Monday, November 13, 2017

BLACK SAILS Crowned J/70 South American Champion

J/70 Black Sails winning South Americans (Algarrobo, Chile)- The second annual J/70 South American Championship took place off Algarrobo, Chile and was hosted by Cofradía Náutica del Pacífico from the 27th to 31st of October. Almost 100 sailors participated on twenty boats, including teams from Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.

There were lots of expectations that had been mounting for months prior to the regatta. Chile had a 20+ active J/70 fleet members among the first 33 boats imported from USA in the last 5 years into South America.  The Chilean class did their best to make a fair championship, with Chief Measurer Dave McNabb and a local team measuring all boats.  Flavio Naveira and Nelson Ilha lead the Jury team.  And, Theodoro (Kiko) Kundig lead the RC team.

The previous month, some teams started to search for light 5th crew among the Optimist class in Algarrobo.  This time of the year is somewhat famous for the strong winds in Algarrobo, so the average weight among the boats was 340 to 350kgs.  Before the start of the first official race, BLACK SAILS team was set with 5-crew and 370kgs total weight.  But, after a bad practice race with light winds and looking at the weather report for the week, they decided to put one crew back on the shore!  And, they were right.  Everyday, but Sunday, the winds averaged 10-12kts and two races were sailed with less than 10kts. There were four days of racing with a total of nine races.

J/70 sailing off Chile- South AmericansOn the first day three races were sailed, the first started at 2:30pm.  The fleet was greeted by southwest winds from 230 to 240 deg at 8-12 kts and choppy seas.  Top teams were Per von Appen’s BLACK SAILS with a 1-1-3 tally and TSUNAMI with the Ducasse family on board with an 8-3-1 scoreline (skipper was Andres Ducasse). The Ducasse family had four brothers and their father as the team; a tough crew that would certainly battle until the very end of the regatta! Then, sitting in third with scores of 3-6-5 was URUBORO sailed by Maria “Pipa” Cisternas, her family, and Benjamin Grez calling tactics- they were a very tough team to beat.

On the second day, two races took place with the 1st start at 12:00. Light southwesterly winds from 240 to 260 deg prevailed and the heavier crews struggled. BLACK SAILS continued to stretch their lead with a 9-1.  And, the Ducasse family on URUBORO did a great job to manage the light winds and the tough fleet to hang on to second overall in the provisional standings with a 3-8.

J/70s start South Americans off Algarrobo, ChileOn the third day of racing, the more experienced crews maintained their consistency and kept rising to the top of the leaderboard.  With stronger southwest breezes of 12-15 kts, the boats had to manage transitions from planing mode to soak mode in the large Pacific swells and the wind streaks.  In general, sailing off Algarrobo is very favored on the left.  But, this time some boats gained a lot looking for some pressure with the kite downwind on the right side of the course.  Carlos Vergara on board SENSEI/ TECNOFAST posted a 3-2-2 for the day’s best record.  And, Matias Seguel on board VOLVO had the next best tally for the day with a 5-1-1. Unfortunately, SENSEI/ TECNOFAST and team were OCS on the first race of the day (race #6) and could not stay in the top places.

Chilean J/70 sailors at South AmericansWhat became the final day of racing started a little later than 1200 hrs.  Only one race was held with very light winds from the west.  Ducasse’s TSUNAMI did a great job to win the only race of the day, ultimately taking 2nd overall for the Championship.  Closing with a 3rd place in race 9 was von Appen’s BLACK SAILS, effectively shutting the door on all other competitors to win the regatta with just 20 pts net. By taking a 5th place in the final race, Alejandro Perez’s PELIGRO took the final bronze position on the podium. Seguel’s VOLVO could not overcome their mid-regatta “brain fade” of 11-11-9 to take fourth place (note- they had by far the best last four races of the fleet- a 5-1-1-4!).  Then, an early fleet leader, Cisternas’ URUBORO faded fast with a 9-10-7 in the last three races to drop to fifth place overall.

Winning the Corinthians Division was Benjamin Fuenzalida with father and brothers. Benjamin is an ex-Optimist sailor with a brilliant future in the J/70 class.

Best boat from abroad was Brazil’s Marcos Soares, sailing HIGHLANDER to a 7th place overall.  Then, Brazil’s Renato Farías sailing TONESSA was 9th and Diego García’s CHAPULIN from Uruguay took 12th place.

The next South American Championship will take place in Buenos Aires, Argentina in November 2018. Brazil will host in 2019. Sailing photo credits- Ben Sans.   Local sailng news story here on Algarrobo Digital   For more J/70 South American Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.