France takes J/80 Worlds

Becci Owen reports on the 46 boat World Championships of one of the newest ISAF one design classes

Wednesday June 26th 2002, Author: Becci Owen, Location: United Kingdom

Tendrisse , the eventual winner

46 yachts from nine different countries met in La Rochelle, France, fro 16 June to compete in the second J/80 World Championships since the Class was granted ISAF recognition. The series consisted of 10 races on windward leeward courses of which nine would count to complete the series.

Day 1 saw three races sailed in variable and shifty breeze from 2 to 12 knots. The first race of the regatta was won convincingly by Peter Hecht of Germany in Needles and Pins. After a general recall at the start of Race 2, American Kerry Klingler, the 2001 J/80 World Champion, sailing USA 352 led from the first leeward mark and went on to win the race from Hecht.

Two general recalls at the start of the third race lead the race committee to fly the Z flag. A 40 degree wind shift on the left hand side of the course left the French crew of Stars 'N' Bars YCM, helmed by Antoine Frickey, ideally placed to take the bullet from British boat Jemini helmed by Marie-Claude Heys who was third at the Worlds last year.

The first race on Day 2 was shortened due to light winds and American skipper Jay Lutz sailing Hammertime/Synergy found himself the right side of a big shift, with Swede Stefan Kyleback's Ernst & Young second and Britain's Dave Lenz in Quikeye third. With the breeze building all the time Race 5 of the series was won by the Swedish team of Grodan Boll helmed by Magnus Molin with Kerry Klingler in second place. The final race of the day again saw Molin out for first, Klingler having to satisfy himself with another second.

Magnus Molin started Day 3 by taking first place from Peter Hecht but lost this point advantage when the International Jury decided to give a controversial four point penalty to 26 boats in the fleet for a bowsprit offence.By the time Race 8 was due to start the breeze had filled in to a steady 10 knots and Jay Lutz led the entire race finishing first with Stefan Kylebackin second for Sweden. Three general recalls prior to the start of Race 9 was perhaps and indication of a slightly jittery fleet and there were a number of positional changes before Antoine Frickey emerged as winner with Peter Hecht hot on his transom, taking second.

Going in to the final race of the series, and taking the discard in to account, the French boat Tendrisse helmed by Pascal Abignoli was the regatta leader with 51 points, having never finished a race outside the top ten. Peter Hechts' Needles and Pins for Germany were in second place with 59 points and Kerry Klinglers' USA 352 held third with 61 points.

The start of the final race was delayed for an hour and a half whilst the Committee waited for the breeze to fill in. When the breeze did eventually come, the right hand side of the course was favoured by the Americans and the British team of Marie-Claude Heys.Pascal Abignoli in Tendrisse and Peter Hecht in Needles and Pins went left and lost out to the British boat which was first to the windward mark, followed by Kerry Klinglers' USA 352.

Whilst Marie-Claude Heys and team led the final race from start to finish, the French team in Tendrisse worked hard to make up for a poor first beat and by the leeward mark had clawed their way back to fourth position. After more jockeying for position between the first five boats, Marie-Claude Heys took line honours in Jemini with Kerry Klinglers' USA 352 in second and Pascal Abignolis' Tendrisse in third. For the French team this was enough to secure the World Championship title having sailed skillfully and consistently throughout an extremely exciting and competitive regatta.

See page two for results...

The winning team

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