Breezy Opening Day of J/24 World Championship Leaves Two Teams Tied on Points for Lead
September 23, 2014
Newport, Rhode Island welcomed 70 teams from around the globe with wind and waves on the first of five days at the 2014 J/24 World Championship. The top of the fleet saw some familiar names but also some fresher faces. Mark Hillman’s Sokokumaru (USA) and Vernon Robert’s Gringa DC (Chile) are tied at five points, with Hillman having the first-place advantage thanks to a bullet. Will Welles’s Cougar (USA) landed just two points behind in third place. Teams battled blustery conditions on the ocean course, with five-leg races and 1.5 mile opening beats. Local Welles thrived in the 14-16 knot breezes of the initial contest, which also saw 3-5 feet waves and larger swells. Fellow Newport resident John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen team followed Cougar in second, and Robert’s Gringa DC in third. Winds dropped slightly to 12-14 knots in Monday’s second battle, which suited Hillman’s Sokokumaru just fine as he notched that bullet. Robert’s Gringa DC moved up to the runner-up spot, and Pedro Garra’s Extasis of Uruguay followed in third. Hosted by Sail Newport, racing continues for the 70 teams from 13 nations (Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Uruguay and the United States) through Friday. Photos are available on the J/24 Class Facebook page, and complete results are at http://www.yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=982.