Glenn Darden and crew, Rod Favela, Marcus Eagan, Victor Diaz de Leon, and Willem Van Waay toast the owner of Le Tigre on the way back to the dock at Sail Newport.
The first J/80 World Championship was held in 2001. In all these intervening years only 5 Americans have held the crown. And only one American, Glenn Darden, has repeated as World Champion (2006, 2022). Six straight years of Spanish team domination since 2014 and the last American, Brian Keane in Annapolis, won the title. Darden chartered his old boat 1152 Le Tigre and surrounded himself with pros in mostly windy conditions to dominate a 48-boat fleet with 2,1,1,2,12,1,2,1,3,7 scores.
The tricked out ride, replete with Atlas 2 electronics, that Darden and crew sped to a World title spent little time ashore as the Le Tigre team spent weeks upgrading and practicing before the successful North American title and the Worlds. The start lines were strikingly long and Darden perfected mid-line starts by relying on his Atlas 2 for staying behind the line prestart, rolling other boats to leeward and pinching off those above them.
Darden has won two North American titles on Le Tigre (2011, 2022) in addition to the 2022 World title. His 2006 World's win was on Le Glide, hull 407, which is curious in that this year he beat hull 406 (GP BullHound second overall) this time around.
Sailing "skiff style" with the main trimmer behind the helmsman Le Tigre lit up downwind. Whether up on plane or dead downwind wing and wing no one could catch them.
Ten of the top 20 boats at Worlds were charter boats, most prepped by World's charter coordinator, the author of this post, and Le Tigre owner since 2014, Peter d'Anjou. "Really proud to see all the international teams do well. In addition, my own fleet 12 Massachusetts boats finished 1, 2, 7 (the top Corinthian Ryan Walsh on 146 Pearly Baker), 10, 12, 15, 17, 20. I would point out the effort made by owners to upgrade and charter their boats rather than sail in a World's Championship. Ten owners upgraded to the new rig packages built by Sparcraft who also sponsored the event.
Class President Ramzi Bannura chartered both his boats: 1314 Stacked Deck to the French, and newly acquired Osprey, with an emergency repaired bulkhead hull 1322 to one of the Belgian teams. Ramzi sailed the Worlds on North American Class Vice President, Jeffrey Rabinowitz's boat, Mistress.
Ferver, hull 22 was chartered by the all-women's team from Spain and finished 15th.
Nine Canadian boats also made it across the border to join their North American class partners. David Doyle, fleet captain in Toronto, did his countrymen proud by winning the last race by minutes over his closest competitor. A local Newport boat, 251 Lead Mine, was chartered and driven to third overall by Irishman Patrick O'Neill.
Next year the North Americans are rumored to be in Canada and the Worlds return to Spain. Congratulations to Glenn Darden on impressive wins in both this years North Americans and Worlds and thanks to Sail Newport for hosting both back to back!