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J/80 World Championship at Monte Real Club de Yates de Baiona - Preview

by J/Boats 16 Sep 13:01 BST 17-23 September 2023
J/80 World Championship © Monte Real Club de Yates Baiona

The 2023 J/80 World Championship will be hosted by the Monte Real Club de Yates Baiona for the seventy-eight teams entered from eight nations: Spain (57), Portugal (1), United Kingdom (1), Netherlands (2), India (4), France (9), Belgium (2), and USA (2).

Remarkably, one of the larger contingents will be the four J/80 teams from the Royal Madras Yacht Club in Chennai, India. Recently, the National J/80 Class Association of India was formed in March 2022 to popularise keelboat sailing by conducting events and to facilitate participation in international events.

The first elected President of the J/80 Class is Commander Abhilash Tomy, a decorated Indian naval officer, naval aviator, and yachtsman. He was the first Indian to complete a solo, non-stop circumnavigation of the world under sail in 2013. He participated in the Golden Globe Race 2018. This is a grueling 30,000 nautical mile solo, non-stop unassisted race which is the toughest event in the world. After 82 days, while in 3rd position, his boat was damaged in a violent storm in the Southern Ocean and he suffered a severe spine injury. He was rescued after a multinational rescue effort. He took early retirement from the Navy to participate for the second time in the Golden Globe Race 2022. Out of 16 sailors, only 3 completed and Abhilash Tomy finished second.

As the President of the Association, Commander Tomy commented, "I've been keenly involved in popularizing the J/80 class of one-design sailboats in India. At present, we have a small fleet of five J/80s in India and I am looking forward to expanding this fleet. Even though the fleet is small, we have been able to hold many national events regularly as well as participate in international events. Over the last year we have trained about 80 sailors on the J/80s and the numbers are only growing. The challenges we face are shortage of boats and spares for which I will be seeking help from all over the world.

While I was racing in the Golden Globe Race 2022, an Offshore Nationals was held in April 2023 called the UNIFI CAPITAL Offshore Regatta 2023. Eight teams participated in the event and each leg was about 80 nautical miles. This was its second edition and is getting very popular. This was soon followed by two Offshore expeditions of 1,000 km each in the Bay of Bengal. Both are in the London Book of World Records for being the longest expeditions by a civilian police team in the J/80s. The second one was by an all-police women team commemorating 50 years of women in Tamil Nadu police.

Recently we held the CRPF J/80 National Ranking Sailing Championship 2023 in India from 18th to 20th August 2023 supported by the Central Reserve Police Force. The event was oversubscribed! A record 16 races were held in two and a half days outside the Chennai Port in the Bay of Bengal. The weather was sunny with a general southwesterly land breeze of 10 to 12 knots gusting to 20 knots prevailing during the races. The races were made technically challenging due to the various currents in the race area, shipping traffic, and wind shifting from land to sea breeze during the races.

Now, four of those teams are all set to participate in the J/80 Worlds to be held in Spain in September 2023!"

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