It was very much a case of North American domination on the fourth day of competition at the BMW J24 Worlds at Howth Yacht Club (near Dublin, Ireland), with Tim Healy of Newport winning the first and third races of the day while compatriot Travis Odenbach's win in the second one has taken the crew from Rochester, NY, into the overall lead going into the final day.
Conversely, it was not such a good day for the South Americans from Brazil as defending champion Mauricio Santa Cruz had his worst results of the series, highlighted by an 18th in the second race, which drops him to third overall. It proved a very good day, however, for Mossy Shanahan of the host club who scored a sixth, third and fourth, each finish being the best local result in the series to date.
In fresh winds that fluctuated between south-west and west in direction, Healy enjoyed the conditions best to take the gun in the first race of the day from Britain's Ian Southworth and then Odenbach, while Santa Cruz's seventh dropped him from top spot after six races.
The biggest upsets came in the seventh race of the series, where several of the leading boats were caught out by a significant wind-shift on the first beat and eventually ended up in mid-fleet positions. Odenbach, on the other hand, clawed his way back superbly to take line honours ahead of Britain's Paul Williams and Ireland's Shanahan to open up a lead at the top of the leaderboard.
The series' eight race was another triumph for Healy and his crew but his biggest rival Odenbach secured a second for a highly consistent 3, 1, 2 scorecard for the day. After a poor result in the previous race, Ian Southworth returned to form to finish third and move into fourth overall.
Two more races are scheduled for the final day to complete the 10-race programme, with all eyes on the two US crews and Santa Cruz as the main contenders for the title. Odenbach holds a 6-point lead over Healy who has only one point to spare over the Brazilian.
After eight races, the provisional overall standings (with one discard) are:
1. Travis Odenbach (USA) 23 points
2. Tim Healy (USA) 29 points
3. Mauricio Santa Cruz (Brazil) 30 points
4. Ian Southworth (GB) 46 points
5. Rotoman (Ger) 55 points
6. I. Bonanno (Italy) 65 points
7. Keith Whittemore (USA) 68 points
8. Bob Turner (GB) 70 points
9. Sullberg (Ger) 88 points
10. Tony Parker (USA) 90 points