News J Class World Championship: Patience rewarded as seconds separate J Class contenders

J Class World Championship: Patience rewarded as seconds separate J Class contenders

Newport RI, 25 August 2017

The long, five and a half hour wait for the Newport sea breeze to arrive proved to be well worth it as the six J Class World Championship teams were rewarded with their closest race yet.
Ranger put their first win of the regatta on their fast improving scoreline, but their delta over second placed Lionheart was down to only one second. And the margin between Svea in third and fourth placed Velsheda was also one tiny second.With Lionheart crossing in second and Hanuman languishing in sixth, unable to come back from a poor start and being manacled to what proved to be the less favoured right by Topaz, it is the Dutch flagged Lionheart which goes into the final day of this inaugural world championship event with a lead of four points over the US team Hanuman skippered by Newport's Ken Read.

Lionheart now have put themselves in a strong position to become the first J Class World Champions and to add to their wins in Bermuda at June's America's Cup Superyacht Regatta and the America's Cup J Class Regatta.

"Tomorrow it is all on." Lionheart's mainsheet trimmer Mike Mottl affirms, "We will treat it like the beginning of the regatta. We have two races and the points are still such that any boat can win it. We have to believe there will be two races and just go out and do well. We know that we can do it. We just have to go out there and do it."

Principal Race Officer Tom Duggan and his New York Yacht Club race committee made the call to hold the fleet ashore whilst there was still a seemingly decent northerly gradient breeze blowing. After going to sea a little after 1330hrs hopes were waning until at the breeze filled for a 1630hrs start and the historic six boat fleet got away in 8-9kts of breeze from the south west.

"It was a long, long wait but it was rewarded by a very, very good race. It was a difficult day. Once you have made that call not to go out early then you own it and you just hope that it works out. It worked out today. We got lucky."

Ranger, with multiple America's Cup winner Murray Jones on tactics and Erle Williams skipper-helm, read the first beat best, holding to the left after starting fast and clean as the leftmost boat, clear of the cluster at the signal boat end of the line where the perceived logic seemed to be that the 'usual' right would pay.

Hanuman was held late at the boat end and then had to live to leeward, in check by Topaz while the middle left yielded a solid shift in wind direction to the left. While Ranger neatly leebowed Lionheart to lead around the top mark, early challengers Svea were penalised for tacking too close to Ranger on the final approach to the turn.

With title rivals Hanuman being boxed out to the right Lionheart sailed a solid, smart, safe beat to round second at the first top turn. They separated slightly to the left of the run and made a small gain on the leaders, but the white hulled 2003 built Ranger prevailed across the finish line.

"We are sailing a lot better and building a bit of momentum. The smoother water is better for us. We blew out the light medium which was a very deep sail, so we have the new heavy number one (headsail) and it is just fast. We are able to compete. Murray Jones has been doing a great job for us." Ranger's Erle William commented, "We got off the line well and the others were bunched up, we got away nicely with Lionheart and we sailed a good race. It was nice to be able to lee bow Lionheart at the windward mark and get our nose in front. Then they got back on the run, we were able to leebow them again at the top of the second beat and stay ahead. With it down to just one second it just shows how close this racing is. Tomorrow is another day, but give us 12kts and flat water, that would be nice!"

Ranger have now gone 3,2,1 from the last three races – equalled only by title favourites Lionheart - to stake a claim to third, meantime.

In contrast Hanuman's title challenge has been derailed by a fifth yesterday and now a sixth. With a four points deficit, the hugely talented Hanuman team may face a tough test to win overall but it is well within their reach, particularly if two races are sailed.

An early start time of 1000hrs is scheduled for Saturday. Two races are planned with a final race deadline of 1400hrs after which no further starts can be made.

A thrilling, fitting finale is on the cards and a huge spectator crowd is anticipated. Ranger are only two points behind Hanuman and the 'newcomers' Topaz and Svea are only one and two points respectively off the podium. As Lionheart's Mottl succinctly summarises, it is 'all on'.

RESULTS - Race 6
1 Ranger
2 Lionheart
3 Svea
4 Velsheda
5 Topaz
6 Hanumnan

Standings after six races:
1 Lionheart 15pts (3, 3, 3, 1, 3 2)
2 Hanuman 19pts (1,4,1,2,5,6)
3 Ranger 21pts(5,6,4,3,2,1)
4 Topaz 22pts (4,1,6,5,1,5)
5 Svea 23pts (2,5,5,4,4,3)
6 Velsheda 26pts (6,2,2,6,6,4)

(Race report: Andi Robertson)

For more informations, race documents & Live tracking, please visit both   and

For further information about the J Class, contact:

The International Maxi Association (IMA)
The International Maxi Association (IMA) represents the owners of Maxi yachts from all over the world. Recognised in 2010 as the World Sailing international class of Maxi yachts, the IMA is uniquely entitled to organise official sanctioned World championships for Maxi yachts. The IMA now has 70 members from all over the world, and more than a dozen honorary members including Gianfranco Alberini, who for more than 30 years was Secretary General of the Association up until his death in June 2013. The current President of the IMA is Thomas Bscher, owner of the Wally 107 Open Season, while Secretary General is Andrew McIrvine, also Admiral of the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

The IMA is registered in Geneva, has a base in Porto Cervo and an office in the UK, for rating and technical matters. With two affiliated classes (Maxi 72s, and, since 2017, the J Class) and one associated class (Wally Class), the IMA intends to "guide and structure maxi yacht racing. The IMA rule defines and categorises maxi yachts: it aims to embrace all maxi yachts and as such follows, instigates and encourages developments that are deemed to have a positive effect on the construction and racing of maxi-sized boats." (


Cloudy Bay Vineyards
Cloudy Bay was established in 1985 by David Hohnen, a pioneer and visionary, who was convinced of New Zealand wines' great potential. The winery was among the first five to be established in Marlborough, the country's finest wine region, and is now highly regarded for the superlative quality and consistency of its wines. Thirty years later, Cloudy Bay remains New Zealand's most recognized winery. Sauvignon blanc is the estate's flagship grape variety. Cloudy Bay also produces a Chardonnay, a Pinot Noir and a delicately sparkling wine, Pelorus. Cloudy Bay belongs to the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton group. For more information, log on


North Sails Group
North Sails, the largest division of North Technology Group, is the world leader in sailmaking technology. North Sails holds the patent for 3Di, a unique composite construction process that produces high-performance sails that approach the shape holding of a rigid foil. North Sails is the sailmaker of choice on the majority of America's Cup, Grand Prix, ocean race boats and Superyachts. North Sails offers a wide range of performance 3D and paneled sails for cruising sailors and is the world's leading sailmaker for one-design classes with more National, World and Olympic Class victories than all other sailmakers combined.

Peters & May Global Boat Transport:
Peters & May Global Boat Transport, part of the Peters & May Group, ships over 4,000 yachts and motorboats of all weights and dimensions annually for private individuals and manufacturers. The company has its own specialist boat loaders and surveyors, custom shipping cradles, lifting equipment and has developed close working relationships with ship owners for optimum vessel safety and security. Peters & May has provided bespoke logistics solutions by sea, road, rail and air since 1973. A preferred supplier to many manufacturers, Peters & May supports organisations, individuals and leisure clients with an added value, bespoke and reliable ISO 9001 accredited logistics and consultancy solution. With wholly owned offices in the UK, USA, France, Spain, Hong Kong, China, Italy, and Germany and partnership arrangements in Turkey, Australia, Dubai, South Africa, New Zealand, South America, Belgium and Russia, the company's reach and capabilities are truly global. Peters & May takes pride in exceeding client expectations with its attention to detail and a personal service that only an independent can deliver. For more information visit

Zorab Insurance Services
For over 25 years the team at ZIS have provided their insurance expertise to the marine, property and corporate sectors, for some of the most discerning clients in the world. ZIS have an international reach and combining their own experience with unmatched technical knowledge, their dedication and level of service to each specialized sector is unparalleled. ZIS have a long-standing history in insurance and a unique enthusiasm for their work. ZIS are immensely proud to be a partner of the J Class Association. The Association is essential for safeguarding this iconic part of sailing history. The sight of the J Class yachts on the water is an inspiring spectacle that transcends generations. ZIS not only support the aims of the association, but share the passion for sailing and commitment to the preservation of the J Class tradition. For more information visit

International Maxi Association
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