With the regatta starting on Tuesday, it's clear the Spanish and French rivalry for global J/80 hegemony is quite healthy. After the first two days of racing the Spanish and the French teams battling for the top five continue with Spain's Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA holding the upper hand; not far behind is top French sailor Eric Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT. Famous French sailor/ coach Marc Bouet is confident that some of their teams will sail smartly and consistently enough to prevail on the podium by Saturday.
Perhaps what's most interesting about this centuries old battle for supremacy on the high seas between the French and Spanish is that most often they were partners. Especially, in the American revolution. In the American War of Independence (1775–83) the Spanish navy was essential to the establishment, in combination with the French and Dutch navies, of a numerical advantage that stretched British naval resources. They played a vital role, along with the French and Dutch, in maintaining military supplies to the American "rebels". The French navy also played a key role in the Spanish army led operations that defeated the British in Florida. The bulk of the purely naval combat on the allied side fell to the French navy, although Spain achieved lucrative successes with the capture of two great British convoys meant for the resupply of British forces and loyalists in North America. In short, Americans are indebted forever to their French and Spanish friends for living on the "big island" of "North America"! Read more here.
Leading up to this year's J/80 Worlds, DailyMotion.com has had the opportunity to chat with some of the top players in the game and get their perspectives on their participation in the worlds. Here are a cross-section of interesting interviews provided by Daily Motion of various contenders (in various languages, of course):
Simon Moriceau- France- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11lu3z_simon-moriceau_sport
Eric Brezellec- France- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11m1ny_eric-brezellec-au-mondial-j80_sport
Arthur Herreman- France- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11m1m2_artur-herreman-au-mondial-j80_sport
Nicolas Lunven- France- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11nca7_nicolas-luven_sport
- Nicolas LUNVEN from GENERALI TEAM, who won in 2009 the Figaro Solitaire race and is targeting the podium.
Brian Keane- USA- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11nb09_brian-keane_sport
Iker Martinez- Spain- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11nadn_iker-martinez_sport
Jose Maria Van der Ploeg- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11n9kb_jose-maria-van-der-ploeg_sport
The World of Women in Sailing- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11msru_le-mondial-au-feminin_sport
Les Sardines Women's Sailing Team- http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x11msru_le-mondial-au-feminin_sport
Perhaps even more enlightening are some of the interviews by various Spanish and French media prior to the events. The excerpts from the Voiles et Voiliers article are somewhat poignant. While the French have prepared and trained very well, significantly improving their chances of overall success, the Spanish are hard to dethrone.
Excerpts from the Voiles & Voiliers interview:
What was your preparation?
Simon Moriceau: I started the season in the match-race world, Port-la-Forêt, with Nicolas Troussel, although this is not my favorite discipline. The advantage is that it allowed me to fully understand the game of match-racing any boat. And before Spi Ouest France, we were training with fleet racing. My main goal was to find crew to sail together.
Eric Brezellec: We sailed a lot this winter. I really focused on the J/80, but Sebastien Col is sailing in other events and Yann Castle did a lot of match racing, too.
The nightmare of this world, what would it be?
Simon Moriceau: Although the fleet will probably divided into two groups, starts will be hot! In one-design fleet where speed differences are minimal, it is best not to be left behind! Then it is the consistency that makes the difference: any finishes beyond 20 are not good!
Eric Brezellec: For us northerners, the water of Marseille, this is not necessarily an advantage. But Sebastien Col, knows the area quite well. And,fortunately, we have been training a lot. Anyway, the conditions are the same for everyone. But, when there are 110 boats in a championship, there is always a chance for anyone. No, I will not say random. Let's say that you still have a bit of luck to go after! For more on the V&V interviews.
While the French were pontificating and ruminating on how to sail fast and smart with good execution, working hard to ensure success against all J/80 teams, the Spanish were singularly focused on how "to beat the French", coincidentally enough. Perhaps they recognize they may be at an enormous disadvantage sailing in French home waters like the bays of Marseilles?
The Spanish teams are, "intent to revalidate their titles and with the pressure of sailing in France, the birthplace of the J80 class. At stake, the hegemony of the Spanish J/80 fleet. The goal, to ratify the strength of the Spanish J/80 fleet, taken from France for over six years and in a class that was created in France" (as quoted from the Spanish PR machine).
The Spanish teams, José María Van der Ploeg (FACTOR ENERGIA), Carlos Martinez (THIK/ NOVASAIL) and Rayco Tabares (HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA) have the pressure of being the favorites after their incredible sweep at the World Championships 2012 held in the United Kingdom. Time will tell in the next few days. Watch how this drama unfolds on the J/80 Worlds website. Spanish Sailing Photos- Jesus Renedo / Trofeo Conde de Godo and Elena Martinez / RCMS. For more J/80 Worlds sailing information