Waffling wind at J/70 Worlds

Published on August 13th, 2021

Marina del Rey, CA (August 13, 2021) – It wasn’t a gale; it wasn’t even Force 3 … but it was just enough breeze to pull off one race on Day Three of the 2021 J/70 World Championship Regatta at California Yacht Club. Brian Keane and the crew of Savasana now have the top rung of the leaderboard with two days remaining.

The long-awaited championship event for the 61 teams from 11 nations started out with promise two days ago, with two windward/leeward courses raced in 6 to 8 knots of breeze. But yesterday the wind failed to materialize.

Much like the pandemic, which cancelled the 2020 title event, fickle conditions again tested the patience of the international field of sailors, forcing them to endure postponement in the California sun. It was, as Huckleberry’s Jim Murrell said, “Hurry up and bake.”

Principal Race Officer Mark Foster revealed yesterday’s wind was “a bit below 5 knots and Class minimum; going from 230 degrees to 260 degrees, but never really filling in. The J/70s don’t sail that well under 5 knots, which is why the Class have a rule. So when we recognized things weren’t going to develop, we sent the fleet in.”

But eager to resume racing today, he prompted the fleet to dock out on time. After an hour postponement on the course, as the breeze wafted between 5 and 6 knots, the Race Committee tightened the legs to 1.1 nm and commenced Race Three.

Conditions remained light and challenging: sailors struggled to patchwork together the puffs. Peter Duncan’s Relative Obscurity took an early lead: boosted in clean air they began extending, and never let up. Duncan has just come off a win in the 2021 J/70 North Americans in Annapolis, followed by a third-place finish in the Pre-Worlds. The 2017 World Champion took first in Race Three, catapulting Relative Obscurity to second place overall.

Having entered the day tied at the top of the leaderboard with Bruce Golison’s Midlife Crisis, Brian Keane and Savasana’s sixth place finish in today’s race left them alone at the top the leaderboard by four points; while Laura Grondin’s Dark Energy climbed to third place.

Despite high hopes, further racing was abandoned at 3:25PM as wind conditions continued to diminish.

Organizers hope to complete 10 races before wrapping up Sunday August 15. However the NOR stipulates just five races must be completed to constitute a series: at that point each boat will get a throw-out.

Racing is planned for August 11-15.

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Day Three Results (Top 10 of 61; 3 races)
1. Brian Keane, USA – 6 -1 -6 ; 13
2. Peter Duncan, USA – 5 -11 -1 ; 17
3. Laura Grondin, USA – 2 -15 -7 ; 24
4. Mallory & Andrew Loe, USA – 16 -7 -3 ; 26
5. Bruce Golison, USA – 3 -4 -22 ; 29
6. Travis Odenbach, USA – 13 -5 -14 ; 32
7. Andres Ducasse Soruco, CHI – 4 -9 -21 ; 34
8. James Prendergast, USA – 8 -13 -17 ; 38
9. John Heaton, USA – 12 -20 -9 ; 41
10. J Repeat, Paul Ward, GBR – 11 -17 -13 ; 41

Source: Betsy Senescu

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