Who wouldn’t want a day off in Southern California, with the warm sunshine glinting off the blue Pacific? The hundreds of racers competing in the 2021 J/70 World Championship Regatta at California Yacht Club, that’s who!
Sixty-one teams from 11 nations scurried onto the racecourse today, hopeful to make their mark in the five-day competition here. But Mother Nature had other plans. Following an hour-long postponement due to lack of wind, racing commenced at 1:45PM, only to trigger a General Recall. Then a shift in course and start line; followed by another General Recall. And then another postponement.
It was a frustrating day for sailors and organizers alike, who have waited two years for this premier yachting event, as racing was finally abandoned mid-afternoon.
That was no relief for Brian Keane on Savasana and Bruce Golison on Midlife Crisis who finished the day where they started: in a tie for first, eager to shake up the leaderboard.
It’s a battle they’re all too familiar with. Midlife Crisis won the J/70 Pre-World Championship less than two weeks ago, besting Savasana by three points.
“We were third in Cal Cup and second in the Pre-Worlds, so we’re looking at three-two-one!” Keane said, hopeful for a build-up to a win in the Worlds. “We want it this year!
“We’ve got a good team and just have to avoid the big mistakes with the light conditions we’re having this week,” Keane added. “Everybody’s going to have some diggers, so we’ve got to be patient and avoid the big mistakes.”
“The Pre-Worlds was just another regatta and part of the plan to get us where we are trying to go,” noted Golison, laser-focused on the Worlds. “It was fun to win, but that is now in the past. Those conditions were very different,” he conceded, “but every opportunity to be sailing our boat makes us better, both speed-wise and understanding the Marina Del Rey conditions.”
“It’s Marina del Rey, anything can happen,” added Allie Blecher, tactician on Rich Festa’s Groundhog Day. “It’s a little light but nothing out of the ordinary. Here we spend quite a bit of time sitting and waiting, and that’s what catches people off guard. You lose that focus, and we’ve spent a lot of time working on that.”
Groundhog Day finished Wednesday in the top ten with a third-place finish in Race Two. “We’re the only fully Cal Yacht Club boat in this regatta,” Blecher announced. “We’re so happy and proud to be hosting the Worlds here. It’s fantastic, after an extra year of waiting, and we feel very lucky and love the vibe. All the teams from different places and countries show up and it’s no longer sleepy California Yacht Club – it’s an exciting whirlwind of an event.”
Racing will continue through Sunday August 15, beginning each day at 12:30PM. With conditions expected to improve on Friday, officials hope to complete the 10-race series – as the series NOR allows up to three races a day.
Preliminary Results: (top ten of 61, 2 races)
1. Brian Keane/ Ron Weed/ Bill Hardesty/ Alec Anderson, USA – 6 -1; 7pts
2. Bruce Golison/ Steve Hunt/ Erik Shampain/ Jeff Reynolds, USA – 3 -4; 7pts
3. Andres Ducasse Soruco/ Ignacio Ducasse Soruco/ Francisco Ducasse Soruco/ Rodrigo Ducasse Soruco/ Andres Ducasse Jr, CHI – 4 -9; 13pts
4. Peter Duncan/ Willem van Waay/ Morgan Trubovich/ Victor Diaz de Leon, USA – 5 -11; 16pts
5. Laura Grondin/ Taylor Canfield/ Michael Buckley/ Scott Ewing, USA – 2 -15; 17pts
6. Travis Odenbach/ Ian Coleman/ Marty Kullman/ Geoff Becker, USA – 13 -5; 18pts
7. James Prendergast/ Christian Prendergast/ Hector Gusman/ Mac Agnese, USA – 8 -13; 21pts
8. Rich Festa/ Tony Festa/ Allie Blecher/ Mary Stuyvesant, USA – 19 -3; 22pts
9. Mallory & Andrew Loe/ Giancarlo Nucci/ Cardwell Potts, USA – 16 -7; 23pts
10. Scott Spurlin/ Evan Aras/ Reed Baldridge/ Austin Powers, USA – 9 -18; 27pts
For complete information and daily results, please visit 2021j70worlds.com.
by Betsy Crowfoot