J/24 Worlds 2015, Day 3: Ian Southworth is a class of his own

Posted 02 September 2015

On day 3 of the J/24 World Championships in Boltenhagen, Germany, the fleet faced wind up to 20 knots. It was again Ian Southworth (GBR 5219) who sailed two excellent races and kept his lead on the second-placed Mike Ingham (USA 5443). But also Travis Odenbach (USA 5432) has entered the stage.
With two more days to go, a slight idea is coming up who may be the winner of the J/24 World Championship. Ian Southworth and his crew, with a third and a first place today, are showing a more than constant series. Southworth, who narrowly lost the worlds 2010 and ended fourth in the years 2012 and 2013, is focused on finally winning this trophy. The crew so far has rebuilt five J/24 and, with number 5, called “Il Riccio” which is Italian for “Hedgehog”, has found the ideal setup.

But competition stays hard as there are two excellent and experienced US teams in pursuit of “Il Riccio”: Mike Ingham, with 2014 world champion Will Welles as a tactician, and Travis Odenbach, who is also a very skilled J/24 sailor.

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 big fun today, though the conditions were pretty tough for a crew as light as we are. After a good start, we found a 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 excellent”, said Laura 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 some points of difference, the fight for the Top Ten position stays tight. For Thursday, the weather forecast sees the wind decreasing to an average of 11 knots, which may favour the lighter crew like the Japanese Tokuma Takesue, currently in fourth place.

Tonight, the crew will gather for the traditional “Champions Dinner” held by the organiszing club Norddeutscher Regatta Verein. The first warning on Thursday will be at 12:00 hrs. All races can be tracked live via Trac Trac.

Credit: J24 World Championships