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13 September 2012, 09:43 am
Swiss Seize Lead In Long Beach Conditions
Besson and Laguarrigue (SUI)
Besson and Laguarrigue (SUI) lead F18 Worlds after the first two days

2012 GLOBALTECH Formula 18 World Championship
Long Beach, California, USA

After two days of racing Billy Besson and Jeremie Laguarrigue (SUI) lead the GLOBALTECH Formula 18 World Championship.
In second place are Olivier Backes and Mathieu Vandame (FRA) with Darren Bundock and Jeroen van Leeuwn (AUS) in third.

By the third and final race of the day, the wind had built to 13 knots from the southwest with gusts to 15 with the catamarans skimming through whitecaps like a field wildflowers---classic Long Beach conditions.

The qualifying phase is finished after six races. The fleet will now be divided evenly into Gold and Silver groups for the last three days through Saturday in the first F18 Worlds ever contested in the USA.

The schedule still calls for three races each day, starting at noon, conditions permitting. The first of two discards kicked in with Race 6 on Wednesday; the second will be after 11 races, with as many as 15 total on the open ocean course off Seal Beach.

The results of the first two days will count in the final overall scoring. That's fine with the Swiss and the Florida kids. Besson, with crew Jeremie Laguarrigue, has a finish string of 3-6-1-1-4-(7) for 15 points, just one ahead of France's Olivier Backes and crew Matthieu Vandame.

"Long Beach is perfect for racing," Besson said. "We like everything. When you're first you want to stay in first," he said.

On the other hand, Reiss said, "We were trying to be as conservative as we could … staying in the middle. Primarily, this is windier than where we sail in Florida."

"But we're not used to the waves," Whitehead said. "We sail in a bay back home."

Significantly, they won the US SAIILING Youth Championship in Long Beach in 2011 sailing inside the breakwater.

Meanwhile, Oman remains in the regatta but with a substitute skipper for Musab Al Hadi, whose right hand was severely cut in a collision early in Race 2 after he had won the first race Tuesday. Al Hadi will be replaced by Paul Wakely of the UK; Ahmed Al Balushi will continue as crew. They'll resume racing Thursday.

The racing is being tracked on the Kattack website by courtesy of the title sponsor.

Results are available on the event website

Rich Roberts
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