(Marseilles, France)- After all the build-up for the J/80 Worlds 2013 in Marseilles, it would appear the domain of J/80 world hegemony would come down to just two nation's top sailing teams-- that of France and Spain. Undoubtedly, many top teams from other countries like United Kingdom, America, Germany, Italy and Sweden had aspirations to the throne, no one quite expected the ultimate outcome after sailing in challenging conditions for four+ days on the gorgeous Bay of Marseilles. Crowned as the 2013 J/80 World Champion was skipper Hugo Rocha from Portugal, sailing his NEW TERRITORIES team with an international crew consisting of Alex Semenov and Pavel Savenk from Russia and David De La Plaza Madraz and Francisco Palacio from Spain!
With 117 boats participating, it was going to be a tough event for any team to rise to the top. One small mistake would cost you dozens of boats upwind, in the corners at the marks or downwind. Crew handling was critical as well as general boat speed around the track. The fleet was split into four flights with a rotation for the first two days to qualify for the "Gold" championship fleet. At that time after the qualifiers, it looked like the Spanish teams were poised to again sweep the podium and take more than just the top three, creating yet a third sweep of the J/80 Worlds. However, as fate would have it, for one reason or another the leading Spanish teams had their difficulties in the championship round.
Asked what were his objectives before the J/80 Worlds to take part in the competition? Rocha answered, "We are a new team, it was the first time we sailed altogether. Two crew are from St Petersburg, Russia and two are from Spain and I’m from Portugal. We all trained hard for the championship. Last month I participated in the Spanish Championship and my team finished 3rd, but we had to change the team composition because some of the crew had a setback. At the beginning of the competition, we struggled a little bit with boat-handling, but then we rapidly improved. I can divide the competition into two parts: the first 50% qualifiers we were good (5-12-14-17) and the second 50% we were very good (1-1-3-1-6). It’s a shame we couldn’t have sailed the last day but the wind was irregular and very light."
The balance of the top ten was reflective of the battle between the top French and Spanish teams with a split between them for the top ten. Sailing a strong championship series was Luc Nadal from France on GAN'JA, scoring lower total points and tied with Rocha's team on total net point at 43 each-- unfortunately, Luc lost the J/80 Worlds based on 1st places and so had to settle for second overall; a tough pill to swallow after leading the worlds after race 7. Third was the renown French team on INTERFACE CONCEPT led by Eric Brezellec with 51 pts net. Fourth and fifth were the famous Martinez brothers- famous Spanish Volvo 70 sailors and World 49er champions and Olympians. Carlos Martinez sailed DELTASTONE to 52 pts net. Fifth was brother Iker Martinez sailing ENBATA 80/ GOLD SAILING with 53 pts net. The balance of the top ten was Frenchman Quentin Ponroy on ELECTRA in 6th, Frenchman Nicolas Lunven on GENERALI in 7th, Spaniard Jose Maria Van der Ploeg on FACTOR ENERGIA in 8th, Canary Islander Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESA YAIZA (the early regatta leader) in 9th and Frenchman Herve Leduc on JIBE SET in 10th.
The top, and only, American was Brian Keane on SAVASANA in 11th; top Swedish team was Ingemar Sundstedt in 18th; top German team was Sven Vagt on CAMIL FARR POWER SYSTEMS in 27th; top Netherlands team was Laura Vroon on JOIE DE VIVRE in 28th; top Swiss team was Yannick Preitner on ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE DE LAUSANNE in 31st; top British team was Jon Powell on BETTY in 32nd; top Italian team was Massimo Rama's crew on JENIALE! in 46th; top Polish team was Pawel Boksa on MOONRAKER in 68th; the only Omani team was OMAN SAIL led by Rajaa Al Owrsisi in 91st; and Russia's Maxim Kuzmin on ENERGY was 94th. Spanish Sailing Photos- Jesus Renedo / Trofeo Conde de Godo and Elena Martinez / RCMS. For more J/80 Worlds sailing information