In a bit of an experiment, the International J/24 Class has reportedly opened up the 2012 Worlds in Rochester to any boat that wants to attend. For decades, the world’s most popular one-design keelboat has restricted World Championship fleets only to those who qualify at specific events, but numbers are down, the Class’s importance on a world stage is too, and the justification for those qualification hoops seems to be disappearing rapidly.
The big question is – just how many boats will come? Well over 100 J/22s recently sailed at an open Worlds in Rochester, and while the consensus is that it was good for the US fleet, the complaints about lousy sailors and ridiculous fouls were myriad. Rochester is cheap and centrally located enough to grab gi-normous numbers – Will we see massive carnage in a 180-boat fleet that leaves top international competitors scratching their heads and cursing the yanks, or will this be a boon to the popular little fleet that everyone loves to hate?