North Sails NEWS
SPOTLIGHT: WILL WELLES, J24 WORLD CHAMPION
North Sails Experts Dig for Will’s Secrets to Win the Worlds
Eighty-nine teams from fourteen countries attended the 40th edition of the J/24 World Championship held in Lake Garda, Italy. North Sails One Design expert Will Welles won his second J/24 world title, dominating the scoreboard from day one, scoring 47 points over the course of ten races. Congratulations to team Kaster and crew Nick Turney, Rich Bowen, Giuliano Cattarozzi, and Andrea Casale.
Another great achievement to be noted, Keith Whittemore’s Furio finished 3rd place overall to win the corinthian division. Teams powered by North finished 1,3,5,6,7,9,10.
The North experts had some interesting questions for Will upon his arrival home from Italy. Here is what he had to say:
From Mike Ingham:
It was mostly flat water and windy, where/how did you set your genoa leads?
We call “touch/touch” our base lead position, this is when you trim the sheet in the mid-leech of the genoa touches the spreader at the same time the foot touches the chainplate. With the flat water and breeze we were mostly one or two holes aft from base. If we ever felt super over powered we’d move the lead aft and vise versa, if we felt under powered we’d move the lead forward. Seemed most of the days you could trim the genoa fairly hard with the lead back. As much as two inches of the spreader.
You were able to sail well at the high end of the genoa when much of the fleet switched to jib. How are you able to make the genoa work at the upper end without being totally overpowered?
It’s a sort of dance for sure! The key is to manage the angle of heel at all costs. Start with feathering the boat into the breeze in the onset of the puff, if that is not enough you will need to ease the sails, mainsail and the genoa. In 20+ knots with the genoa you will most likely have the genoa eased out to the lifelines. The mainsheet is eased in the puff and then trimmed on afterwards, I’ll wind the genoa sheet in when I feel we can take it. The backstay is on hard as well as the vang, the shroud tension is at our maximum tuning guide setting.
From Zeke Horowitz:
Any tips for stepping into a charter boat for the first time and trying to get it all set up the way you like it?
We were lucky with our charter boat, it was a fast boat but we did our homework months in advance. With the help of a local friend we found a good boat, which is a start but then you need to do all your homework so you can be prepared once you arrive. The key is to not burn up sailing days with unforeseen boat work. I like detailed pictures of the boat, pictures speak a thousand words….you can see how the rigging is, blocks, cam cleats, keel, rudder, mast, etc. I also send a list of yes or no questions to the boat owner, this way it’s easier for them to just say yes or no. We prepared what we needed to bring to make sure the boat didn’t have gear failure…and we brought some of the things we like to have on the boat that may not be there…winch tops, tiller, something of that nature. We make the list, gather the items, and pray it all fits into your luggage!
We heard it was imperative to get a good start at the favored end so you could be one of the first boats to the geographical shift. How did you balance conservative strategies with being aggressive enough to be one of the first boats off the favored end?
Yes, the start! Where you started and being able to get onto port straight away was the key to success. Surely it seemed you needed to be in the fray to get a good position off the start. Garda isn’t a place you can be conservative and start down the line in a less congested area. It was dicey to say the least but a must! Most everyone who started on the right end knew the deal, once in awhile you’d get one or two boats that wouldn’t tack right away and that was death.
From Mike Marshall:
What was the base setup? Prebend? Forestay sag? Upper and lower tension?
Our base set up was the same as always, 20/15 (uppers/lowers) with the silver loos gauge model B, 2 ¼ prebend measured at the spreader and two fingers on the headstay (measured with Loos gauge B). Garda is known as a windy venue with flat water and the world’s week was no different. With the flat water and breeze we were faster to make the rig tighter, faster then if it was a windy wavey venue. We always set up the rig for the first beat and figured if the breeze dropped out then we’d be able to manage through. I seem to remember we mostly sailed at 29/27 on the shrouds. Sometimes a setting tighter and sometimes a setting lower.
From Chris Snow:
What model genoa did you pick for the event and why?
Stick with what you know! We used the DX-7TT genoa, also known as the “Newport Genoa”. The SD-TH and DX-7TT are close enough in shape that we feel we can make one look nearly like the other with halyard and lead position. I think the key is knowing your settings, when to go where with the sail controls we have available in a certain condition.
From Skip Dieball
What was your favorite dinner while in Italy?
Hands down the dinner we had at Guiliano’s house, what a beautiful spot he and his family have! Guiliano owns Kaster the boat we sailed.
What was your key to getting good starts?
We were very fortunate to get decent enough starts to go the way we wanted to the first beat. The key in Garda was to battle for the right side of the line. You needed to go right so even if you got a second row start with speed you could get onto port and drag race to the right. If you started down the line and couldn’t tack you were in a really tough spot, if you stared down the line and were able to tack all the boats that were right of you were ahead by the end of the beat. So we just worked hard in the fray, time, distance to the line and looking for a lane out straight away.
From Ched Proctor
When do you decide it’s time to “Go to the wall?”
It’s always time to go to the wall in Garda! I think the question is which wall? Andrea says nine times out of ten the right works. Seemed to be true!
Are you the first American skipper to win a major event on Lake Garda?
I’m not sure! We will need to research that, somehow I suspect not, there is a lot of major events held in Garda in all sorts of different classes. One thing for sure, there may not be a prettier place to race! There is great breeze in the morning out of the North, it dies around noontime and then the Southerly comes in the afternoon. If you like wind and raw beauty Garda is for you!
From Marnie Jenkins
Sailing in Italy….did you have wine or water on board?
Water of course! Lots of good wine around Garda though!
From Chuck Allen
Is Rich Bowen on steroids to trim that well at his age?
I don’t think Rich is on the steroids, he says he works out which is the key to get the genoa in along with good timing! I wondered if Rich might be the oldest trimmer to win the J/24 worlds…Brad Read thought Moose McClintock was!