Malibu Brothers Sail to Victory at International Regatta

Threatening Minors, crewed by three Malibu brothers, No. 38, jockeys for position.

A Malibu team has just won its division in an international sailing regatta that took place in Marina del Rey last weekend. Among the five-man crew were the three Janov brothers—Jordan, Grant and Ryan—all Malibu natives.

The J70 World Championship is an invitational championship regatta that began on Aug. 7. Some of the best sailors in the world from as far as the United Kingdom, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and Chile, among other countries, raced Aug. 11-15 for five days of tough competition. Sixty-one boats and their crews participated in three categories all using the same J70 sailboat.

The J70 is one of the most popular design classes in the world. 

“One-design boats are all the same. So, therefore, the ability to do better than another boat is based upon your sailing ability rather than any changes to the boat,” said Jay Janov, whose three sons won their One Pro division. The J70 is a seven-meter sailboat that’s crewed with four to five people. It’s a sloop with a main, jib and spinnaker. 

“The boat has strict measurements, weight and dimension to make certain all of them are the same. It’s the most popular keel boat one-design fleet in the world and therefore attracted some of the best sailors in the world,” Jay explained. 

The fleet included sailors from Elite America’s Cup, U.S. Rolex sailors of the year, Olympians, hall of famers and other world champions. It was broken into three divisions: The “open” division consists of three to five professional sailors. The “one pro” division can have just one professional and the “Corinthian” division is all amateur. 

The team based out of Malibu called The Threatening Minors consisted of the Malibu brothers—skipper Jordan Janov, 15, of Malibu High School; main trimmer Grant Janov, 18, an MHS graduate headed to UCLA; and jib trimmer Ryan Janov, 21, an MHS graduate returning to George Washington University—plus tactician Willie McBride, 31, an Olympic coach from Santa Barbara; and bow Reddin Kherli, 16, of the California Yacht Club.

Many of the crews competing in last week’s event had been practicing for more than a year. The race was delayed from 2020 due to the pandemic. Jay, who also competed in the regatta, explained that it is common practice to hire coaches. 

“Many had resources that were endless. They brought boats from distant places and practiced many months here in our local waters,” Jay said. “In Santa Monica Bay where the races were held just north of the Venice Pier, it’s considered to be quite choppy compared to other parts of the world. This time of the year we have a shifty breeze which makes for tricky conditions.”

The boats race closely together—at times only inches apart. 

The Threatening Minors had undergone tactical training on a skiff after returning from another race in Poland. The crew had to work extremely hard on their boat to make specifications, including “one evening working till one a.m.,” Jay recalled. 

“They measured their lines, their keel, sanded the boat, polished it and they practiced for many hours, but much less than their competition [did],” according to the Janov brothers’ dad. “It’s quite remarkable what the kids did winning the One Pro [Division] and overall coming in 15th.  In doing so, they beat a U.S. Sailing hall of famer, several Olympians [and] a number of great professionals. The fact they did so well with such little time in the boat really was a great achievement and it was recognized by a lot of the other great sailors there. They were complimented highly.”