Keane, USA – 11 -4 -13 -1 -28 -18 -17 -26 -4 - -2 ; 124
6. Marnatura, Luis Bugallo, ESP – 14 -9.5 -5 -19 -17 - -13 -17 -27 -7 -3 ; 131.5
7. Noticia, Jose Maria Torcida, ESP – 9 -8 -14 -2 -1 -7 - -31 -10 -39 -13 ; 134
8. Enfant Terrible, Alberto Rossi, ITA – 5 -5 - -17 -21 -3 -18 -33 -19 -13 -20 ; 154
9. New England Ropes, Timothy Healy, USA – 10 -6 -19 -20 -29 -11 -16 -30 -6 -9 - ; 156
10. Any Colour, Scott and Alex Furnary, USA – 32 -15 -8 -25 -12 - -2 -43 -23 -8 -5 ; 173
Fourteen races had been planned from September 25 to 29.
Source: Louay Habib