Congratulations Alejo on your big win at the Worlds!
Growing up what kind of boats you sailed as young sailor and some role models that you followed. How did you get so good, junior teams, etc…
Alejo - I started sailing Optimist at the age of nine until I was 15. I competed in the 1999 South Americans (Buenos Aires) and the 1999 North Americans (Corpus Christi) . Then, I began sailing the Cadet Class for 2 years as helmsman. I sailed with one of my brothers (Santiago); together we finished 3rd in the Worlds in 2001.
When was 18 my parents made a real effort to buy me a Laser, in which I sailed 2 years approximately. Two years later, in the summer of 2004, I met Gustavo Gonzalez. He bought a J24 called LUCA and I became the helmsman. The crew was formed with another brother of mine (Nicolas - Tactician) and Joaquin Duarte Argerich (Bowman). Gustavo was the trimmer.
We sailed together in 3 Worlds Championship, Noroton U.S.A. 2004 (finished 4th), Weymouth U.K 2005 (finished 5th) and Puerto Vallarta 2007 (7th place). In these regattas, we had the opportunity to be with many good sailors, specially, in the Worlds of Noroton (Connecticut), there were some World champions of other classes, Olympics Medalists. I have great memories of that Worlds.
In 2007 won the Silver medial in the PanAm Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Later, Gustavo got a Star boat, so we frequently sailed it. In 2008, we tried for the Olympic Games, but we finished 24th in the World Championship in Miami. That was a good position for us (24/105), but it wasn't enough for taking the Olympic position. However, that Star championship was great, full of big names: Reynolds, Scheidt, Percy, etc. It was incredible.
After that, I sailed the Stars with Juan Percossi as crew. We finished 9th place (and won the junior trophy) in the Stars World Championship in Varverg (2009), Sweden. We sailed to the 2010 Star World, in Brazil where we finished 20th, not as good as the previous Worlds, but not bad at all.
At the end of 2010, I went back to the J24 class, and we started our journey to the Worlds of 2011.
Tell us about your J/24 Team, their roles and how long you have been sailing together.
Alejo - We started sailing together around October 2010, sailing some regattas n Buenos Aires such as the Nationals in Mar Del Plata, 400 km south of Buenos Aires, with great sea conditions. A beautiful place for sailing! Then, we started 2011 with the South American in Montevideo, Uruguay. We did well and won, so there we kept the place for the worlds. There were some months that we didn't sail that much, but in September we started a real marathon of regattas, with our goal on the Worlds.
Why did you choose our Twaron Paneled Genoa over say The 3DL?Alejo - The real reason is that we`ve always been sailing with the paneled genoa. We sailed against other crews with the 3DL and we didn't feel a big difference. Finally, we put our efforts in training in aspects of the races... as starts, gybes, tacks...We didn't have enough time to take a look at the 3DLs.
Discuss your team’s strategy/tactics during the event. Also-the same for staying out of trouble with all the Black Flags.
Alejo - We didn't have a good start at the Worlds. During the first race, with light air, around 6 Knts, we chose the wrong side of the course in the first leg, and after a big recovery, we finished 17th. That wasn't a good start if we wanted to win the worlds. But we had the cold blood to get back to the championship winning the second race.
After the first day we knew that we had chances to win the Worlds, but we couldn't afford to make any more mistakes. The second day wasn't great, but we were consistently in the top ten.
The third day was very difficult. The start line was just crossed by the current, and it makes you get on the course side before the top. When we realized that all the fleet had made that mistake one time and another, we tried not to take that risk. That day we finished a 1st and a 6th, and we felt our chances were improving..
We tried to keep our performance and to get closer to Healy's team on the fourth day. After Healy's DSQ we kept the leadership with the Peruvian team 4 points behind us.
The last day was terrible. No wind for one hour, two, and three. It was extremely difficult to keep the concentration on that last race. 40 minutes before the time limit to the race, a sudden breeze came in and the race began. We did well and got a 4th position, which was enough to win the Worlds.
Tuning Numbers - Do you go by our tuning guide or do you have your own matrix? Maybe discuss backstay, pole height downwind, etc…
Alejo - Usually, we check the tension of the shrouds before we go sailing. We put them in the neutral numbers of the North Sails tuning guide and then follow the guide pretty much. Despite that, we make little adjustments of the shrouds depending on the waves and the tendency of the wind. Usually, the bowman checks the shouds of leeward before racing, and tells me about what he thinks of that. With that, and the shape of the mainsail, we decide the final adjusts of the shrouds.
For the backstay, I try to keep it loose all that is possible with light and medium winds. when the wind increases first I luff the main with the traveler, and after that, the backstay.
The pole is a matter of the trimmer, but I like to use it a little down in light winds and keep it up with more wind, but not much high.
Future: are you guys planning to go to The Rochester Worlds? What else is on the horizon?
Alejo - Yes, the idea is to go for the 2012 Worlds in Rochester to defend it. I'm sure there will be may J24 teams and it will be a great event. I intend to race in Stars again and try for a Olympic spot.We will continue sailing the J24, hoping for a spot in the next PanAm Games.