Pursuing the 2019 J/70 World title

Published on August 20th, 2019

In what is popularly referred to as the “English Riviera,” the 2019 J/70 World Championships on September 2-5 will be held in the south west of England on Coral Island, Torquay. And for what was intended as an easy-going one design class for families and friends, the J/70 now attracts a pretty serious crowd in pursuit of its highest crown.

Whereas the 2018 edition in the USA attracted 91 teams from 18 different countries, the sixth edition has drawn 82 boats from 21 countries with teams from almost every major western European country represented as well as Russia, Cypress, Malta, and Monaco to name a few.

This multinational event will not only give returning 2017 World Champion Peter Duncan and the team of Willem van Waay, Bill Hardesty and Will Felder a shot at another world title win, but the stakes are particularly high as the many European and UK teams are strong and hungry for an elusive world title win.

“This is probably going to be the toughest Worlds to date. There are tenfold more Europeans and it is tough to win in foreign waters. We will be up against many greats from Italy, Spain, Germany and the UK as well as other countries,” said Willem.

“This will be my third time sailing with Peter Duncan in a World Championship,” added Willem. “One thing is for certain. The European J/70 class is huge and we will have some major competition from them. “

Willem notes that although it will be tough racing against the European teams, the USA teams also have been building a legacy in the J/70 class since its first World Championship held five years ago.

“At present, there are 1,500 J/70 boats in existence with 300 of the boats in the USA, however, there have been five World Championships and four out of the five have had a USA winner. We have a great record as a country and but we will all have our work cut out for us.”

While three out of four team members answer to either Will or Bill, they all answer to J/70 World Champion. Will won in 2018, Peter and Willem won in 2017, and Bill won in 2015

“The Worlds is going to both showcase the top teams in Europe and the world, but also give our USA teams a chance to shine,” says Jud Smith, 2018 J/70 World Champ, who will be serving as a coach at this year’s event.

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Story is edited version from original by Laurie Fullerton for Doyle Sails.

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