Peter Duncan and Relative Obscurity return to the podium as J / 70 World Champion at the California Yacht Club • Live Sail Die
Peter Duncan’s relative obscurity prevailed over 60 other teams and tough wind conditions to win the 2021 J / 70 World Championship title at the California Yacht Club today. In a five-day series that tested the skill and patience of top competitors from 11 nations, Duncan – sailing with Willem van Waay, Morgan Trubovich and Victor Diaz de Leon – achieved a position among the top five at the start of the regatta and never let go.
” I am delighted ! Duncan said as he walked back to the dock, bustling with activity. “It was a tough day there. We didn’t start very well but we had a bit of a break with a header in the first run of the second race which allowed us to get closer to everyone and get through a few people that we have to go through ” , he explained. “We have a lot of fun on board – joke, laugh and keep it light – and it worked in our favor when we had to make do. Everyone knows what their job is, and these guys do it exceptionally well.
The standings changed with each round during races seven and eight, as the top contenders competed for the honors. “It was very cool that there were four boats that could have won this thing in the last race,” added Duncan. “For me it is really fun and exciting to sail.”
Duncan is no stranger to the podium. Most recently, he won the J / 70 North Americans in Annapolis and triumphed at the 2017 J / 70 Worlds in Porto Cervo, Italy. “This competition was really great, and the race committee did a great job organizing the races with the breeze we had. I am really happy. Cal Yacht Club has done a wonderful job.
At the end of the day, the top tier was separated by just eight points, with Bruce Golison taking second. His Midlife Crisis team had a solid victory in the pre-worlds last month. One of only two teams to get balls in the very tight world championships this week (with Magatron), Golison sailed with Steve Hunt, Erik Shampain and Jeff Reynolds.
Laura Grondin and the Dark Energy team, just one point behind, took third place. Grondin only recently started competing in the J / 70. Competitive sailor on the Melges 24, she switched to J / 70 when the boat’s popularity exploded. “If you really want that fleet racing experience, it’s the boat,” she said. “I decided to go, and when Taylor Canfield arrived my husband Rick suggested that we take this opportunity and do whatever we can and see where we are going.” Where it has taken her is third place at the J / 70 World Championships.
Unlike his life as a business owner and CEO, Grondin noted, “On the racetrack, I’m really just another member of the crew.” Unlike her corporate life, she laughed: “I don’t have the last word here. But these people are much more experienced than I am, so why shouldn’t I listen to them? And if I can do my job in a way that allows the rest of my team to do their jobs to the best of their ability, that’s a victory for me. And it’s the same in business and sailing. It is very exciting and rewarding.
The Ducasse Sailing Team from Santiago, Chile, triumphed in the Corinthian division. “We’re having a great time, and it’s so good for us, because the level of competition is so good,” said Francisco Ducasse, who sails with his father and his three brothers: Andres Ducasse Soruco, Ignacio Ducasse Soruco, Rodrigo Ducasse Soruco and Andrés Ducasse. Hoping for better wind – because they are sailing with a team of five instead of four – he said he was satisfied with their result.
Ducasse noted the effort it took to bring the campaign from Chile, and their luck in having chartered a solid boat. “We had a really good training in the pre-worlds,” added that the team are here for the long haul. “The level is so good, we are training and adapting a lot with very good teams. We hoped to finish in the top ten, then do better at the next Worlds. We shorten the average.
In the One-Pro division, the Threatening Minors piloted by Jordan Janov, Grant Janov, Ryan Janov, Reddin Kherli and Willie Mcbride took top honors.
The J / 70 World Championship regatta started on Wednesday August 11 with enthusiasm: a feature that would continue throughout the week and lead to multiple general recalls and the hoisting of the U flag and the black flag. Breezes of 6 to 8 knots greeted the fleet, but the wind died down on Thursday. The race committee attempted to win the two desired races, but deterred by the sneaky zephyrs, abandoned the race for the day.
A slight improvement in velocity on Friday allowed for a race – just smashing the lower class limit for the breeze. A championship regatta doesn’t always mean heavy weather, many competitors stressed, saying that conquering light and changeable conditions is just as vital as heavy air. And the masters of the fleet have proven it over time.
Saturday’s forecast was right, with a breeze starting at 6 knots and reaching 14 knots by the end of the day. Race director Mark Foster eliminated three races, despite repeated general reminders that threatened to reduce the number of races. But the organizers already had the required number to their credit to constitute a world championship and allow eliminations.
Late Saturday, soaked and exhausted, the fleet returned to the yacht club for a “California Dreamin” style buffet with music. The former had consolidated their positions with Duncan’s Relative Obscurity in the lead followed by Dark Energy, Savasana, Midlife Crisis and Catapult. The final day of the J / 70 World Championship regatta would bring moderate winds averaging 7-10 knots across Santa Monica Bay, with a number of changes that kept the riders and the race committee on their toes. .
Plans for the Championship regatta had been on the books since 2018, according to President Marylyn Hoenemeyer, and scheduled for July 26 to August 1, 2020. At the start of this year, the entry list was overflowing at 96: near the 100 limit. boats, with half of the fleet coming from all over the world. Then the pandemic turned everything upside down and the event was rescheduled.
“It has been a huge effort and success,” added Hoenemeyer. “The riders, the race committee and the whole organization have been so patient and tenacious, and I want to thank everyone involved. It was a complete club effort. I think we are aware of the volunteers on the water, but less aware of the volunteers on land and the impact on the members. We are grateful for the support from the members of the Cal Yacht Club and our wonderful staff. We’re no different from other organizations that are working under-staffed these days… they’ve put in a really huge effort and we’re proud of the experience we’ve provided to these runners, both on the water and out of water. “
The last World Championship regatta was in Tor Bay, England, with GBR’s Paul Ward and Eat Sleep J Repeat beating this fleet of 77 boats in a grueling series of 14 races. Ward finished seventh in the 2021 event.
For full results please https://2021j70worlds.com
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