Talk with two time J70 World Champion tactician, Victor Diaz

Team Relative Obscurity won the J70 2021 World Championship in Marina del Rey. We got a chance to catch up with their tactician, Victor Diaz de Leon, about their victory. Relative Obscurity’s team is comprised of skipper Peter Duncan, tactician Victor Diaz de Leon, trimmer Willem van Waay, and bow Morgan (Truby) Trubovich. In regards to the team, Victor remarked,  “Peter, Willem, and I have done so much sailing together. We won the Porto Cervo Worlds with Jud on bow, but are now fortunate to have Morgan up front for this event. When I am head down with Peter to keep the boat fast, Willem is also so good with tactics and feeding valuable information. Truby was the knot that tied it all together with great chemistry and new energy. He is so effective with his communication. Their discussions on the rail as a second and third set of eyes kept me confident in my plans. The Worlds was such a tricky event. We felt good with our speed both upwind and downwind, so we knew if we kept chipping away and making low risk decisions, that we would be in the top of the fleet”

Victor praises the new Doyle structured luff jib, “We loved the J11 Structured Luff Jib. That’s a sexy sail. The J11 is very versatile. We had success in strong winds as well as very light air. It is very powered up, but is able to go uprange. With the 11, we are able to hold a lane with good point without sacrificing power. With the structured luff, the halyard has a powerful effect on the shape. That is a good feature of the sail. We have won three regattas with the J11SL: Annapolis North Americans in light sometimes drifting conditions, Cal Cup with more wind, and Marina del Rey Worlds with a mixed bag of conditions. We felt we had an edge in all of our tune ups in both heavier and light breeze.”  Sail designer, Jud Smith, explains, “The structured luff helps support the headstay when the breeze comes up in an afternoon race or the windier days. When we realized we needed a more powerful jib for a potentially light Marina del Rey Worlds, we knew we needed to come up with a panel layout that would support the headstay and reduce headstay sag as it got more up range as well. Doyle is renowned for its structured luff headsails, so we applied that concept to one design sails. It has been a huge success.”

Spectators, both in person and online, may have observed how close the points were during the Marina del Rey Worlds. Relative Obscurity went into the last race with only a two point lead. The last start included a black flag with general recalls being prominent. Victor explains, “We felt the pin was favored on the last start, but given the black flag, we made the conservative decision to bail. We started the race out pretty far behind, with all the boats we were close in points with up in the top five. Fortunately, there was a bit of a train on the first downwind leg. Instead, we went low and got some pressure, getting us closer to our competition, while not really letting them go to the leeward left gate. We felt the S-12 kit was a big contributor to our comeback in that last race, as we were able to soak lower and have an edge. Once we were able to catch boats downwind, we were in a spot back on the leaderboard and from there managed the race in terms of who we needed to cover the most and who we needed to buffer.” On the dock, Peter Duncan talked about his elation in getting honors after a tough start, “It was very cool that there were four boats who could have won this thing in the last race. To me, that’s really fun, exciting sailing.”

Relative Obscurity ended up clenching victory overall by 4 points in front of second place boat, Midlife Crisis.To illustrate how close the points were at the top, Catapult, the fifth place boat was only 8 points behind Relative Obscurity! These three teams were able to do a lot of training together before the event and that effort showed. Victor commented, “It is so nice to have such great training partners. Towards the end of the Worlds, we started doing splits upwind and downwind. Having Jud as a coach is incredibly helpful. He is so knowledgeable with set up, sails, and especially how forecasting and weather will impact racing. When Jud is in my corner, it instills a lot of confidence in me.”

Doyle Sails were on 4 of top 5 boats at this World Championship, with Relative Obscurity’s training partners, Midlife Crisis & Catapult, joining them in the the top five. Doyle J70 Sails have powered the winners of the 2017 Porto Cervo Worlds, winners of the 2018 Marblehead Worlds, runner-ups of the 2019 Torquay Worlds, and winners of the 2021 Marina del Rey Worlds.

All images courtesy of Doyle Sails One Design expert Jud Smith, article by Lindsay Smith.

Regatta website and daily results can be found here. For more information on Doyle Sails One Design J70’s click here.

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