2018 J/70 European Championships

J/70 UK Class Report
12-16 June, 2018

Organised by the Real Club Nautico de Vigo, in association with the J/70 International Class, and the J/70 Spanish Class.

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Held in the stunning surroundings of Ria de Vigo, 69 teams from 17 different countries competed in the 2018 J/70 European Championships, including 11 teams from the J/70 UK Class, the largest number by country after the host nation Spain. The number of world class sailors competing was significant; Olympic medallists, world champions. America’s Cup, and Volvo Ocean Race sailors were racing in numbers. 44 teams were in the Open Class, and 25 in the Corinthian Class.

Reigning J/70 World Champion, Peter Duncan’s Relative Obscurity (USA) led the series until the final race. Over the last two days of the competition Relative Obscurity’s results faltered. Alberto Rossi’s Enfant Terrible ITA) recovered from a Black Flag disqualification in Race 8 to post top ten results in the last five races, winning the last race, just ahead of Relative Obscurity to win by a single point.

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The Corinthian Class was won by Luis Bugallo’s Marnatura (ESP) representing the host club, Real Club Nautico de Vigo. Bugallo’s team, bar one, all come from the city, and the talented driver is only 25 years old. Marnatura was also third overall out of 69 teams. Paolo Tomsic’s Società Nautica Gragnano (ITA) was second in the Corinthian Class, and Luis Perez representing the Real Club Nautico de Vigo was third.

The full compliment of 13 races were held over 5 days of action. Conditions were absolutely fantastic with a northerly gradient breeze ranging from 12 to over 20 knots and a moderate sea state providing surf action in brilliant sunshine. A cross tide and an oscillating breeze added to the tactical mix. However the teams that reaped the best reward maximized boat speed and handling, especially at starts and mark roundings.

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Those team that got away to a good start, normally to the right hand favourite side, made the first top mark in clear air, whilst the huge pack of J/70s behind experienced a disorderly traffic jam, akin to Piccadilly Circus with the traffic lights out! The bottom mark was just as busy, with the pack of boats chasing the leaders resembling the charge of the light brigade! Several British teams commented that on many occasions aggressive tactics were employed by competitors.

Top British team in the Open Class was Clive Bush’s Darcey, with 49er sailor John Pink calling tactics. Darcey was the only British team to score a race podium, coming 2nd in Race 10, and finished 19th overall.

“We have been trying a few different set ups to increase our pace and it all seemed to come together in that race. We got a nice little shift up the middle of the beat and rounded top five, and we had a decent bit of pace downwind as well. This fleet is really competitive with lots of good sailors from many countries. I think in general the British teams are lacking a bit of pace against these guys, but we are catching up, and the way to do that is by competing at more events and developing our sails a little bit better.” John Pink.

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Simon Ling’s Team Spitfire was fifth in the Corinthian Class. “We have only had a few days racing together prior to the championships, and we came here to try out some new ideas, which we have seen adopted by other teams. So this was very much a learning process for us, we were looking to build our performance. We came here to learn and we certainly achieved that.”

Past J/80 World Champion Ruairidh Scott was racing with Martin Dent’s Jelvis. “The first beat at the championship was quite short, and it has been tricky for most of the British teams to get into the top ten at the top mark. As expected the level in this fleet is good here, we can match the top teams for speed. It is just the finer points that make the difference, especially the start and that first cross. If you can get around the top mark in clear air when everyone behind you is in a full monty, you can put together some consistent and good results.”

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The Real Club Nautico de Vigo were amazing hosts for the 2018 J/70 European Championships, providing excellent shoreside facilities including a regatta village with live music creating a wonderful atmosphere after racing. Spanish J/70 Class President, Willy Alonso and all of the regatta team gave all of the competitors a very warm welcome.

Full J/70 2018 European Championship Results

The J/70 UK Class will be back in action for the Royal Southern YC June Regatta 23-24 June.

The next event which is part of the J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series will be the most important event of the UK season. The J/70 UK National Championships, a compulsory event for the J/70 UK Class Grand Slam Series, will be hosted by the Royal Southern YC, 20-22 July.

All photos: © Maria Munia / 2018 J/70 European Championships