Dave CURTIS, from Marblehead, MA is leading the pack of 75 international teams after the first day of the 2004 Citibank J/24 World Championships, followed by Jens HOOKANSON (USA) and Jeffrey JOHNSTONE (USA), with 14 points each.
Tomomi HATAKEYAMA took line honours in the first race, and as they crossed the finish line their shouts of joy drowned out the first-place gun. Things got a little wild in the second race of the day. After two general recalls, the Race Committee flew the Z flag, and even then some teams were OCS, including current World Champion Brad READ, who, leading the pack after the start, flew the spinnaker to pick up speed as he rushed back to re-start.
When his Z flag penalty was calculated, he came in 44 in the second race, and is in 22 place overall. The rest of the race was anything but normal. In extremely light wind, the fleet that was pretty much spread out across the course, converged at the same time at the leeward mark, causing a major traffic jam. Shouts of "make room" or similar warnings could be heard in many different languages as boats tried to avoid hitting each other.
Their unsuccessful attempts brought many to the protest room later in the day. The top boats to finish managed to precede the congestion at the mark and went on to sizable leads over the remainder of the fleet. Scott COLLINSON (CAN) was first, followed by Dave CURTIS (USA), and Andy HORTON (USA).
According to Curtis, who won this event back in 1984 in Poole, England, "Today was a typical Long Island Sound day. We didn't do much wrong, got on the right side with the wind shifts and Got the boat going pretty well. We had a lot of fun."
Nathan BALLARD, sailing with Curtis added, "today was fantastic, we sailed really well having hopped on board for the first time together last Saturday, and we have one heck of a driver."
Asked how well they predict they will do in the heavy air that Hurricane Jeanne is sending our way, Ballard commented, "With adjustments, we'll get the boat going well in the heavy stuff too. This is going to be a good regatta, a true test of how well you can adjust and change gears."
It won't be a long wait to see how all the teams fair in the heavy wind and soaking rain that is predicted for day two.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.
Overall Top Ten
1.Dave Curtis (USA) 6 pts
2.Jens Hookanson (USA) 14 pts
3.Jeffrey Johnstone (USA) 14 pts
4.Andy Horton (USA) 15 pts
5.Steve Lopez (USA) 15 pts
6.Scott Collinson (CAN) 17 pts
7.Aleho Rigoni (ARG) 17 pts
8.Tomomi Hatakeyama (JPN) 21 pts
9.John Mollicone (USA) 22 pts
10.Al Constants (USA) 24 pts