Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Horton and Nichol Lead after Day 3

Here's another report from the Star Worlds by Andy Horton and Brad Nichol:

San Francisco gave everyone a "head fake" on Day 3 of the Star World Championship. With a forecast for little to no wind we were once again postponed ashore for an hour. After a slow tow down to the racecourse and lunch on a glassy bay, the forecast seemed right on target. But a break in the cloud cover beyond the Golden Gate fooled the weatherman, and the breeze came on quickly, building from zero to twelve knots in just a few minutes. We were quick to make adjustments to our setup transitioning from light to medium air and got down to business.

Again, it took three tries to get a race off and we had good start all three times in the middle of the line. With the Z-Flag flying on the last attempt, a number of the top competitors pushed the leeward end of the line too hard and saw their OCS numbers posted at the weather mark. We held our course off the line until most of the fleet cleared away and had plenty of good open lanes as we worked our way to the top of the course. We rounded the first mark in second place behind Mark Reynolds, with the Italian and German teams hot on our heals.

Down wind we decided to sail a higher course than Reynolds for more wind and when we got to the bottom we were dead even. Rather then splitting with Reynolds through the gate we felt confident in our boat speed and chose to follow him around and battle it out upwind.

Old School vs. New School; Reynolds had the advantage up the course but after a few well-timed tacks we arrived at the top of the course ahead of him. Meanwhile, Marc Pickel, the German, was free to sail alone and passed us both.

Down the second run we gained a few boat lengths and were even with the Germans at the bottom, but this time we split with them to sail in clear water on the right side of the course. We made good gains working the boat and with a few good shifts we took the gun with a solid lead over both the Germans and Mark Reynolds.

While today's win puts us in first place three points ahead of Rohan Lord (NZL), and seven ahead of Flavio Marazzi (SUI) but a lot can happen in three races. Tomorrow will prove to be a challenging day with a forecast for rain and a southeasterly gradient.

We will try to get some pictures up on the web site Wednesday shot by wonder-host Donna Wotton and if you get the Valley News in NH or VT check out the sports section Wednesday.

Andy & Brad

Tip of the Day: Don't get caught up in a battle when you are trying to win the war. Sometimes it feels good to be able to pass the boat next to you but if you focus on one boat, you can let a dozen pass you while you battle it out. It is better to work together with the boats around you so everyone goes fast!

Standings after three races (no discard) -- 66 boats
1. Andy Horton/ Brad Nichol (USA) 12 pts
2. Rohan Lord/ Miles Addy (NZL) 15 pts
3. Flavio Marazzi/ Martin Kozaczek (SUI) 19 pts
4. Robert Scheidt/ Bruno Prada (BRA) 23 pts
5. Xavier Rohal/ Pascal Rambeau (FRA) 24 pts
6. Hamish Pepper/ Carl Williams (NZL) 25 pts
7. Daniel Stegmeier/ Beat Stegmeier (SUI) 39 pts
8. Mark Medelblatt/ Mark Strube (USA) 49 pts
9. Ian Murray/ Adrew Palfrey (AUS) 54 pts
10. Jim Buckingham/ Mike Dorgan (USA) 55 pts

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