Jens HOOKANSON (USA) is leading after two days of racing at the 2004 Citibank J/24 World Championships, having won the first and only race on Tuesday, September 28.
John MOLLICONE (USA) won the start and tacked to the right side of the course and gained a sizeable lead, only to have the wind shift and give the teams on the left side of the course an advantage. The shifts continued to cause casualties, and kept the Race Committee busy making course changes at each mark. For most of the race, the fleet was spread out over the course, but the wind dropped to almost nothing by the last leg, and many of the fleet were caught in a traffic jam at the finish line. The congestions may have helped Luther TATGE/Nelsons (USA), who came from behind to squeeze out Yutaka YOSHIDA (Japan), capturing second place and forcing Yoshida into third. Race two had three general recalls before the Race Committee abandoned the race due to weather conditions.
The regatta so far has been filled with light and shifty winds, traffic jams at the start and some of the mark roundings, and lots of protests to keep the Race Committee up late each night. The final mark rounding during the second race on Monday brought images of crowded subways, traffic congestions on I-95, raft ups and/or bumper cars at an amusement park. Not a happy scene. At one point, one team could be seen trying to push off another boat with their hands. The intensity increased exponentially, and protest flags seemed the order of the day. Three general recalls in the attempted fourth race, plus a finish that makes one wonder how the Race Committee can even score finishes, attest to the aggressiveness of these sailors. Mother Nature isn't helping a whole lot either. When the wind died, and the weather took a turn for the worse, the Race Committee called it a day and sent the fleet home. Wednesday should see some good wind, thanks to Tropical Storm Jeanne. With so much at stake at the Worlds, we can only hope for a few races that give these international teams a chance to show their stuff.
Overall Top Ten
1. Jens Hookanson (USA) 17 pts
2. Steve Lopez (USA) 20 pts
3. Andy Horton (USA) 30 pts
4. Skelley/Crockett (USA) 32 pts
5. Al Constants (USA) 42 pts
6. Satoshi Kume (JPN) 45 pts
7. Andrea Fornaro (ITA) 47 pts
8. Tomomi Hatakeyama (JPN) 49 pts
9. Scott Collinson (CAN) 51 pts