The first day of the second-ever J/70 Worlds lit up with gorgeous sun and an unexpected 15 knots from the NW. But when the chop stacked up with almost two knots of outgoing tide running right over the starting line, it was always going to be a bad day for some people. We just didn’t know it was going to be bad for the SA live video team!
As anyone in sailing knows, the French do things just a little bit differently. That’s why their food is so much better than anyone else’s – because they keep it the way they like it, and change is the enemy. That attitude carries over to everything, and on the race course, that meant doing everything a bit differently than most of us are used to in big fleet sportboating. While nearly every major sportboat worlds over 50 boats has run a midline boat for years, that’s not the French way, so rather than a tidy start with three different vantage points to call OCS boats, we saw the exact opposite: 5 general recalls for race 2, with two of them under black flag, and an astonishing 19 boats starting off their Worlds with a BFD, including several championship contenders. To add insult to injury, at least one top US boat only looked on the first chalkboard for their number, and the Race Committee only called the numbers on the radio in French…at a regatta where english-speaking boats outnumber French by 3 to 1.
A late night saw no redress given for any of the 19 BFDs, which changes the nature of the regatta considerably for quite a few, but unsurprisingly, Julian Fernandes (MEX), Tim Healy (USA), and Carlo Albierini (ITA) are mixing it up for the lead after three.
Our live coverage was dotted by French internet issues, but that was nothing compared to our full electrical loss a minute into Race 3; a quick check at the inverters revealed 50 gallons of water sloshing around in the bilge, flowing in via a blow out raw water pump seal. Our broadcast ended with no power, no stream, and a last-second anchoring practice to keep us off the beach before a two-hour tow-in from the RC.
Fortunately none of that kept Sander Van Der Borch from putting together a gorgeous gallery of the day just like his photo above (and the less gorgeous one on the left).
Watch it all unfold live today (with a bit less drama behind the lens, hopefully) over here, or check back on the front page for the embedded vid.