Rossi Milev’s final report from last week’s J/24 Worlds has reappeared from the hole it fell down, and here it is. Congrats to Rossi and the team on a solid 7th place, and a big thanks to all of them for contributing to 6 great reports from yet another strong J/24 WC. Also a big congrats to winner Will Welles and his crew on their first J/24 Worlds victory, especially long time Anarchist and contributor Luke Lawrence, who becomes one of the year’s super successful one-design sailors. Luke adds the Worlds to a list of diverse overall wins including the Bacardi Cup (Viper), Charleston Race Week (Viper), Celebrity Pro-Am Nantucket (IOD), J/24 Nationals, and the Medal Race in the Finns at the Miami OCR, as well as 6th in the J/70 Worlds and 15th at the Jaguar Cup. Here’s the report from our favorite Canadian Bulgarian. Vote on your favorite photo from J/24 Worlds at the Class Facebook page.
Brad Read made the call at 830 AM – it’s the Worlds, and that means we’re going out to the ocean again. And what an EPIC day it was! Very windy on the way to the course, and we were thinking the jib was the call again. Waves were 90 degrees to the wind and looked a lot like day one, but the wind was from the NNE. I wished it was day one and I could start this regatta over again from the beginning…
We had a nice 30-minute tune up with Will, with our boat finally moving really well upwind. We’d moved the mast butt forward a bit to get less forestay sag, and the boat felt lit up. It’s always amazing when you find the sweet spot with the tune just right, and the boat just transforms herself into something beautiful. Maybe she is called a ‘she’ for a reason!
In Race One, we again had a solid start just under the midline boat, burning boats off our hip until we looked good again. The breeze was dying a bit since we tuned up and the shifts becoming bigger and more unpredictable. We tack to port and look launched – until the next righty came in again and we can’t cross. A few more tacks back to the left and we’ve gotta win our side. Some things never change.
A very tight fleet at the top with Mollicone rounding ahead by a length or two over Will, with Tar Heel following. We rounded fifth, and with good right shifts on the downwind it was a drag race to the mark and the new course change. Not much changed for the rest of the race, with the order at the finish mostly matching the order at that first rounding. With Mauricio Santa Cruz out of the top ten, it was now a three boat regatta – not gonna be a lot of match racing in the last race!
As we grabbed another good start – five in a row now – I found myself wishing again that the regatta started on Monday. We went straight again, looking good and playing the left, though the leg repeated the first race; right with more pressure and left shifts short but strong, making you put the bow just high enough to clear the waves and grab the lift. Climbing up the ladder was tricky.
Mauricio was very patient on the left, surviving to round on Chile’s Matias Seguel stern. Welles in third again, and we were top ten. With Helly Hanson in the twenties and not a lot of passing lanes, the race between Will and Mauricio was on – but the boats behind suffered in few-to-no-gybe drag race. A big left shift on the second upwind inverted the fleet, and some corner bangers made huge gains on the left; we went middle right and lost twenty boats. Not the way we wanted to finish!
On the other hand, we were overjoyed for our long time friend and tuning partner Will Welles and his crew for fighting right to the end and winning a title that’s eluded Will for decades. Well done, guys.
The awards ceremony was a class act and a great finishing touch to a Worlds that celebrated the 35th anniversary of the first one. Can you imagine predicting that the J/24 would still provide some of the world’s best keelboat racing a third of a century after its first Worlds?
Feel free to question that by coming to Germany next year and trying to win. If you do, your name will be in some great company.
A huge thanks to Lavalife.com, Sailing Anarchy, and DryUV for their support of our Toronto-based team, which included Trimmer Chris Ball, Mast Mike McKeon, Bow Whitney Prossner and Tactician Chris Snow. We hope you enjoyed our stories.