The 2022 Marriot Investment Managers J/22 World Championship was held July 3-8 on the waters offshore of Durban, South Africa. Two-dozen teams from South Africa, the Cayman Islands and The Netherlands were blessed for the most part with classic Durban conditions for 11 races. In the middle of South Africa’s eastern coastline, Durban faces the island nation of Mozambique, and in between is the infamous Mozambique Straits. For those in the know, winds can whip up quickly, and the swiftly flowing northerly current (like its counterpart – the Gulf Stream – off the eastern USA coastline) can rapidly disintegrate into a cauldron of steep breaking waves in a strong northerly breeze. The J/22 fleet got a taste of that element for a day, interspersed with some glorious sailing off the Durban city waterfront, with winds too light on the final day for racing. In the end, it was readily apparent after the first two days of racing, the protagonists in the evolving epic battle for 2022 world supremacy in J/22s would come down to two very well-sailed teams. Local heroes on Nitro Juice (skipper David Rae and crew of Sean van Rensburg and Siyanda Vato) were up against the “King of the Caribbean” in the form of a powerful team from the Cayman Islands: Mike Farrington on Running With Scissors including Dre Giovannini and Joe Palone. Starting with a bullet in race one, Rae’s Nitro Juice team was eager to put their stamp on the Championship, sailing fast and smart and keeping themselves out of trouble. Their steely focus led them to an astonishing record of five firsts and four seconds to win with the final tally of a mere 13 points after two discards. Farrington’s Running With Scissors started with a trio of fourths, but in races 6 and 11 posted a 13 and 7. They ended up with 24 points to take the silver. Perhaps the biggest battle was for the final step on the podium. Richard Weddell’s crew on Da J (Rudy McNeill and Struan Campbell), Richard Weiderhold’s Battle Axe III team (Greg Plunkett and Dylan Emmet) and Markus Progli’s Nitro Monkey team (Murry Wilcocks and Ryan Black) fought every day to earn the coveted bronze medal. The Da J team averaged seventh place, but they closed the regatta with a 5-3-3-1 to vault them to third place by just two points over Battle Axe III.

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