J24 World Championship - North American domination on day 4

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: The start of a race during the penultimate day at the BMW J24 World Championships at Howth Yacht Club where 40 boats from ten nations are competing.
It was very much a case of North American domination on day four of competition at the BMW J24 World Championship at Howth Yacht Club (near Dublin, Ireland), with Tim Healy of Newport winning the first and third races of the day while compatriot Travis Odenbach’s win in the second one has taken the crew from Rochester, NY, into the overall lead going into the final day.

Conversely, it was not such a good day for the South Americans from Brazil as defending champion Mauricio Santa Cruz had his worst results of the series, highlighted by an 18th in the second race, which drops him to third overall. It proved a very good day, however, for Mossy Shanahan of the host club who scored a sixth, third and fourth, each finish being the best local result in the series to date.

In fresh winds that fluctuated between south-west and west in direction, Healy enjoyed the conditions best to take the gun in the first race of the day from Britain’s Ian Southworth and then Odenbach, while Santa Cruz’s seventh dropped him from top spot after six races.

The biggest upsets came in the seventh race of the series, where several of the leading boats were caught out by a significant wind-shift on the first beat and eventually ended up in mid-fleet positions. Odenbach, on the other hand, clawed his way back superbly to take line honours ahead of Britain’s Paul Williams and Ireland’s Shanahan to open up a lead at the top of the leaderboard.

The series’ eight race was another triumph for Healy and his crew but his biggest rival Odenbach secured a second for a highly consistent 3, 1, 2 scorecard for the day. After a poor result in the previous race, Ian Southworth returned to form to finish third and move into fourth overall.

Two more races are scheduled for the final day (Friday 30th) to complete the 10-race programme, with all eyes on the two US crews and Santa Cruz as the main contenders for the title. Odenbach holds a 6-point lead over Healy who has only one point to spare over the Brazilian.

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: British skipper Ian Southworth (right) on Il Riccio duels with Tim Healy on Helly Hansen of the United States at the front of the 40-strong BMW J24 World Championships fleet off Howth.

Britain’s Ian Southworth and his team in action.

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: Dark clouds over the course area off Ireland's Eye brought shifting winds to the 40 boat fleet racing in the BMW J24 World Championships at Howth Yacht Club yesterday (Thursday).

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: The General Recall flag is displayed by Alan Pearson after the start of a race during the penultimate day at the BMW J24 World Championships at Howth Yacht Club where 40 boats from ten nations are competing.

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: Race Officer Judith Malcolm signals the start of a race during the penultimate day at the BMW J24 World Championships at Howth Yacht Club where 40 boats from ten nations are competing.

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove checks the starting-line before a race sequence begins during the BMW J24 World Championships at Howth Yacht Club.

Howth Yacht Club, Co. Dublin, Ireland; Thursday 29th August 2013: The Howth Yacht Club Under 25 keelboat team competing on Euro Car Parks in Race 7 of the BMW J24 World Championships off Ireland's Eye.

After eight races, the provisional overall standings (with one discard) are:

1. Travis Odenbach (USA) 23 points
2. Tim Healy (USA) 29 points
3. Mauricio Santa Cruz (Brazil) 30 points
4. Ian Southworth (GB) 46 points
5. Rotoman (Ger) 55 points
6. I. Bonanno (Italy) 65 points
7. Keith Whittemore (USA) 68 points
8. Bob Turner (GB) 70 points
9. Sullberg (Ger) 88 points
10. Tony Parker (USA) 90 points

Event website
http://www.sail-world.com/113810