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Healy Surfs Into Lead

Championship Round of Inaugural World Championship Begins

NEWPORT, R.I. (September 11, 2014) – After two days of qualifying, the 2014 J/70 World Championship presented by Helly Hansen today saw the first races of the Championship Series that will decide the winner of this inaugural world championship. Based on their performance during the first two days of the regatta, the 86 teams are now racing in either the gold or silver fleet, with the championship crown going to the eventual victor in the gold fleet.

After being postponed ashore this morning until a thunderstorm threat had lifted, the competitors were once again sent out to do battle on Rhode Island Sound. Under partly cloudy skies, with breeze ranging from 12-18 knots out of the southwest, competitors were tested by another day of swells and seaweed that did little to help their results.

Tied on points to start the day were Joel Ronning of Minneapolis, Minn., on Catapult, and Rhode Island’s own Tim Healy on Helly Hansen, with the tie-break going in Ronning’s favor two days in a row. The story looked to be on replay when Ronning finished 1-2 to Healy’s 2-1 in the first two races. But Healy went on to win the third race of the day while Ronning earned and used his drop race on a 14th-place finish. Healy’s Helly Hansen is now the overall standings leader with 11 points, while Ronning sits second overall with 18 points.

Joel Ronning (87) and Jamestown’s Tim Healy (02) on Day Three

“The New York Yacht Club Race Committee was watching a line of thunderstorms that dissipated as they got closer and actually passed to the north of us, so they just were on the safe side,” said Healy of the morning’s postponement. “With the breeze expected to be good in the afternoon they didn’t have a problem with waiting a little bit and we ended up getting three really good races in, so it worked out. It probably maxed out around 15-16, so it was in the range of 12-16 knots from the SSW.”

With the sea state factoring in again, Healy agreed that the swells were giving the fleet more of a workout than they might have anticipated. “Upwind it was really choppy. The boats are only 22-23 feet, so the key is to keep the momentum up and keep powering through the waves. If you can do that and keep the boat moving then you can extend a little bit and have good speed. The problem is you really can’t escape hitting bad waves. You’re going to pound a wave whether you like it or not every once in a while and then getting the boat back up to speed as fast as possible is a big deal. There also was a lot of seaweed out there and steering around the clumps of seaweed and making sure to keep your keel and rudder clear of it was also a big deal. Downwind it was perfect surfing conditions so working hard and getting the whole team to work together to catch waves really made a big difference too. Not only catching a wave but staying on it helps downwind and made a big difference in speed.”

Healy acknowledged that there is no one way to prepare for the constant pounding that Rhode Island Sound has served up two out of the three race days thus far, but those sailors whose general conditioning is good will fare better. “The first day it [the breeze] was easterly and that was rough also. Downwind you have to work the boat, pump the sheets, stay in good shape that way. Your back, your core, everything has to be ready for that.”

Brian Keane’s Savasana on Day Three

Maintaining third, behind Healy and Ronning, in the standings is 2013 BACARDI® Miami Sailing Week class champion Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., at the helm of Savasana. Keane has 40 points and an 11-point cushion over Martin Kullman of St. Petersburg, Fla., on New Wave.

The big move of the day was made by 2013 J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl of Boston, Mass., on MUSE. Finishes of 5-4-3 today propelled her from 24th into fifth overall, which also makes MUSE the top Corinthian team thus far in the series.

In the silver fleet, two California teams, Craig Tallman of Torrance, on Jaya, and Scott Deardorff of Santa Barbara on Cake, are tied on points (88). Mexico’s Marco Teixidor, on Cachondo, is third overall with 99 points. All three teams are Corinthian, i.e. they do not have any professional sailors aboard.

The September 8-13 competition is being hosted by New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court, with regatta headquarters at Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center.

For results, photos and additional information on the inaugural J/70 World Championship presented by Helly Hansen, please visit http://www.j70worlds.com

Helly Hansen is presenting sponsor of the world championship, and North Sails is the Official Regatta Support Partner. Also enhancing the experience of competitors at the regatta will be Harken, Marlow Ropes, Newport Storm, Seadek Marine Products, Southern Spars, Torqeedo and Triad Trailers.

About Helly Hansen - Founded in Moss, Norway, in 1877, Helly Hansen continues to protect and enable professionals making their living on oceans and mountains around the world. Their apparel, developed through a blend of Scandinavian design and insights drawn from living in some of the harshest environments on earth, helps provide the confidence professionals need to step out into the elements and complete their jobs. The company invented the first supple, waterproof fabrics more than 137 years ago, created the first fleece fabrics in the 1960s and introduced the first technical base layers made with LIFA Stay Dry Technology in the 1970s. Today, the brand’s off-shore racing, inshore sailing, coastal cruising, rainwear and marine lifestyle apparel and footwear are sold in more than 40 countries. To learn more about Helly Hansen’s latest collections, visit http://www.hellyhansen.com/sailing

About the J/70 - The J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing in a stable, easy to own boat. A natural evolution of its J pedigree, the J/70's 22-foot long waterline with high aspect, all carbon rig and deep, lifting bulb keel provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat. Since its introduction, in March 2012, the J/70 has quickly established itself worldwide with 600+ boats sailing in 20+ countries. The J/70 Class was awarded ISAF One Design status in November 2013. For more information: http://www.j70ica.org


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