J/24 World Championships Day 3: Ian Southworth in a Class of His Own

On day three of the J/24 World Championship in Boltenhagen, Germany, the fleet faced winds of up to 20 knots. It was again Ian Southworth (GBR 5219) who sailed two excellent races and kept his lead over second-place Mike Ingham (USA 5443). Travis Odenbach (USA 5432) also entered center stage, moving into third place. With two more days to go, one team clearly has the form to win this year’s J/24 World Championship. Ian Southworth and his crew, with a third and a first place Wednesday, are putting together a very consistent series. Southworth, who narrowly lost the Worlds 2010 and ended up fourth in 2012 and 2013, is totally focused on finally winning this trophy. His crew has so far sailed five different J/24s and, with number five, called Il Riccio (which is Italian for hedgehog), they seem to have found the ideal setup. But competition remains tough as there are two excellent and experienced US teams hot on the tail of Il Riccio: Mike Ingham (with 2014 World Champion Will Welles as a tactician) and Travis Odenbach. Despite the strong winds, day three of the Worlds saw the first all-female crew in the top ten: Ragna Thönnessen and her crew of Juelssand (GER 5313) finished in eighth position in the second race of the day. “This is our best result at a Word Championship so far,” said bow woman Laura Hatje. “Sailing was great fun, though the conditions were pretty tough for a crew as light as we are. After a good start, we found very good boat speed and took the right tactical decisions.” The Juelssand crew has been sailing together since 2008. With an average age of 25, they are one of the youngest teams in the fleet. “Ian and his crew are doing amazingly well,” continued Hatje. “Our bet is that they will be the new World Champions. But up to now, the results are very mixed, so racing stays exciting!” With just a few points apart, the fight for the top ten stays tight. In the evening, the crews gathered for the traditional “Champions Dinner” held by the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein who is organizing the event. Racing continues through Friday for the entrants representing Argentina, Barbados, Brazil, France, Great Britain, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Peru, Sweden and the USA. Complete regatta information and results may be found at http://www.j24worlds2015.com/Home/. Race Tracking to follow the races live is available at http://www.tractrac.com/index.php?page=eventpage&id=592.

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