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The 42-boat fleet at the BMW J/24 European Championship at Howth Yacht Club faced a tough schedule of five back-to-back races on the third day of the regatta, sailed in ideal conditions. They made up for the weather-affected programme and it was the consistency of the sole American entry and a leading UK contender over those five races which has put them very much in command going into the final day.

‘Reloaded’ (Mark Penfold, Rochester YC) with Mike Ingham on helm, won the first race of the day, sailed in a brisk westerly, with Irish champion Flor O’Driscoll (Hard on Port, HYC) producing the best local result to date by finishing 2nd ahead of the much-fancied ‘Il Riccio’ (Ian Southworth/Chris McLaughlin, RCYC Cowes).

The British boat moved up a gear in the second race, winning from defending champions ‘Serco’ (Bob Turner, Castle Cove SC) and the Greek champions ‘Evniki’ (Aitsiadis Dimitrios) but ‘Reloaded’ bounced back by taking the gun on the series’ 4th race ahead of ‘Serco’ again and ‘Jeli’ (Stig McDonald, R.Western YC).

Race 5 in the series saw a complete reversal of fortunes, with the honours going to boats not previously in the frame. Victory went to ‘Jawbreaker’ (David Cooper, R.Western YC) in front of German boat ‘JJone’ (Frithjof Schade, Joersfelder SC) and the Italian champions ‘La Superba’ (Ignazio Bonanno, C V Marina Militara). 

At the same time, it proved disastrous for ‘Reloaded’ and ‘Serco’ who finished 20th and 22nd respectively. Added to a black flg on the opening race, that result has had a significant impact on Serco’s chances of retaining the trophy.

The fifth race of a long day on the water for 210 competitors (and race management personnel) was a triumph for one of the J/24 Class stalwarts Stuart Jardine whose ‘Stouche’ headed ‘Hungriger Wolf’ (Johann Huhn, SVAOe) and ‘Reloaded’ to the finishing line.

With one discard in force at the moment, ‘Reloaded’ has just two points of a margin over ‘Il Riccio’, with ‘Serco’ 21 points adrift in the bronze medal position. Four races are planned for the final day (Thursday 15th) to complete the 10-race schedule.

BMW J/24 European Championships – provisional placings after 6 races:

  1. Reloaded            Mark Penfold                Rochester YC       15 pts
  2. Il Riccio               Southworth/McLaughlin   RCYC Cowes      17
  3. Serco                  Bob Turner                  Castle Cove SC    38
  4. Rotoman             Kai Mares                    Blankneser SC     41
  5. Hungriger Wolf    Johann Huhn               SVAOe                42
  6. JJone                  Frithjof Schade            Joersfelder SC     43

Please see here for more information.

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After losing the first day’s racing to the weather, day two of the BMW J/24 European Championships at Howth today (Tuesday 13th) saw one race completed in fresh and gusty south-westerly winds and witnessed a win for the defending champions (and current British champions) ‘Serco’ (Bob Turner) with Nathan Batchelor on the helm.

The 42-boat fleet got away at the second time of asking in winds touching 30 knots and it was the right-hand side of the course which was favoured, with ‘Serco’ leading around the windward mark. The downwind leg proved precarious for several boats who struggled with spinnakers in the gusty conditions, with sail damage forcing a number of retirals. 

By the end of the second beat, another British boat, ‘Il Riccio’ (David Southworth/Chris McLaughlin) had taken over the lead but as a shredded spinnaker put paid to their chances of victory and dropped them back to 5th. ‘Serco’ took the gun ahead of another British entry ‘Madeleine’ (McCarthy/Phelps), with German boats filling the next two spots, with ‘Max Bahr’ (Stefan Karsunke) and ‘Rotoman’ (Kai Mares) 3rd and 4th respectively.

Four German boats finished in the top eight while 9th place went to the highest-placed local boat, Irish champion Flor O’Driscoll and crew on ‘Hard on Port’.

With winds forecasted to increase later in the day, the fleet was sent ashore and a subsequent decision by the Race Officer David Lovegrove and his team confirmed that the conditions would not allow any further racing on the day.
It is hoped to run up to five races back-to-back on Wednesday (14th).

Please see here for more information.

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The first day of the BMW J/24 European Championships at Howth Yacht Club (Monday 12th September) fell victim to the weather when winds in excess of 30 knots and gusts over 50 knots left the Principal Race Officer David Lovegrove with no option other than to abandon racing.

It is hoped to resume racing on Tuesday (13th) with four races back-to-back, starting at the earlier time of 10.00am to try and get the 10-race series back on track. 

Weather charts for the rest of the week indicate a reduction in wind strengths from Wednesday onwards which would allow the full complement of races to be completed by Thursday afternoon.

The event has attracted 42 boats from nine countries, which include the national champions of Ireland, Britain, Germany, Italy and Greece.

Please see here for more information.

*** *** ***

Over 200 sailors from nine countries will compete in the BMW J24 European Championships which start at Howth Yacht Club next Monday (12th), hard on the heels of the Star Europeans in Dublin Bay.

Measurement and registration take place between this Friday and the practice race on Sunday, with the 10-race series concluding on Thursday 15th. Forty-two boats have entered the championship, with Irish and British entries accounting for 14 and 13 boats respectively, eight from Germany, two from Italy and one each from the USA, Holland, France, Greece and Hungary.

Six of the top eight finishers in the recent UK Championships at Weymouth will be in action, with the winner (and defending European Champion) ‘Serco’ (Bob Turner), helmed by Nathan Batchelor, and 3rd-placed ‘Stouche’ (class veteran Stuart Jardine) leading the charge.

Second at Weymouth was ‘Reloaded’ which a multi-national crew will sail under US colours. American sailmaker Mike Ingham will helm the boat owned by Englishman Mark Penfold (trimmer) with a Swedish bowman, Scottish tactician and a Danish cockpit man! Ingham is a former North American champion and was runner-up in the Worlds four years ago.

Leading the Irish challenge will be Flor O’Driscoll and the crew of ‘Hard On Port’ (RStGYC/HYC) who recently retained their national crown at Lough Erne and also won the season’s two regionals at Lough Ree and Malahide. Other local contenders will include ‘Murder Picture’ (Mickey McCaldin, LEYC), ‘Jamais Encore’ (JP McCaldin, LEYC), ‘Jibberish’ (Fergus O’Kelly & Others, HYC), ‘Carrabeg 2’ (Stefan Hyde, RCYC) and ‘Sayonara’ (Murphy/Darrer, HYC).

“We are pleased with the entry,” said Organising Committee Chairman Derek Bothwell, “as it will provide good competitive racing afloat and at the same time act as a welcome boost to the local economy with so many overseas visitors.”

PRO for the BMW J24 Championships is the highly experienced IRO David Lovegrove and the schedule starts with three back-to-back races next Monday.

Please see here for more information.

*** *** ***

Entries for the BMW J24 European Championships, to be hosted by Howth Yacht Club in two weeks time, have now reached the 40-boat mark from eight nations, making for an impressive fleet when racing starts on September 12th.

Irish and British entries account for 13 boats each, there are eight from Germany and two from Italy, while Holland, USA, France and Greece each have one representative.

“We are delighted with the entry level,” said Organising Committee Chairman Derek Bothwell. “Forty boats represent 200 sailors plus additional numbers with family members in Howth for the event, so it is a major occasion in every respect.” A social programme has also been arranged to keep the visitors entertained after racing each day.

The 10-race series starts on Monday 12th under the control of PRO David Lovegrove and his team, and is preceded by three days of registration and measurement and a practice race on Sunday 11th.

Irish entries will have the opportunity of extra practice on the European race track the previous weekend when neighbouring club Malahide YC hosts the J24 Eastern Championships over two days.

Please see here for more information.

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