The J/70 arrived in 2012, forever changing the one-design racing scene. In just seven years, J/Boats has sold more than 1,500 of these 23-foot speedsters, and the class — not surprisingly — has become one of the most competitive one-design classes afloat. To date, the class has held five World Championships, and much like the previous four, the 2019 J/70 World Championship offered nail-biting excitement and saw some of the world's best skippers and sailors line up to determine top bragging rights, this time on the waters off of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, which is in Torquay, United Kingdom.
While the competition was fierce, skipper Paul Ward and his Eat Sleep J Repeat (GBR 1451) team of Charlie Cumbley, Ruairidh Scott and Mario Trindade posted proud results in the Open Division, including a bullet, a second, a third and a fourth-place finish to beat-out skipper Joel Ronning and his Catapult (USA 180) team, and skipper Jose Maria Torcida and his Noticia (ESP 961) squad, and claim the mantle of 2019 J/70 Open Division World Champions.
Interestingly, this title wasn't determined until the final race, which was sailed in 20-knot winds that gusted to 26 knots.
"Very, very pleased, it has been hard work and we have a very good team," said Ward in an official regatta press release after nabbing his big win. "We have sailed well all year and this has been a tough week but a lot of fun. We were just a few meters from the finish when we realized we had probably won, we worked hard right up to the end, the Americans and the Spanish pushed us really hard, it was full-on."
Meanwhile, skipper Marshall King and his Soak Racing (IRL 1123) team of Ian Wilson, Andrew Shorrock and Adam Brushett took top honors in the in the Corinthian division, followed by skipper Doug Struth and his DSP (GBR 1248) squad and skipper Denis Cherevatenko and his Joyfull (RUS 1217) team.
"We have been trying to win this for six years, so it feels just amazing," said Wilson (GBR) and King (IRL) in an official event press release. "Torbay has been exceptionally tricky, and we have had great competition at a really well-organized regatta, and it is great to come away with the win."
As for the strategy that cinched the win, Wilson and King pointed to a fourth-place finish in race 13 (the team's high-water mark for the regatta), followed by some defensive ball.
"Today's racing was really exciting, we were 10 points behind [Doug Struth's] DSP [GBR 1248] going into the last two races," said Wilson and King in an official regatta press release. "We had an excellent Race 13 and then it was about staying with DSP and making sure there were not too many boats between us. It all came down to the last 100 meters, and we did just enough."
Sail-World tips our hat to the newly crowned 2019 J/70 Open Division and Corinthian World Champions, and to all of the other top-level teams that got their gunwales wet en route to these impressive and down-to-the-wire finishes.
Speaking of J/Boats, the J/105 North Americans were contested on the waters off of Marblehead, Massachusetts and were hosted by the Corinthian Yacht Club. While racers were forced to make their peace with Hurricane Dorian, which passed by Massachusetts last week, the race committee was ultimately able to score eight races that saw skippers Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault and their team aboard their East Coast-based J/105 Good Trade (USA 96) take top honors, followed by skipper Ken Horne and his Final Final (USA 396) crew and skipper Charlie Garrard and his Merlin (USA 635) team.
Looking ahead, this week marks two important U.S.-based regattas that are being held on opposite sides of the country, and which are being hosted by the nation's top two yacht clubs. The first of these events is the 2019 Rolex New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup (September 7-14), which is being hosted by the New York Yacht Club on the waters off of Newport, Rhode Island, and which will see a fleet of 20 identical Mark Mills-designed IC37s being raced by Corinthian teams from different yacht clubs from across the country.
The second event is the 2019 Rolex Big Boat Series (September 11-15), which is being hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California on the waters of San Francisco Bay and which will feature both handicap and One Design racing. While participants can expect the usual go-fast suspects at this high-level event, the Classics class will be making a Rolex Big Boat Series appearance this year and will include five classic ladies that were built before 1955 and measure at least 48' LOA.
Sail-World wishes great sailing to all participants competing in both of these great regattas, and we'll certainly be doing our best to wear-out the refresh buttons on our web browsers once the starting guns begin sounding.