In stark contrast to the previous day, ideal sailing conditions prevailed at Howth Yacht Club (near Dublin, Ireland) on the third day of the BMW J24 World Championship to allow three races to be completed, resulting in just seven points separating the top five boats after one discard is taken into account.
Defending champion Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil, a model of consistency with four top three finishes, leads the fleet overall but the crew from Rio is being pressed all the way by former World Champion Tim Healy of the USA who is only two points adrift. He in turn has only two points to spare over Britain's Ian Southworth.
The third race of the series, in fresh south-easterly winds, saw Healy take line honours ahead of Bob Turner (GB), another American Travis Odenbach and Santa Cruz.
Turner's boat, helmed by Nathan Batchelor, went one better in the fourth race with a comfortable margin of victory over Santa Cruz who had Ian Southworth (GB) chasing him. The British boat had a cracking start and the leading pack all gained by going right on the first beat.
Southworth, who was black-flagged with five other boats on the abandoned race on day 2 and carried the penalty into the third day, made up for that disappointment with a bullet in the fifth race. Healy finished up a satisfactory day with a second ahead of Santa Cruz to set up an interesting penultimate day of competition.
With five races completed, the provisional overall standings (with one discard) are:
1. Mauricio Santa Cruz (BRA) 11 points
2. Tim Healy (USA) 13 points
3. Ian Southworth (GBR) 15 points
4. Travis Odenbach (USA) 17 points
5. Keith Whittemore (USA) 18 points
6. I. Bonanno (ITA) 27 points
7. Bob Turner (GBR) 32 points
8. Blankeneser SC (GER) 32 points
9. Tony Parker (USA) 38 points
10. Joersfelder SC (GER) 39 points