J/24 European Championship, four races in spectacular conditions

Porto Cervo, 14 June 2024. Today was a busy day for the fleet of almost 50 J/24s competing in their European Championship on the waters off Porto Cervo. No less than four races were held, making up for the stop caused by yesterday’s strong Mistral wind, and ticking off the minimum number of races required to make the championship valid.

The event is organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda with the International J24 Class Association, the Italian J/24 Class Association, and the support of title sponsor Range Rover.

Clear skies, sunshine, and the island of Caprera in the background, were accompanied by a much more manageable Mistral breeze compared to yesterday, blowing between 16 and 12 knots and rotating northwards. These are some of the classic elements that make the Costa Smeralda an ideal racing location, and which allowed the first four hard-fought and entertaining races of the championship to take place. When conditions are as perfect as today’s, seeing such a large fleet sailing compactly, with intense battles at mark roundings and photo finishes on the line, is a spectacle in itself, even beyond the sporting aspect.

When the Mistral blows, the left side of the race course, closest to the coast, is generally favoured, even when the wind pressure may seem better on the right side, which proved to be true in the first race of the day. With the breeze rotating and growing lighter, more tactical options opened up for the following races, generally favouring those who started in a central position on the line.

Victory in the first race went to the Hungarian boat J.Bond, helmed by Baladz Tomai, with a Corinthian crew that posted the most consistent results (1-4-7-6), and the only one to avoid going into double figures. Contrary to what the scoreboard might indicate, their best race was not the first, but the final one, where they pulled off an excellent recovery after a difficult start which forced them to come back around the pin end and start last.

Baladsz Tomai, helmsman on J.Bond: “The weather conditions today were challenging but fantastic, the schedule was to complete four races and it was followed to the letter. Thanks to good starts, we managed to maintain a very good average of results. Only in the last race we didn’t get off to a good start, but we managed to recover during the course of the race by looking to sail as much as possible in clean air.”

Ireland’s Headcase, the reigning European champion with Cillian Dixon at the helm, showed their pedigree with two bullets and a third-place finish. Having seemed to be firmly in the lead, the last race of the day brought a bad start and left them “squashed” in the middle of the group, closing in 14th position, a result that leaves them in second place overall in the provisional ranking, just one point behind J.Bond. Their noteworthy victory in the second race was obtained at the last gybe, just metres from the finish line, at the expense of Jamaica, owned by Pietro Diamanti, President of the Italian fleet and fourth in the overall ranking. Once five races have been completed, competitors will have the possibility of discarding their worst result, meaning that the field is still wide open. 

Cillian Dixon, helmsman on Headcase: “It was a beautiful day with fantastic weather conditions. The Race Committee did a great job of enabling us to catch up on the races that couldn’t be sailed yesterday due to the strong winds. We won two races today, the first one was close: everything was decided on the last downwind gybe. The second was just perfect, we started well on the right side and managed to stay ahead of the fleet for the whole race. The last race proved to be tricky, the fleet is very competitive and if you don’t start well it’s difficult to recover. In any case, we’re happy with the position we’re in at the moment, there is great teamwork on board and we put in a lot of effort today. We still have a lot of races ahead of us, we will give it our best.”

Third place in the provisional overall classification, just two points off the top, is held by La Superba, which represents the Italian Navy and is the current world vice-champion, helmed by Ignazio Bonanno with Gabrio Zandonà on tactics. After a first race that saw La Superba forced to climb back up the fleet to finish 12th, the remaining results were decidedly more consistent: 3-2-3.

Tomorrow the J/24 fleet will once again take to the race course at the earlier time of 10 a.m. CEST. The forecast indicates southeasterly winds of 10 to 15 knots.

For further informationresultsentry listprogrammepress release, please visit the YCCS website or contact the YCCS Press Office.


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