Spectacular conditions welcome international fleet of 40 teams.
Klinger of Larchmont, N.Y. and his crew aboard USA 352 won the first race of the inaugural J/80 World Championship, and combined that score with a sixth in the second race to take the lead in the 40-boat international fleet that includes America's Cup, Olympic, Whitbread and champion one-design sailors. Klinger, the current J/80 Midwinter champion, edged out the second-place team of Paul and Marie-Claude Heys, from Southampton, U.K., aboard Jem, by one point. Rick Schaffer of Ft. Worth, Texas is in third place. The J/80 World Championship is scheduled June 7-10, 2001 and is sponsored by JBoats, North Sails, Newport Storm, Triad Trailers, and Hall Spars & Rigging. Hosts are Ida Lewis Yacht Club, Sail Newport and the International J/80 Class Association.
Racing was delayed slightly this morning until the race committee was satisfied with a steady 6-8 knot breeze to start the fleet on a five-leg windward/leeward course. Beautiful Newport summer conditions of sun, blue skies and moderate winds, building to 12-14 knots throughout the afternoon kept the fleet challenged and put the emphasis on tactics. According to many of the skippers polled on the dock this afternoon, the key to surviving in this fleet is getting a good start.
Regatta co-chair Greg Morash of Tiverton, R.I. sailed his Adrenalin to a victory in the race 2, but is in 15th overall due to a 30th in race 1. "We started out well, but got stuck in traffic and ended up on the wrong side of the course by the first downwind leg," said Morash, a firefighter. "That put us deep in the pack really quickly and we finished 30th." After regrouping with his crew of Cory Butlin, Teresa Collins and Brian Connelly, they concentrated on getting a good start. "We probably won the start," said Morash. "We started at the pin end where there weren't a lot of boats. Luckily the left side became favored and we took off from there. The first was a pretty good note to end on for the day."
No protests were filed today in a fleet that includes boats from 12 U.S. states: New York, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Texas, Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Colorado, Connecticut. Teams representing Sweden, Puerto Rico, Canada, and the U.K. are also in attendance.
Supporting sponsors of the J/80 World Championship include Layline, MBS One-Designs, Waterline Systes, UK Sailmakers. Donating companies include Crystal Spring Water, Greenvale Vineyards, West Marine, Harken and Mount Gay.
As an International Sailing Federation (ISAF) recognized international class, the J/80 has grown quickly into a worldwide organization of over 400 boats in 15 countries through the International J/80 Class Association. The J/80 Class Association was formed in 1994 and has since run seven Midwinter and North American Championships.
Top ten places, Two races completed
1. Kerry Klinger, Larchmont, N.Y., 7
2. Paul and Marie-Claude Heys, Southampton, U.K., 8
3. Rick Schaffer, Fort Worth, Texas, 12
4. Geoffrey Pierini, Metuchen, N.J., 13
5. Rick Lyall, Wilton, Conn., 13
6. Michael Lague, Stewartsville, N.J., 16
7. Jim Rotsman, Stockholm, Sweden, 16
8. Martin Kald, East Elmhusrt, N.Y., 21
9. Jay Lutz, Houston, Texas, 23
10. Chuck Holzman, Farmington Hills, Mich., 25