Black Flag Thriller on Day 4 of the J/24 World Championship
September 04, 2015
Ian Southworth, Mike Ingham, and Ian Southworth again: After a black flag disqualification in the second race, Southworth (GBR 5219) kept his cool and sailed on to stabilize his lead. With just one day to go, it is getting harder for the other crews to push the Englishman off the top spot. On the fourth day of the J/24 World Championship, the weather gods played wicked games with the nerves of the competitors. In conditions ranging from 6-10 knots of wind, 20-30 degree wind shifts demanded quick and often audacious tactical decisions. Southworth, who has been in the lead from day two, made his biggest error so far in Thursday’s middle race when he was caught over the line in a black flag situation. Disqualified from this race, Southworth and his crew were forced to sit it out and watch rival Mike Ingham (USA 5443) on the course, but were relieved when Ingham ended seventh. In the last race of the day, which saw extreme wind shifts, Southworth was back on track and sailed home first. On the eve of the final day of racing, 9 points divide him from second-placed Ingham, so both Southworth and his crew will need to stay very focused. Travis Odenbach (USA 5432), currently third, is followed by a young German crew: Team Tinto from Hamburg are thrilled by their success in Boltenhagen. “Our day started with a little nightmare,” explained tactician Max Bischoff. “Leaving the harbor, we noticed our rudder fitting was broken. We quickly changed the rudder and had the alteration approved by the Jury, arriving just in time to start the race. The adrenalin stayed high when we realized we were pretty close to the leading bunch. There was a lot to win, but equally much to lose.” Throughout the day, it proved crucial to make quick and courageous decisions. “In the last race, we rounded the first mark as one of the last boats,” continued Bischoff. “Then we chose the right side of the course and gained a vast amount. In the end, we finished sixth.” Competition for the top ten positions stays tight. There will be two more races on the final day of the Championship 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.