Spain hold top three spots
While many expected the Spanish teams to sail well and put on a good show at the Newport J/80 Worlds, it's doubtful many expected them to be dominating in their second day of sailing in the strong, shifty northwesterly winds off Newport. After five races, the top three teams are all Spanish J/80 Champions of one form or another, with Carlos Martinez on Peralega Golf winning, putting his mark on the fleet with a 1-2 today for a total of 16 points. Jose Maria 'Pichu' Torcida lies second six points back after a 5-7. And, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, Rayco Tabares Alvarez on Hotel Princesa Canarias sailed to the second best record with a 2-3 for a total of 28 points. To illustrate how tight the competition is so far, four different boats in five races have won a race, the only double-winner being the American team of Quantum Racing sailed by Scott Young and Terry Flynn from Austin, TX.
The day started out slowly. At 0830 hours, in the middle of a torrential downpour, the prospects were dim for any kind of reasonable racing. Consulting with his brain trust of Brad Read of SailNewport and others, Tom Duggan elected to postpone until 1000 hours. After two more on-shore postponements, the Low that was developing SE off Cape Cod started to move, enabling the PRO and the RC team to mobilize the troops and issue a "race on" at the 1200 hours announcement. Sure enough, the predicted WNW breeze behind the front started to pipe-in at 7-12 knots. By the time the fleet got to the race course, a combination of down pours, squalls, fog, mist, and locusts (just kidding) seemed to bedevil both the fleet and the PRO/ RC. After several tries, the fourth race started around 2 pm with some degree of clearing.
It proved a great race. In fact, with the wind settling in around 275 to 280 the fleet was treated to a classic WNW wind with large shifts and large channels of breeze in the 10-20 knots range. Carlos Martinez's team sailed a strong race, coming back from a rounding of around 10th at the first windward mark to win the race. Sailing equally as well was Rayco Tabares Alvarez's team rounding in about the same position at the first weather mark, but battled back to get a second. John Storck on Rumor got third. Fourth was Henry Brauer and Will Welles on Rascal, just clipping Pichu Torcida on ECC Viviendas in fifth in an all-out planing finish!
The fifth race was an abject lesson in trying to do the right thing for the fleet at the right time. PRO Tom Duggan hung in there despite all kinds of protestations from the sailors. The wind was shifting dramatically at the starts, first favoring the port end, then starboard end, then port end, forcing general recalls and an eventual postponement to reset. Undaunted, Tom got the last race off late in the day, we believe around 4pm or so. It was a gorgeous race, held in the twilight of a front passing by with a shelf of clouds forming a clear edge to blue skies in the distant west, all lit by impending sunset at 6:15 pm. No one was disappointed. It was a fun fast race, cut short to three legs so everyone could get home by nightfall. Taking the gun was Quantum Racing, Scott Young and Terry Flynn simply sailing a very strong race against perhaps the tightest fleet yet in the top ten. Second was Carlos Martinez sailing up Quantum's
exhaust-pipe very, very fast. Third was Rayco while rounding out the top five were Jay Lutz/Gary Kamins on Fired Up finishing fourth and Christer Faith-Ell on Hasse from Sweden. The finish for the top ten at sunset was quite spectacular, with the carbon and Kevlar sails blazing in a reddish-orange glow and seemingly a dozen boats all finishing about the same time behind the top three!
The stage is now set for the three Spanish teams to duel it out for world supremacy in the J/80 class. They've all been there before, it's only a question now of who's going to be the spoiler between Quantum Racing, Fired up, John Storck's Rumor, or Glenn Darden's Le Tigre.
Full results here
More pics from Paul Todd of www.outsideimages.com. Click on images to enlarge them