Yesterday's light, shifty breezes provided plenty of power for several races on each of six courses, but scrambled the standings and, in some cases, left very little room for mistakes in the final day today.
After two races yesterday, USA's team of Mark REYNOLDS and Steve ERICKSON has a seven-point lead in the 58-boat Star fleet. The margin is anything but comfortable, however, since the team sailed its discard race, a 46. Erickson explained that Australia's Colin BEASHEL and crew David GILES, who are using this event as a qualifier for their Olympic Team, rose in the ranks to second overall, winning yesterday's first race and counting a 15 in the second race as their discard. "That's easily a race to count. Anyone else in the top nine can't have a bad race."
Though Erickson is a new crew for Reynolds, he, like Reynolds, is a fixture in the Star class. He won two world championships, one with Bill BUCHAN ('85) and one with Paul CAYARD ('88) who is competing here. He also won an Olympic Gold medal crewing for Buchan in 1984. Reynolds made U.S. Olympic sailing history as a four-time consecutive representative in the same event. He is a two-time Star world champion ('00, '95) and three-time Olympic medallist (1992 Gold,1988 Silver, 2000 Gold) in arguably on of the the most competitive one-design classes in the world.
In the Tornado, Puerto Rico's Olympic representative Enrique FIGUEROA saved his lead from yesterday, but Austria's Roman HAGARA is closing in, only three points behind.
"The top ten Tornado sailors in the world are here,"
said Figueroa, noting that Hagara is the Olympic Bronze medallist from 2000. USA's Lars GUCK slipped from third to fifth yesterday, while fellow countryman John LOVELL got back into the game after breaking equipment the previous day that forced him off the racecourse. Lovell won the last of the three races yesterday but sits in 15 on the scoreboard.
Denmark's Jonas Hoegh CHRISTENSEN lost his lead to 1996 Finn Gold medallist Mateusz KUSZNIEREWICZ, when the Polish sailor won three of four races and pulled ahead in overall scoring by 12 points. "I just had a bad day,"
said Christensen. "Winning is pretty much out of my reach, now. It's going to be a battle for second between me, Ewenson and Hall."
USA's Geoff EWENSON sits in third, only two points behind Christensen, with USA's Kevin HALL in fourth, again two points behind.
Asked about his strategy for today's racing, Ewenson said, "This isn't as important to me as the Trials (this February). Kevin and I have been training together, so we're used to pushing each other pretty hard."
USA's Tim WADLOW increased his team's lead over Switzerland's Chris RAST to 15 points after winning three of four races on this penultimate day, while New Zealand's Sharon FERRIS decreased her lead on the Yngling fleet. Only five points behind Ferris is USA's Hannah SWETT, who toppled Sally BARKOW from the runner-up position. (Barkow is now in eighth overall.)
In Paralympic action, Udo HESSELS of the Netherlands is only one point ahead of USA's Rick DOERR in Sonar class. In 2.4 Metres, USA's Jeff MADRIGALI, an able-bodied sailor who won the Soling bronze medal at the 1996 Olympics, leads in the 2.4 Metre class over Stellan BERLIN, a World Champion. Madrigali and Berlin have been coaching and training with USA's representative to the Paralympics in this class, Tom BROWN. Brown is in fifth overall. "The best way to coach someone is to sail the same boat they sail,"
Racing concludes today, 30 January. Regatta Headquarters are located at the US Sailing Center in Coconut Grove. Other Hosts for the event are the Coral Reef, Key Biscayne and Miami Yacht Clubs; the Coconut Grove Sailing Club; and Shake-A-Leg Miami.
Full results are available on the event website at the address below.