Tuesday, March 4, 2014

PILGRIM Takes Chilean J/70 Nationals

J/70 sailing Chile's Lake Panguapulli- Andes Mountains (Lake Panguipulli, Chile)- The inaugural Chilean J/70 Nationals took place this past weekend on one of the world’s most picturesque lakes.  Situated on the Puyum√©n Peninsula, Lake Panguipulli is surrounded by the majestic peaks of the famous Andes Mountain range.  While sailing in shirts, shorts, & shades, skiing on snow-capped mountains is happening in some of Chile’s famous ski resorts!

On the first day, the fleet of J/70 sailors were met by high temperatures, clear skies and moderate winds ranging between 7-11 knots from 250 degrees with minimal shifts of 10 degrees, conditions that were near perfect for sailing on the lake. In fact, the weather was so nice, a small navy of motorboats gathered around the fleet to watch racing for most of the day!

J/70 sailboat- sailing Chile's Lake Panguipulli in Andes Mountains
The R.C.’s P.R.O. managed to deliver three races and, when the results were tabulated, there were few differences between the teams.  The first race of the day began with a dominating performance by Nadja Horwitz, followed by Juan Eduardo Reid’s BLACK JACK and PILGRIM skippered by Benjamin Grez. In the last two races it was clear the PILGRIM/ MBI VOLVO team led by “los hermanos Grez” had figured out the formula for success and managed to score two bullets to take over the regatta lead with just 5 pts.  Eduardo-Reid’s team on BLACK JACK also sailed consistently well enough to hang onto second with a 2-3-3.  Another boat that also figured out the “formula” was Jorge Gonzalez and his team on ALLEGRO, posting a 5-2-2 to jump up to third place for the day.

Chile's Lake Panguipulli sailing clubThe second day of sailing dawned with a gorgeous sunrise, but light winds that never exceeded 5-6 kts; it was clear the forecast was somewhat accurate and that meant it was going to be difficult to get in more than 2-3 races.  Despite a number of valiant attempts at getting more races going, the P.R.O. could only manage to get one fair race in for the day.  And, it was one unbelievably close race, clearly upsetting the standings for nearly everyone in the top three!

J/70 sailing upwind on Lake Panguipulli in ChileThe team of Benjamin Grez, Christopher Grez, Miguel Perez and Jorge Lama, aboard PILGRIM/ MBI VOLVO just managed to stay out of trouble by finishing 4th in the last race to be crowned the first J/70 National Champions in Chile!  Just behind them by only one point was a tie-breaker, the result of a titanic battle for the silver between Gonzalez’s ALLEGRO and Eduardo-Reid’s BLACK JACK.  Getting the upper hand at the finish was the very happy ALLEGRO team, winning the race and, as a result, winning the tie-break on 10 pts to snag second overall.  Third place then went to the BLACKJACK gang.

The regatta was organized by the J/70 Class Chile and WindMade, with support from the Municipality of Panguipulli and LAND ROVER Chile as a sponsor.  Interestingly, this was also the first J/70 National Championship to be held outside American soil anywhere in the world!   Sailing photo credits- Berni Grez
For more J/70 Chilean Nationals sailing results.