Opening day anxiety coupled with an unexpected misty marine layer, light winds, a family affair and a bit of bad luck marked the launch of the GLOBALTECH Formula 18 World Championship hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, the class's first Worlds ever contested in the USA.
Despite the overcast and winds of 7 to 9 knots, Carolijn Brouwer of Belgian had no complaints, standing in first place among 118 entries from 13 countries and five continents, while Darren Bundock, her life partner is 16 points back in 12th.
Bundock, with Jeroen van Leeuwen of The Netherlands as crew, had finishes of 9, 12 and 3, but is also supported by their 1 1/2-year-old son Kyle and Bundock's mother who came up from Sydney to babysit.
Brouwer, with Wouter Samana as crew, said, "We're happy with a fourth and two seconds. It was tricky and fairly light. Everyone who's been training here was expecting to get 18 to 19 knots of sea breeze. We're not the heaviest team so we were happy with the conditions. It's better than coming back all tired and battered
But her finishes Tuesday were no fluke. She has been dominant in Europe and was fourth in the Worlds that Bundock won last year.
As for Bundock he said, "It was a pretty tough day. Generally, it was a left-and track, and we went right most of the day, and paid for it dearly."
Plus, he lost a couple of places in one race while dragging kelp on his rudder.
But he had a better day than Musab Al Hadi. The skipper for the Oman entry, with crew Ahmed Al Balushi, won their first race but was soon sidelined with a severely cut right hand after a collision with another boat after the start of Race 2.
"I was trapezing [hiking out] when something broke and I fell down with the tiller in my hand,"
Al Hadi said.
The carbon fiber tiller splintered and gashed the two middle fingers of his hand. He was brought to shore by Long Beach Firemen on a rescue boat who administered preliminary treatment before he was taken to a nearby emergency facility, uncertain if or when he would return to sail this week.
So should the weather, which opened gloomy amid a few false starts and a couple of course changes prompted by wind shifts until it settled into a gentle 7 to 9 knots from the southwest.
The schedule calls for three races each day, starting at noon, conditions permitting, with as many as 15 races through Saturday on the open ocean off Seal Beach a short run down the coast from ABYC.
Through the first three days the fleet is divided into four groups, competing on trapezoid-shaped courses. There will be two starts for each of three daily races, with the group matchups rotating with each race in qualifying for the final two days Friday and Saturday. Then the overall top half of the boats in scoring will advance to the Gold division championship, the others going to Silver.
However, results of the first three days will count in the final overall scoring.
The racing is being tracked on the Kattack website by courtesy of the title sponsor.
Results are available on the event website