The Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series at Marblehead Race Week, it’s been said, is a regatta of mental endurance. With no discards, every race and every point counts. There can be no quit until the final leg is sailed, especially in the waters off Marblehead Harbor where the local sailors know that the wind and weather conditions are never the same from one day to the next. And no lead is ever safe. ith nearly 140 entries across 10 classes, there were close battles, and especially so in the J/70 division, which had two 2023 J/70 World Championship qualifying berths to play for: one for a pro team and one for an all-amateur squad. The latter was bagged by locals Charlie Pendleton, Jim Raisides, Abi Borggaard and Wade Waddell on Bad Hombres after a roller coaster of a regatta. They struggled on Friday, recorded their best results on Saturday, and then almost lost it all on the final day. “On Friday, we had our worst ever day at Race Week,” Raisides said, “but it speaks to the resiliency of the team that we went out and there on Saturday and had three top-10 finishes and were the third boat overall for the day—that shows a good team.” The foursome on Bad Hombres were OCS in the first race of the final day, had to return to the start and managed to climb back to score a 20 in the 30-boat fleet. With only one race remaining, they put their disappointment behind them and focused on getting back the points they’d given up. “Our whole thing was to just keep playing forward and working for points,” Raisides said. Scoring an impressive 11th in the final race was enough to win the berth by a slim 2 points. The other world-championship berth went to John Heaton’s team on Empeiria, the top J/70 of the weekend, which stunned the fleet on Saturday by winning all three races. “It was a beautiful regatta, with epic conditions for Marblehead,” said Heaton, whose team of Zeke Horowitz, Zach Mason and Will Felder mastered the changing winds that spanned from south to west, to light and strong, especially on Saturday. “A lot of it is due to the guys, and that the boat is set up so I can drive it without intervention,” Heaton said. “I was just driving and the whole time the crew was talking about where the wind was, the clouds and the shifts. We had good starts and good speed, but these guys were banging the shifts perfectly. It was a proud day for me to watch the team click so well together.”

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