Defending World Champion Rayco Tabares Wins!(La Coruna, Spain- Jul 12)- So, what's wrong with this picture. The Spanish J/80 Armada rules, right? Three J/80 World Champions show up for the Spanish J/80 National Championships and ONE of them has to win. Too bad they couldn't all win? After all, three extraordinary sailors, three amazing teams, something had to give. After the smoke cleared on the battlefield and fog settled in it was..... Rayco, triumphant again! For one of the few fleets on the planet Earth where the local fleet racing is as good as World Championships (e.g. Newport J/24 Fleet, Newport Shields fleet, San Francisco J/105 fleet, Annapolis J/22 fleet, to name a few) the Spanish sure have an extraordinary tour'de'force. The Spanish Armada reborn again, except this time, with gunships and "ships of the main" much better armed to the teeth with great sailors who can equally sail a J/80 to a World Championship as commandeer an IMOCA 60 and crush the competition. Perhaps the French have taken notice and are stepping up their J/80 programs? The British sure have, starting them young in RYA programs with "old guard" support..some nice guy called Ben seems to do OK. America, of course, is still learning from the R.O.W. (e.g. row, row, row your boat).
Rayco Tabares and his team from Islas Canarias sailed their J/80 BIGBOY NAUTICA, representing both the Real Club Náutico de La Coruña - Real Club Náutico de Arrecife, to the overall win of the fourth Spanish National Championship. It was not an easy task to overcome many compatriots who were equally up to the task of taking the overall crown. Second went to TURISMO DE ALGARVE, sailed by yet another champion, Gonzalo Araujo of Vigo and the Portuguese Hugo Rocha, who sailed for the Yacht Club de Marina Arenys. Finishing out the podium was guess who(?), but none other than ECC VIVIENDAS sailed by Pichu Torcida representing the Real Club Marítimo de Santander.
How important is the sport of sailing to Spain? Well, "futbol" (aka American soccer) is about equal. The President of the Royal Spanish Sailing Federation, Gerardo Pombo, was present to award to Rayco Tabares as one of their "Champions of Spain 2010". At the awards ceremony, also attending was Pumariega Suárez-Germain, President of The Yacht magazine; the Harbour Master of La Coruna, Gustavo Ortega; the President of the Galician Federation of Vela, Jose Angel Rodriguez; CEO of EuroPublicis (a famous PR/marketing firm), Maximino Yanez; and the Royal Yacht Club Commodore, Jorge Etcheverría. No wonder Spain is beginning to dominate certain parts of the sailing world. Throw in a few extraordinary photo/journalists to document the proceedings like Jesus Renedo and it will hard to stem the inexorable tide of Spanish success washing across oceans around the world.
Other than all the platitudes, what happened on the water and how in the heck did Rayco overcome such a talented fleet yet again?? Few in other ISAF one-design keelboat classes of recent memory (J/24, J/80, J/22, Melges 24, Etchells 22, Star, etc) have achieved so much in so little time against such indisputable talent. In short, here's a synopsis of the regatta reports:
Day One- with three world champions of the J/80 class (2007, 2008, 2009) having confirmed their presence in the city of La Coruna, everyone knew the gauntlet laid down was to determine the "Intergalactic Champion", not just the Spanish Champion. In the first two Spanish Champions, Ignacio Camino and Pichu Torcida sailing NEXTEL ENGINEERING and ECC VIVIENDAS, respectively, it was going to be tough fight to start with. With Rayco Tabares entering the fray, who won last year in the 2009 Santander J/80 Worlds with PRINCESS YAIZA, the competition spun into the stratosphere and his new sponsor BIGBOY NAUTICA was hopeful they would be successful. Tabares didn't disappoint his friends, supporters and followers, by winning the first race and getting a third in the 2nd race. By the end of the day, Tabares's BIGBOY NAUTICA was in first with four points, followed by two boats with seven points each, Pablo Chavert's MARINA CORUNA and Gonzalo Araujo's TURISMO DE ALGARVE.
Day Two- with nearly identical weather to the first day of racing, the fleet waited until the dense fog blew away. By 1500 hours (late in the day) the J/80 teams were sent out to sea. With the wind out of the North at seven knots, it was clear the left side of the course was correct for most teams. Of the top teams, only Araujo's team on TURISMO DE ALGARVE managed a top three finish, getting a second in the first race. However, the tables turned for race two of the day, with the leaders coming to the front of the fleet. Torcidas' ECC VIVIENDAS won with Tabares' BIGBOY NAUTICA in second and Camino's NEXTEL ENGINEERING in third.
And, that was the end of racing. For a sticky fog settled in for Sunday's racing and would not lift to allow the high calibre teams to race at least one more set of races to determine the Spanish Intergalactic Champions. So it was, Tabares won with BIGBOY NAUTICA, followed by Araujo's TURISMO DE ALGARVE and third was Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS. Fourth was Camino's NEXTEL ENGINEERING and fifth was Chavert Paul's MARINA CORUNA. For more J/80 Spanish Championship sailing information. Sailing Photo credits- Jesus Renedo.