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The defending World Champion from Brazil, the multiple European Championship winner, a former World Champion and a past North American Champion are among the quality field lined up to contest next week’s BMW J24 World Championship at Howth Yacht Club which has attracted 42 entries from 10 countries.
 
Mauricio Santa Cruz from Rio de Janeiro, who has won the title four times since 2006, most recently last year, is clearly the man to beat but he won’t be short of competition. Ian Southworth of Britain, who dominated the Irish Nationals last week, won the Europeans on Howth waters two years ago and has tasted success at that level five times in total.
 
The world’s most popular one-design keelboat, the J24 is particularly strong in the USA from where several strong contenders have arrived. Among the leading lights is the 2010 World Champion Tim Healy from Newport and Travis Odenbach from Rochester, a former North American Champion.
 
Luis Olcese from Peru has consistently been at the top end of J24 fleets at various international venues and so has Japan’s Koji Matsumoto, so much is expected of them while there are a few useful German entries and leading GB entries such as Bob Turner. 
 
Local hopes centre on the young Howth U25 Keelboat Team which last weekend took the Irish title by sailing consistently throughout the 8-race series on home waters to finish behind five visitors as the leading Irish boat. Other Irish in contention will include Flor O’Driscoll, J-P McCaldin and the Darrer/Murphy partnership.
 
The Worlds will be officially opened by the Mayor of Fingal Cllr. Kieran Dennison on Saturday 24th (6pm), there’s a practice race on Sunday, and the real action starts on Monday (26th) with two races a day until Friday (30th). PRO is International Race Officer David Lovegrove.

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