Jud Smith and Team Africa win 2018 J/70 World Championship


Ninety-one teams from 18 different countries battled out 11 highly competitive races. The depth of talent in the fleet was unprecedented with Olympic Gold Medalist, America's Cup winners, and world champions vying for one of the biggest world championship is the modern era.

There was a fairy tale ending for Jud Smith, born and bred in Marblehead, winning the J/70 World Championship with his team racing J/70 Africa, and representing the Eastern Yacht Club, hosts for the event. The intensity of the battle was such that Jud Smith succeeded without winning a single race, and only making the top three on one occasion. In the end Jud Smith's Africa (Eastern YC) won the world title by a single point.

"This fleet was incredibly deep," commented Jud Smith. "We all have the utmost respect for all 90 of you, anybody could have won this regatta, and we respected that. It really was a privilege to race here and a lot of fun. I would like to thank my team, we have worked really hard, training for this event all year long, and we have been together through thick and thin. It has been a hard week, for Marblehead, we have had more breeze than we usually get - the conditions have been very challenging. We are really glad, we came back from a tough position in the last race, and at the time, we didn't realize how important those points were. It is hard to comprehend - winning in Marblehead is special, but a little extra pressure for sure, I really can not praise my team enough."

Luis Bugallo (ESP) racing Marnatura is the 2018 Corinthian J/70 World Champion, adding to the European title won in June at the young Spaniard home club, Real Club Náutico de Vigo. Luis like most of the Marnatura team is just 23 years old.

"I think we did a great job as a team, we prepared by trying to improve ourselves, and coming sixth overall and winning the Corinthian title is a very good result. In this fleet consistency is one of the most important factors, and so is to know the best way to mode the boat for the conditions. Upwind

 

probably the top 30 boats were the same speed and height, the big difference is optimizing the boat for downwind, knowing whether to heat up, go wing-on-wing, or go low, and that takes time to understand. The racing was amazing, the start line was huge, and we tried not to be at the extremes of the line, we tried to keep our options open."

Bruno Pasquinelli's Stampede (Fort Worth BC) was the runner up overall, just a single point away from victory. "A lot of the owners have been racing against each other for decades, this has been a lot of fun, even though we just missed out."

Jack Franco's 3 Ball JT (Lakewood YC) was third overall, just three points away from glory, and had high praise for Jud Smith, with a touch of irony Jack commented. "Jud, if you hadn't won you would be a dud, but now you have, well you're a real stud!"

Of the 11 races sailed, teams from Brazil, Great Britain, Italy, Monaco, Spain, and the United States of America, all scored race wins. Twenty-Two teams made the race podium, epitomising the strength in depth of the fleet, which was the largest fleet of J/70s ever assembled in North America.

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J/70 Fleet 9: Marblehead, Massachusetts USA

© OUTSIDE IMAGES

2020 J/70 Corinthian National Championship hosted by Eastern Yacht Club
June 11 - 14, 2020