NILFISK claims J/80 World Championship title
A jittery J/80 fleet assembled at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM Regatta HQ in Dartmouth on Friday morning, in nervous anticipation of the two final races of the eleven race series scheduled for the day. The Regatta HQ had been rife with discussion among the crews the night before as to the likelihood of high winds stopping play on the final race day.
Having appraised all of the weather data available the J/80 fleet were held ashore on Friday morning until the Race Management Team were able to survey and assess conditions on the race area in Start Bay for themselves. At 09.30 Principal Race Officer Mike Pearson called back to the Race HQ with the news that a constant wind speed of 33 knots coupled with swells in excess of 4 metres across the race area had necessitated the decision to abandon racing for the day and for the overall Championship Series. An excited round of applause rang around the Race HQ as the assembled fleet congratulated the new J/80 World Champions: Jose Maria van der Ploeg, the 1992 Finn Gold medallist and his crew on board NILFISK: Lluis Mas, Juan Merayo, Hugo Ramon and twelve year old Jose ‘Junior’ van der Ploeg.
The nine races sailed at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM each delivered a different winner: a fact that is testament to the level of competition on the race-track within the International J/80 Class. Van der Ploeg’s team on NILFISK never conceded a single result outside of the top 14 boats during the course of the regatta but nor did he finish a race within the top two. Skilled consistency in crew work, boat handling, tactics and intelligent regatta strategy delivered a World Championship win for NILFISK with a four point lead over the second placed boat, Rayco Tabares’ Hotel Princesa Yaiza and six points over third place Carlos Martinez’ Mapfre.
All 76 J/80s were de-rigged and lifted back on to their road trailers on Friday afternoon along Dartmouth’s North Embankment so that 350 competitors could rush home to spruce themselves up in advance of the Closing Ceremony and Prizegiving Dinner scheduled for Friday evening. The venue for the closing ceremony (by virtue of the fact that the Britannia Yacht Club shared the hosting of the World Championship with the Royal Dart Yacht Club) was Britannia Royal Naval College.
Competitors enjoyed dinner, wine and a fair few tots of SLAMbuca on Friday night in the stunning surroundings of The Senior Gun Room and The Ward Room at the college before moving on to the official Prizegiving Ceremony which was held on The Quarterdeck. Prizes were presented to the top ten boats at the MIQ Logistics 2012 World Championship Powered by SLAM. Several British J/80 teams featured in the role-call: Kevin Sproul’s J.A.T finished in fourth, Robert Larke’s J2X took sixth place, Simon Ling’s RAF benevolent Fund Team Spitfire finished ninth overall and Simon Johnson and Ruairidh Scott’s Joyeuse finished tenth overall.
The largest piece of silverware presented on the night war Rennie and Ruth Miller’s J/80 One-Design Cup which went to Sproul and his team from J.A.T who were the best performing British team at the Worlds.
Special prizes from Allspars of Plymouth were awarded the best performing furthest travelled boat, which went to Andrew Moore’s Tigrina from Hong Kong and to stalwart supporter of the J/80 UK Class, Scott Cole and his team on Purple Haze.
At the Prizegiving Commodore Simon Williams of Britannia Royal Naval College explained how much the college had enjoyed being involved with the World Championship and without need to recourse to spoken word his presence at the Ceremony meant that all competitors were duly reminded what an honour and privilege it was to take part in such an auspicious event in such dramatic and historic surroundings.
Paul Heys of Key Yachting thanked Britannia Royal Naval College, Mike Moody and his team at the Royal Dart Yacht Club, the PRO Mike Pearson, the massive team of volunteer helpers and all of the sponsors of the event: Principal Sponsors MIQ Logistics and SLAM. Supporting Sponsors Baltic Wharf, Brittany Ferries, Coast Graphics and Dart Harbour and Prize Sponsors Allspars, Café Alf Resco, Chandlery.co.uk, Lifedge by Scanstrut, Paul Barclay, Rowbury Gallery and the Royal Castle Hotel.
The 2013 J/80 World Championship will take place in Marseilles, France over 7-13 July next year.