Sunday, September 23, 2012
Brazilians Dominating, Americans In Catch-up Mode
(Rochester, NY)- Ninety-six teams from 12 countries have converged on Rochester, New York for the 2012 J/24 World Championship. Represented at the championship are Argentina, Barbados, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Peru and the United States. Racing started on Monday, September 17 and continues through Friday, September 21. Even after 35+ years, the J/24 is STILL proving it's one of the world's MOST competitive classes to race in-- top teams read like a "who's who" of top one-design sailors from around the world.
After the first day of sailing, Brazilian Mauricio Santa Cruz sailed BRUSCHETTA to the top of the leader board. With the entire fleet competing together, Bruschetta scored a 2-6 on a day when Lake Ontario started at 4-6 knots and got as high as 10 knots during Race 2 before subsiding. The conditions then turned too unstable for the Race Committee to complete a third race. To give you a reference point on how competitive the regatta is to date, past Moth World Champion and Key West Melges 24 Champion Bora Gulari is tactician on-board Kevin O'Brien's FUGUE STATE from Detroit and are lying 7th after the first day. Past NA Champion 3 BIG DOGS sailed by Pat Toole from Santa Barbara is in 10th. Past World Champion helm/tactician Tim Healy on John Mollicone's 11th HOUR RACING are in 10th and 2nd team in the 2011 Worlds in Buenos Aires, Argentina is Luis Olcese's team on SCARAMOUSH.
Mauricio on BRUSCHETTA held his spot on the top of the leader board on day 2, scoring a 9 and a 1 on Tuesday for a total of 18 points after two days racing. Luis Olcese on SCARAMOUSH from Peru stayed in second overall with 41 points, and Frithjof Schade on JJone from Germany had 43 points in third place. In the day's first race, Mike Marshall on TBD claimed the top spot, followed by Tony Parker on Bangor Packet and Paul Scalisi on Rabit Cson Duck Cson. In Race 2 Mauricio Santa Cruz on Bruschetta of Brazil crossed the finish line first. Rossi Milev on Clear Air was second and Matias Seguel on Guru trailed him. Conditions on Lake Ontario started at 4-6 knots and settled in at 10 to 12 for race two and as high as 18 to 20 knots for a short time in a squall at the end of Race 2.
After the third day, Mauricio's Brazilian team have taken dominant control of the 96-boat fleet. Team Bruschetta has held the lead on each day of the event so far, and has now opened up a 41-point advantage with just three races to go. A throw-out took effect on Wednesday, and Santa Cruz dropped a 13, leaving him with all top 10 finishes in the seven races thus far. Following him in the standings to date are American Mike Ingham who shot into second place, and a tie for third between Frithjof Schade's JJone (Germany) and Rossi Milev's Clear Air (Canada) with 67 points each. In the day's first race, Ingham took top honors on 11th Hour Racing, with Nicolas Cubria's Elvis of Argentina second and Pat Toole's 3 Big Dogs of the USA in third. Race 2 saw another American in first- Will Welles's COUGAR. Matias Seguel's GURU of Chile and Ignazio Bonanno's LA SUPERBA of Italy trailed Welles. In the third race of the day, Mauricio Santa Cruz ended the day on a positive note taking another 1st, as did Americans' Ingham in second and Darby Smith in third. Winds on Lake Ontario started at 12-14 knots, then built to 18 for most of Race 1, decreased slightly in Race 2, then dropped to 5-7 knots in the final race. Swells lingered from the previous night's storm throughout the day.
Also sailing amongst the crowd of J/24 sailors are a team from Newport's Fleet #50 that are comprised of a bunch of characters from SAILING WORLD Magazine. Here's their latest report to date on what it's like to sail this year's J/24 Worlds from SW's Editor's perspective (Dave Reed) from the "front of the bus":
"OK, we got schooled, again! Imagine trying to pick your lanes through this mess of a 96-boat fleet. Race 1 winner Saramouche had a terrible start, tacked at the race committee boat, dug hard into the bottom right corner, tacked once and led all the way around.
Sailing World editor Stuart Streuli and I are at the 2012 J/24 Worlds in Rochester this week, which started today (Monday) with two incredibly tough and shifty races. There were 96 boats on the racecourse, so it was nearly impossible to keep track of who was winning, who was losing, and who was gaining on one beat or the next, and what was really working at any given moment. Every time I looked across the racecourse, bows were pointed every which way.
Trust me, I was perfectly happy with my job on the bow. Stu, however, had the hot seat calling tactics, as he normally does on Ian Scott's Crack of Noon, and he had one hell of day trying to make sense of which shifts would come and when. I have habit of chirping in his ear (I'm a self-admitted backseat tactician, and not a good one at that), but I was perfectly happy keeping my "suggestions" to myself today and let him figure it out. He made some great calls, and it was interesting to see how they played out on the replay of the Kattack Race Player.
The conditions were a light southerly that came straight off Rochester shoreline. In the first race, a big right shift right off the start launched anyone on that side immediately, and in the second, it was the left that rewarded those who got off the line best, tacked (or started) on the big left shift, and got away. No surprise there, but what was surprising was watching the Kattack tracks and noticing in each race, the boat that won hit its side and tacked only once or twice. Our tracks had five or as many as eight tacks on the first beat, some of which were to clear lanes and to take advantage of shifts, but where it was hard work for us, the two race winners made it look easy. Fun, frustrating stuff, and we're at least in the top half (43rd), with a lot more racing to come." Look for more updates from Dave, Stu and crew at SailingWorld.com Sailing Photo credits- Tim Wilkes. For more J/24 Worlds sailing information and results