Photos © Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com
The sun shines on the Spanish
Dartmouth was blessed with blue skies, sunshine and just a little more breeze on Wednesday for the second day of racing at The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM.
Four races were sailed in 6 to 9 knots of breeze oscillating through the day between 095 and 135 degrees. As the crews came ashore after racing it was clear that the fleet were delighted to have enjoyed really tight racing and top flight competition albeit the day's sport had been both physically and mentally challenging. The overnight leader of the regatta is Jose Maria Van der Ploeg from Spain and his crew on board NILFISK, a result of this crew's consistency across the regatta series so far, never scoring a result outside of the top 10 boats in the fleet of 76.
The first race of the day (Race Two of the series) was won by Laurent Sambron of France racing EJP 10 with the young crew of Henry Bomby on Team Baltic who are all from Dartmouth in second place. Simon Ling and Ian Southworth took third in RAF Benevolent Fund Team Spitfire. Eric Brezellec from France won Race Three in Interface Concept 1 and his friend Maxime Rousseaux won Race Four in his J/80 called CN St Cast Grand-Ouest Etiquette. The final race of the day (Race Five) belonged to Javier Aguado's team on board CROCS, a win that puts him second in the overnight rankings.
The two top boats in the fleet going into Day Three on Thursday are both Spanish teams. Speaking to Jose Maria Van der Ploeg, skipper of NILFISK after racing he said ‘We are very satisfied to be leading but it was hard on the water today. We are not used to sailing with this much current and we found it very difficult. We have tried not to take too many risks but we were very close to being over the start-line in Race Four and that would have meant a Black Flag disqualification for us'. Van der Ploeg's son Junior is just twelve years old and is a crucial part of this talented race-crew. He explained that today the crew work and boat handling was good on board NILFISK but that the J/80s racing in Dartmouth are all very evenly matched in terms of speed across the water.
Javier Aguado helmsman and skipper of CROCS are in second place overall and he said ‘The racing was close and exciting although the light airs and strong current are not what we are used to and it has made judging the start-line very difficult. We were over cautious in Race Two and found ourselves late when the start signal sounded but we were tactically strong for the next three races and I am pleased to be in second place overall.'
The top placed British boat is Kevin Sproul's J.A.T. and this crew currently sits in third place on the leader-board. Sproul is a formidable sailor and is well known in racing circles for his dry humour. ‘I was feeling close to suicidal when I came ashore' he joked. ‘It was so hard out there with 76 boats on the race-track and I really felt that I could have sailed better. I suspect that I may have been just a little hard on my crew today but when we came off the water and I saw our points score and our position in the rankings I have to say I felt a lot better. My crew definitely deserve a beer or two on me tonight.'
Racing continues on Thursday 14th June and the weather forecast promises the strongest winds of the week so far. The Regatta HQ for the MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 World Championship Powered by SLAM will be open to the public for the duration of the regatta and those who would like to watch the racing in Start Bay will be able to do so from the beaches around Dartmouth. The website at www.j80worlds2012.com features a live blog from the racetrack with all the thrills and spills of the racing being reported as they happen.