Southworth and team extend lead at J/24 Europeans after three days 28/9/06

What a difference a day makes, after the Tuesday’s light and sunny conditions, Wednesday showed Poole Bay in a different light for day three of the J/24 European championship.

A fresh southerly breeze, and the infamous short Poole chop meant the J/24s had a hard day’s racing, and at the end of play there was a fair amount of damage to repair.

The first race started on time with the fleet getting away cleanly however, several boats miscalculated the strong tidal stream at the mark and ended up either hitting it or tacking onto port. Madeline lost several places, and Rotoman from Germany lived up to her name, taking three penalty turns, but honesty paid, and she recovered 13 lost places by the finish. Owens J was damaged, and Max Bahr from Germany retired from the regatta with major damage.

At the end, Ian Southworth’s Hedgehog won from Team Gul and Stouche.

An increasing wind in the second race meant that the majority of the fleet had changed to jibs; even rougher seas took their toll, with Jam losing her rudder and having to sit out the rest of the day’s racing behind a mother boat.

Southworth and team on Hedgehog took the second win of the day from Serco and Team Gul.

The fleet started the third race after one general recall in a solid 14-17 knots and Serco rounded the to mark first, followed by Volvo Hedgehog and Team Gul.

The following breezy run in a large sea produced an exhilarating ride, with a lot of place changes. And after the second beat it wasn’t surprising to see Hedgehog leading the show once again followed by Serco and Volvo. Just before the finish one of the Volvo crew slid off during the gybe, but Simon Fry rescued the wet crew, and Volvo held on to her third place.

After three days of racing Hedgehog is solidly in the lead with five first places, and Serco and team Gul second and third respectively, but Stouche and Madelin both had an average third day to leave third, fourth and fifth places very open.