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7 May 2009, 11:00 am
PARKER New Leader At J/24 Worlds
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J/24 World Championship 2009
Annapolis, Maryland, USA

US skipper Tony PARKER and his Bangor Packet team have hit the front following the third day of racing at the J/24 World Championship in Annapolis, USA.
With continued light air, this time from the southeast, the sailors competing in the 2009 J/24 World Championship saw only one race completed on day three, and although the air went nearly flat in mid-race, the time limit was met and everyone was able to finish. The conditions did result in some startling upsets for some of the early leaders, while those who were able to capitalize on good decisions early made out well.

Taking second in Wednesday's race was Washingtonian Tony PARKER, whose Bangor Packet team moved to the top of the 79-boat fleet. Sailing with PARKER, a long-time J/24 veteran with plenty of successes on his resume, are Dave SCHOENE, Geoff EWENSON, John MCCABE, and Mattie FARRAR.

"We started at the midline boat," EWENSON said, "and had a clean start. One thing we really work for is to control our own destiny for the first five minutes, which means, for example, that if we want to tack, we have room to do it.

"With the breeze as light as it was, we knew the current was going to be the biggest factor. The left side had more favourable current, and we found a fortuitous breeze line halfway up the first beat. We really worked hard to play the left side, and it turned into a one-way race track up that side."

In addition to the current, reading the wind also figured into the team's success. "It was very spotty," EWENSON explained. "The shifts were happening so fast, it was really all about staying in the pressure, and there always seemed to be more pressure on the left."

"It built to about 6-1/2 to 7 knots right before the scheduled start," said Principal Race Officer Sandy GROSVENOR. "To my astonishment, and despite about a knot of current setting them into the course, they got off a clear start with only two boats over early, and they came back."

GROSVENOR said that before the race, she expressed concern about the current to IJCA Technical Committee Chair Lorne CHAPMAN. "He said to me, 'These are the best J/24 sailors in the world. They'll figure it out.' And they did."

GROSVENOR said that the breeze flattened down to about 2 knots during the race, but never completely died.

"The guys who were not on the favoured side had a hard time in no wind," said Canadian Rossi MILEV, whose Clear Air crew moved into third with a sixth-place finish today. "If you were ahead, you could go around the bottom mark and into the favourable current, while the other guys were still fighting the current to get around."

Racing will continue through until Friday. A worst-race throwout will factor into the scoring once a total of five races has been reached. Wind forecasts for Thursday and Friday are more favourable, so that goal should be attained or exceeded by the regatta's end.

For more information and complete results, see www.j24worldchampionship2009.com.
Dobbs Davis
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