The West Marine J/70 World Championship is heading for a thrilling finale Saturday. On the penultimate day, three races were held and five American teams now occupy the top of the leaderboard. Jud Smith’s Africa (Eastern YC) is now in pole position by a single point from Bruno Pasquinelli’s Stampede (Fort Worth BC). Jack Franco’s 3 Ball JT (Lakewood YC) is now third, three points off the lead. Defending J/70 World Champion Peter Duncan (American YC), racing Relative Obscurity is in fourth, just a point ahead of Brian Keane’s Savasana (Beverly YC). Winning the J/70 World Championship would be a fairy tale ending for Jud Smith, who is a long-standing member of the Eastern YC, hosting the fifth edition of the J/70 World Championship. Two powerful teams from Texas are the immediate opposition, in the shape of Stampede and 3 Ball JT. Luis Bugallo (ESP), racing Marnatura, has all but sealed the Corinthian World Championship title with another impressive day on the race course, scoring a 27-7-3 to lift the team from Vigo to sixth place overall, just ahead of Jose Maria Torcida (ESP) racing Noticia. Congratulations should also go to Flavio Andrade (BRA) racing OceanPact, Martin Dent (GBR) racing Jelvis, and Bruce Golison (USA) racing Midlife Crisis, who all won races Friday. “It was very exciting to win today, and every race is interesting because there are so many opportunities during the racing,” commented Ocean Pact’s Flavio Andrade. “We haven’t had a lot of time to train this year, so this regatta has been a challenge for us. There are three Brazilian boats in Marblehead, and we have been given such a great welcome by the Eastern Yacht Club.” Jelvis’ Martin Dent, a double J/111 World Champion, said, “This is a really tough fleet, and it is getting tougher. The top teams have been racing in the Class for many years, and that time together, and the knowledge they have about the boats, is the reason why they are the best. We got our bit of luck, getting on the right side of two big wind shifts. It was very satisfying to get a win in a fleet as good as this.” PRO Hank Stuart commented after racing, “We have had a huge variety of conditions at the Championship, which has really kept the race team busy. Today in the last race, we anticipated two big wind shifts.” Racing for the 2018 West Marine J/70 World Championship concludes Saturday. For live updates from the race course go to: https://www.facebook.com/j70worlds. For daily news, pictures and videos: www.j70worlds2018.com.