75 J/80s heading for Dartmouth
Seventy five boats and 350 racing sailors from nine nations will begin to arrive in Dartmouth next week to compete at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM.
Organised by the Royal Dart Yacht Club and the senior hosting club is the Britannia Yacht Club, the World Championship opens on Friday 8 June with a practice race on Monday 11th in Start Bay, just outside Dartmouth Harbour. Racing for the World Championship title proper starts on Tuesday and three races are scheduled each day until Friday 15 June when the final two races of the series will be sailed.
The new MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Champion will be crowned at the Closing Ceremony and Prizegiving at Britannia Royal Naval College on Friday evening.
The title sponsor of the World Championship, MIQ Logistics, has invested heavily in the regatta, as has the clothing company Slam. MIQ Logistics’ Director James Clarke said: "We are enormously excited about our partnership with the J/80 UK Class and with Key Yachting. The International J/80 fleet features some of the most highly skilled sailors, Olympians, National and World Champions from numerous racing classes all around the world. We understand the huge responsibility that comes with our investment, but the opportunity to be involved with the J/80 Class and the World Championship was one that we could not ignore: it demonstrates and cements our commitment to the marine sector. We are a trusted partner to a number of professional and amateur racing teams and serve a wide range of global yacht brokers and individuals. Our dedicated marine division has extensive global coverage. The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by Slam will be an awesome event and we are thrilled that MIQ’s support will help to set it apart from other regattas."
To have so many International teams travelling to this island nation to take part in the championship is an amazing feat in itself and it is a credit to MIQ Logistics, to Slam and to all of the other companies and individuals who have invested time, finance or both in order to bring the World Championship to Dartmouth. The J/80 World Championship fleet will be 40% bigger in Dartmouth than when the World Championship last came to the UK back in 2005. The prestige of the Britannia Yacht Club and the proven ability of the Royal Dart Yacht Club to deliver top flight racing has ensured that the event has major International appeal and the enthusiasm, generosity of more than sixty volunteers, almost all of whom are Royal Dart Yacht Club members, is also intrinsically linked to the success of the event.
Dartmouth also offers the potential to deliver extremely challenging and exciting conditions for those racing at the event. Couple this with the splendour of the coastline and the warmth and support of Dartmouth residents and it is clear to see why the entry number is so high. The result is that some of the best sailors on the International racing circuit along with World Champions both past and present are coming to Dartmouth to compete. Jay Lutz of the USA and Ignacio Camino Rodrigues of Spain, the current J/80 World Champion will both be hoping that Dartmouth affords them a second opportunity to take the top spot on the podium this year.
Ruairidh Scott of North Sails won the World Championship for the UK when the event was last here in 2005. Scott returns to the J/80 fleet for the 2012 World Championship and will be racing with Simon Johnson in their boat Joyeuse. He said: "It’s good to be back in the J/80 fleet. Over the last few years I’ve been closely involved with the development of the class through work but I have not actually managed to fit in much J/80 racing myself. Simon and I have my Spanish colleague Gustavo Martinez as our tactician and he was second at the J/80 Worlds a few years ago so we are hoping to put together a strong campaign in Dartmouth."
Kevin Sproul of Ultimate Sails helmed the top British J/80 at Spi Ouest Regatta in France earlier this year. The canny Scotsman sounded confident, but cautious about his prospects for 2012. "The French and Spanish are very strong at the moment. They’re spending a lot of time on the water and they will not be easy to beat but my crew are absolutely ready."
Sproul and his team won the UK National Championship which was raced in Dartmouth in 2011 and so he knows the waters well. Having just come back from winning a major International regatta in a forty foot race-boat in Barcelona last week it is clear that Sproul is at the top of his game just now.
Nick Haigh (a familiar name in UK sailing circles with vast experience ranging from Lark dinghies to his most recent DK46) will be sailing his new J/80 with wife Annie and the current SB3 World Champion Geoff Carveth. Nick explained: "Geoff has campaigned J/80s before and when he called me to suggest putting a team together, I could not resist. Annie and I live in South Devon and The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by Slam will be raced in our home waters. We are fully revved up and ready to go with our new boat, Slightly Steamy." For Carveth, of course, the J/80 World Championship represents unfinished business…
Spain's Rayco Tabares, who won the J/80 Worlds in 2009, explained: "I started to sail J/80s in 2006 and in 2009 we won the World Championship in our country, at Santander. We thought then that it was a difficult year because there were such lot of boats with such good sailors but the crews competing this year are even stronger! I love the J/80 class: it's amazing for us to be competing against so many other teams, at regattas all over the world. I'm so happy to get the chance to race in Dartmouth this year and we hope have a great racing with good winds."
The Regatta HQ for the MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM will be open to the public for the duration of the regatta and those who would like to watch the racing in Start Bay will be able to do so from the beaches around Dartmouth.