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J-Class Worlds - Ranger take first win

Ranger put their first win of the regatta on their fast improving scoreline as Lionheart take a four point lead from Hanuman at the J-Class World Championship.

Ranger's delta over second placed Lionheart was down to only one second. And the margin between Svea in third and fourth placed Velsheda was also one tiny second.

With Lionheart crossing in second and Hanuman languishing in sixth, it is the Dutch flagged Lionheart which goes into the final day of this inaugural world championship event with a lead of four points over the US team Hanuman.

The long, five and a half hour wait for the Newport sea breeze to arrive proved to be well worth it as the six J Class World Championship teams were rewarded with their closest race yet.

Ranger, with multiple America's Cup winner Murray Jones on tactics and Erle Williams skipper-helm, read the first beat best, holding to the left after starting fast and clean as the leftmost boat.

They stayed clear of the cluster at the signal boat end of the line where the perceived logic seemed to be that the 'usual' right would pay.

Hanuman was held late at the boat end and then had to live to leeward, in check by Topaz while the middle left yielded a solid shift in wind direction to the left.

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While Ranger neatly leebowed Lionheart to lead around the top mark, early challengers Svea were penalised for tacking too close to Ranger on the final approach to the turn.

With title rivals Hanuman being boxed out to the right Lionheart sailed a solid, smart, safe beat to round second at the first top turn.

They separated slightly to the left of the run and made a small gain on the leaders, but the white hulled 2003 built Ranger prevailed across the finish line.

Ranger have now gone 3, 2, 1 from the last three races – equalled only by title favourites Lionheart - to stake a claim to third, meantime.

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In contrast Hanuman's title challenge has been derailed by a fifth yesterday and now a sixth.

With a four points deficit, the hugely talented Hanuman team may face a tough test to win overall but it is well within their reach, particularly if two races are sailed.

A thrilling, fitting finale is on the cards and a huge spectator crowd is anticipated.

Ranger are only two points behind Hanuman and the 'newcomers' Topaz and Svea are only one and two points respectively off the podium. As Lionheart's Mottl succinctly summarises, it is 'all on'.

J Class World Championship, Newport RI

Race 6
1st Ranger
2nd Lionheart
3rd Svea
4th Velsheda
5th Topaz
6th Hanumnan

Standings after six races
1st Lionheart 15pts (3, 3, 3, 1, 3, 2)
2nd Hanuman 19pts (1, 4, 1, 2, 5, 6)
3rd Ranger 21pts(5, 6, 4, 3, 2, 1)
4th Topaz 22pts (4, 1, 6, 5, 1, 5)
5th Svea 23pts (2, 5, 5, 4, 4, 3)
6th Velsheda 26pts (6, 2, 2, 6, 6, 4)

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