|By Louay Habib
The Darwin Escapes 2019 J/70 World Championships, hosted by the Royal Torbay Yacht Club was the sixth edition of the J/70 Worlds and the first to take place in UK. 77 teams from 20 different nations competed in 14 races over five days, deciding the Open (professional) and Corinthian (amateur) World Champions ratified by World Sailing.
The wind speed, direction and sea state were in a constant state of flux, testing the raw talent of the competitors and the race committee led by PRO Stuart Childerley. With all 77 teams on one start line, and a tight windward leeward course of under 2 miles, the racing was thrilling to the extreme.
Tor Bay delivered world class racing conditions and the international fleet rose to the occasion. The top class fleet, including numerous Olympic and World Champions from the sport of sailing, was highly competitive. Both the professional and amateur world champion winners went to the wire, only settled on the last leg of the final race.
2019 J/70 Open World Champions
Eat Sleep J Repeat (GBR) Paul Ward, Charlie Cumbley, Ruairidh Scott, Mario Trindade.
Paul Ward’s Eat Sleep J Repeat became the first British team to win the Open J/70 World Championship, holding off a strong challenge from Joel Ronning (USA) racing Catapult, Pichu Torcida (ESP) racing Noticia, and Alberto Rossi (ITA) racing Enfant Terrible. Claudia Rossi (ITA) racing Petite Terrible, was fourth and best Open Woman Helm in the championship.
2019 J/70 Corinthian World Champions
Soak Racing (IRL) Marshall King, Ian Wilson, Andrew Shorrock, Adam Brushett.
Soak Racing won the J/70 Corinthian World Championship in dramatic style. In the last race, Soak Racing was four places ahead of Doug Struth (GBR) racing DSP. A tie on points for the series was settled by countback, a single place after 14 races gave Soak Racing victory. Denis Cherevatenko (RUS) racing Joyfull was third. Fiona Hampshire (GBR) racing Elizabeth was best Corinthian Woman Helm in the championship.
The Royal Torbay Yacht Club organised a superb world championship, roundly applauded by all of the competitors. Led by Event Director Bob Penfold and volunteer members of the RTYC. A wonderful pageant for the Opening Ceremony set the scene. Chief Executive of Darwin Escapes Anthony Esse, and Key Yachting’s Marie-Claude Heys officially opened the regatta. Squadron 13, the RTYC junior sail training club, paraded the flags of the 20 countries participating at the championships, and Britannia Royal Naval College’s RN Volunteer Band entertained the crowd. Throughout the regatta the RTYC delivered a friendly and well-thought out occasion, which had taken years of planning. The Royal Torbay Yacht Club and their dedicated volunteer support were roundly applauded by all of the J/70 sailors for producing a fantastic regatta. Stuart Childerley and the Race Management team received huge applause at the closing ceremony for providing high quality racing in tricky conditions.
“Very very pleased, it has been hard work and we have a very good team.We have sailed well all year and this has been a tough week but a lot of fun. We were just a few metres from the finish when we realised we had probably won, we worked hard right up to the end, the Americans and the Spanish pushed us really hard, it was full on. There were plenty of tough moments, but that is why we came to Torbay, this is a tricky and challenging place to race. I would also like to thank everyone at Key Yachting and especially Paul Heys who I would love to have a pint with tonight, but sadly he is no longer with us.” Paul Ward (GBR) Eat Sleep J Repeat.
“Amazing, we have been trying to win this for six years, so it feels just amazing. Torbay has been exceptionally tricky, and we have had great competition at a really well organised regatta, and it is great to come away with the win. Today’s racing was really exciting, we were 10 points behind DSP going into the last two races. We had an excellent Race 13 and then it was about staying with DSP and making sure there were not too many boats between us. It all came down to the last 100 metres, and we did just enough.” Ian Wilson (GBR) & Marshall King (IRL) Soak Racing.
American teams have reigned supreme at the J/70 Worlds, with skippers from the United States winning the open title on four occasions, and a largely USA crew winning with Mexican skipper Julian Neckelmann in 2015. World Champion helms: Tim Healy (2014), Joel Ronning (2016), and Peter Duncan (2017), were all competing in Tor Bay.
Joel Ronning’s Catapult was runner-up in the Open Class at the Darwin Escapes 2019 J/70 World Championships.
Italian teams have totally dominated the European Championship winning every year since 2014. Reigning J/70 European Champion, Claudia Rossi, and past European Champions; Alberto Rossi, Carlo Alberini, all from Italy, were all competing in Tor Bay.
Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible was fourth in the Open Class at the Darwin Escapes 2019 J/70 World Championships.
Spanish teams racing in Tor Bay included the 2018 J/70 Worlds Corinthian Champion, Luis Bugallo’s Mar Natura. Pichu Torcida’s Noticia was runner up for the Darwin Escapes 2019 J/70 World Championship Open Class. Noticia has a world class crew, with eight J/80 World Championship wins between them.
Pichu Torcida’s Noticia was third in the Open Class at the Darwin Escapes 2019 J/70 World Championships.
World Class Fleet
The 2020 J/70 World Championships is scheduled for July 27 – August 02, hosted by the California Yacht Club, Marina Del Rey, California, USA.