The teams racing in the J/80 Worlds kicked off their competition today in Les Sables d’Olonne in France’s Vendée region. The 73 competing crews, under the leadership of the Race Committee managed by Corinne Aubert, contested three close-contact races around the cans in a particularly fluky NE’ly breeze of around five to 10 knots in glorious sunshine.
This evening, the Spanish crew “Ibo.es”, fifth at the 2017 Worlds, headed by Javier Chacartegui, is leading the Championship after posting a series of results of clockwork regularity, namely three third places. In second place overall tonight, and prior to a further sprint tomorrow at 11:00hrs, another Iberian boat, “Garatu” has taken up position, whilst the third step of the provisional podium has gone to “Armen Habitat” skippered by the Finistère sailor Simon Moriceau.
Javier Chacartegui, Ibo.es: “a consistent day”
“We’re satisfied. Obviously, it’s been a great day as we’ve taken the lead in the Worlds. We posted consistent performances in today’s three races by ensuring we were always well placed for some sound tactical moves. Things have kicked off in the best possible way for us, but there’s still a long way to go until Friday.”
Rémi Retho, “Eiffage Génie Civil Marine”, 19th: “neither excellent nor poor”
“It was a tough first day of sailing as the wind was very fluky. There was never anything to win, but there was a great deal to lose. Ultimately, we were neither excellent nor poor. We opted for minor gains by playing with the gusts.”
Rémy Hurdiel, “Dunkerque Voile – White Sails”, 21st: “we racked our brains”
“During Race 1, we set sail without any speed. As such, the results weren’t what we were expecting. During Race 2, we got off to a good start, but our rig was clearly too highly tensioned, because when we slackened it in the last race, we finished with a sound eighth place, which is our goal at these Worlds.”
Arthur Zucconi, 11 years of age, “Numéro J”, 44th
“I adored going out on the wire; I really love that. The J/80 really is a fun boat. I even did a spot of helming!”
The Naval College all present and correct as usual
The French Navy is a loyal presence in the French J/80 class. It boasts 40 one-designs built by J Composites and is split between Brest, Cherbourg and Toulon. Several crews from the organiser of the famous Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale are competing at the series’ Worlds including “Ecole navale CG29” helmed by Patrick Bot, an 8-metre specialist. Patrick, a former Mini sailor, and his crew, have sailed a blinder to kick off the season and are currently lying in second place in the provisional overall ranking for the French J/80 Cup behind Simon Moriceau and his group of star players.
“The J/80 is the most popular keelboat in France. The French Navy fairly logically decided long ago to trust in this particular craft,” explains Patrick Bot. “We get around as regularly as possible on the race circuit, which includes the World Championships”, adds captain Fabrice Morin, one of Patrick’s crew. “We sail as a foursome aboard our J/80 as we’re fairly heavy and the measurement means we’re limited to 350kg. We work as a well-oiled group and we’re gunning for the top 5 at this Vendée-based championship”. Patrick and his group have had a tough start to the competition.
by Agence TB Press