74 crews are expected in Les Sables d’Olonne on France’s Atlantic coast from 7 to 14 July for the World J/80 Championships, a major gathering of one-designs. 10 nations will be vying for supremacy on the start lines of the Vendée-based event. Place your bets on the teams most likely to win the war of the Worlds.
Among the French contingent, which is naturally the most widely represented at these Worlds, the group led by Finistère-based Simon Moriceau, logically ranks among the favourites for the title, which would be a first for France on the J/80 circuit.
Indeed, the reigning French champions have enjoyed a thundering start to their season, winning all the French J/80 Cup competitions they’ve participated in so far. With a certain Pierre-Loïc Berthet calling tactics and a crew that knows one another inside out, Simon Moriceau, aboard “Armen Habitat”, has taken no chances in his crew’s bid to shine on a race zone so cherished by the sailors competing in the Vendée Globe.
At least three other French crews are sure to be a force to be reckoned with too, some of whom may pull something special out of the bag within the context of a major competition, like the teams skippered by Sylvain Pellissier, Patrick Bot and Luc Nadal. This trio is very familiar with the boat built by the local J Composites yard and often demonstrates genuine consistency at the European and World Championships.
Patrick Bot from the Naval College, a J/80 stalwart, has made a stunning comeback at the front of the fleet since the season kicked off. Sylvain Pellissier and his crew have snatched victory in a large number of Spi Ouest France events and the science of the Morbihan-based master sailmaker has often helped the crew gain a lot of ground.
Luc Nadal, world number two in the series in Marseille, is always well placed. Finally, Maxime Rousseaux and his associates from Saint Cast might well post a surprise performance as part of this mix.
Alongside the sailors competing on home waters, several Spanish teams are in contention for the title among the overseas J/80 sailors. In fact, they’ve won almost all the world titles in the discipline. The reigning champion, Tabares Rayco and his team are preparing for a fifth international title. They sail nearly every weekend in Lanzarote. Javier Chacartegui, fifth in the 2017 Worlds, is also unquestionably a big contender. From Saturday and Sunday, the competitors are expected in Les Sables d’Olonne for the traditional launches and scrutineering of the boats. The first warning signal will be on Monday at 11:00am local time.
The low-down from Ludovic Gilet, President of the French J/80 Class: “Tabares Rayco has already won the J/80 Worlds four times. He narrowly missed the top step of the podium in Marseille. As such, they’re logically the firm favourites. Simon Moriceau and his crew are in great shape among the French contingent and we have a solid delegation, which has the advantage of competing on home waters. These Worlds will be particularly full-on. The races can be followed live using the Geo Racing tracker, with lots of news on the social networks and on our websites. We’re greatly looking forward to the parade on Monday, which will be a highlight of the event. The SNSablais and the French J/80 Class have pulled out all the stops to ensure it’s a top-flight competition on the water as well as offering a top quality race village for the Worlds for spectators and racers alike, which will be located opposite the Vendée Globe pontoon where the boats will come and tie up alongside.”
by Agence TB Press