SPEED READING: J/70 WORLDS
Marshall King’s Corinthian Team Soak Racing
The 2019 J/70 Worlds had a great showing, with 77 boats and 36 Corinthian teams. We interviewed Marshall King on Soak Racing about winning the 2019 Corinthian World title, his team (Ian Wilson, Adam Brushett, Andrew Shorrock), and their success.
Maximizing Their Potential
For Marshall, it started three years ago. He and co-owner Ian Wilson knew they wanted to put together a competitive team for the Worlds, so they focused on ways to maximize their potential. “I felt quite strongly that the J/70 rewards accurate trimming, particularly of the jib, but also the main, and so we decided to set up the team in a way that had someone fully dedicated to just boat speed.
“We distributed the tasks so that the strategy and tactics were the main points of focus for Ian and Adam,” he continued. “Once the jib trim was completed, Andy would take over the main trim and work hard on keeping consistent boat heel angle and have the two sails working well together.” Conditions varied all day, every day, so the sail trim was continually adjusted. “When it was gusty or shifty, or the sea state changed, he’d switch back to the jib, and I’d handle the main. That level of attention to main trim is a key part of making the J/70 go fast. We never really cleated the main.
“Ian looked after the big-picture strategy and was also our spinnaker trimmer. Adam, our bowman, focused on the shifts upwind and where we were in relation to other boats. He was all about the numbers and compass headings.” Adam and Ian were always talking, keeping the entire team aware of how they were doing.
Preparation Started Way Before The Worlds
“This year we went to the Monaco Winter Series in January, February, and March, and the Spring Series in Warsash—all with the same crew,” Marshall said. “We focused on getting the boat going as fast as possible and after each event, we would share our notes and try to be our own coach. We found that other boats were faster from time to time, but we felt more consistently fast because we focused on those small trimming details.”
Trusting North Sails Design & Expertise
Why did Soak Racing choose North for their J/70 campaign? “The reason we came back to North was that we felt their product was consistent,” said Marshall. “They were faster than any other sails out there. We thought the sails were manufactured well. We used the same XCS-2 mainsail all year, and it was still fast in Torbay. We also used the J-2 High Clew jib and AP-1 spinnaker downwind.”
“Consistency is important to me,” said Marshall. “Our sails were great all-around performers and we felt fast in all directions. We were happy in all conditions.”
“We used North’s tuning guide as a base,” added Marshall. “We found that the suggested settings were great in certain sea conditions, and in some cases, we modified them slightly until we were happy with how we were going.”
How They Won The Regatta
Soak Racing finished second in the seventh race. “It was probably one of the windiest races of the regatta. We had a bad start, but we were able to get out and find clear air, and we had unbelievable boat speed. We hit the shifts and rounded the top mark in good shape. We got to the bottom of the run right behind Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat. The second beat was a challenge, and Paul’s team extended on us. On the last run, we made sure to hang in there for a solid second-place finish.
Going into the final race of the regatta, there were two boats close on points. “At the last start, we made a late call to go right just before the gun. From there, we didn’t take any risks.” Soak Racing finished even on points with DSP but won the tiebreaker.
“DSP pushed us hard, and it came right down to the wire in the end – but that’s the excitement that comes with J/70 racing. It just doesn’t get much closer than that!”