Sunday, May 25, 2014

MENDIETA Wins J/24 Campeonato San Isidro

J/24s sailing off Argentina on Rio de la Plata (San Isidro, Argentina)- Over the past two weekends, from April 26-27 and May 3-4, the Club Nautico San Isidro held their annual J/24 Campeonato San Isidro for a very strong showing of the Argentinean J/24 fleet.  There was some “new blood” in the class with good teams participating from CUBA, YCA and CNO yacht clubs across Argentina.  For the first four boats (RINA, MENDIETA, CACIQUE and COCOON), in fact, the racing proved to be very close for the eleven race regatta.

For the first weekend, it was clear there were four very well-sailed teams that all had their eyes on being at the top of the podium after the two weekends of racing, some of whom have already registered to sail in the J/24 Worlds in Newport, RI this September.  The racing was electrifying, with finishes being determined by less than 10 meters between all four, sometimes even just centimeters differences!

J/24 sailboats-sailing downwind in ArgentinaOn Sunday, 27 April the CNSI club PRO managed to conduct three races with steady breezes from the ENE.  For the first race, it was blowing up to 18 kts, forcing many teams to choose between genoas and jibs.  Then, for races 2 and 3 that day, the wind calmed down to 9 kts or so, so genoas ruled the day.

On Sunday, the fleet was more compact than most of Saturday and positions juggled wildly during the course of each race. After the first weekend, other than having to contend with a DSQ for MENDIETA, the top three boats were essentially tied.

The following weekend was going to be a suspense-filled, anxiety-ridden affair since all three boats, with COCOON hanging tough, could again see the standings get juggled again.  No one knew what to expect.

Sailing like a man possessed, Montes’s COCOON team were determined to make a comeback against the other three.  After Saturday’s racing, their three 2nds in a row allowed them to climb back quickly into overall contention for the lead while the other three boats faltered.  Sunday was going to bring a lot of drama if Saturday was any indication of what could happen with the top four boats.

J/24 sailboats- at start off ArgentinaThe morning started with fog and the start of the race was postponed until there was good visibility.  With “borneantes” winds blowing from 120-160 degrees and wind strength varying between 5-10 kts all day, it was going to be a challenging day for everyone. The four top positions were well fought and the championship was on the line for any one of them.

The first race went to COCOON, and that happened after making a 720-penalty turn, their excellent recovery was enabled by the other three boats spending too much time focusing on one another. MENDIETA was second, third RINA and fourth CACIQUE.

The results after the first hard-fought race had RINA leading overall with 20 pts with MENDIETA and CACIQUE tied with 21 pts and COCOON following closely with 23 pts!!  In short, whoever won the last race won the championship! To add more excitement, RINA match-raced CACIQUE off the starting line, but both had good windward legs and rounded together 1-2.  In the end, after passing them, MENDIETA took the bullet with CACIQUE in 2nd, COCOON in 3rd and RINA in 4th!  What a crazy finish to a long, hard fought series— fun for all!

The final top five was 1st MENDIETA (Pancho Van Avermaete), 2nd CACIQUE (Sergio Pendola), 3rd RINA (Nico Cubría), 4th COCOON (Fernando Montes) and 5th Juan Pablo Rixon.   Sailing photo credits- Mattias Capizzano  For more Argentinean J/24 sailing information