After a brief delay this morning, Star sailors got in two exciting races on Biscayne Bay for the opening day of the 2004 US Olympic Team Trials-Sailing.
Anticipating they would encounter a variety of conditions over the next nine days, the 22 teams had measured in a total of 142 sails - most likely good insurance based on today's activity. A forecast of 20 knots - with gusts to 25 - that had local news stations issuing a small craft advisory, and reports from race committee personnel clocking the wind at 18-22, led to a decision to postpone ashore. After about an hour, the postponement flag was lowered and the sailors, support craft, spectators and race committee headed out to the course, approximately four miles south of the Coral Reef Yacht Club channel.
The decision to postpone frustrated some of the sailors anxious to get racing. "There was no point in having a majority of the fleet sail their two drops today,"
said Jonathan HARLEY (Middletown, R.I.), US SAILING's Olympic Director. And although wind readings were not recorded over 19 knots once racing started, three teams had the misfortune to break their masts. In the first race three boats were over the starting line early, while the start of the second race was "picture perfect" with boats spread out evenly along the line.
San Diego's Eric DOYLE with crew Brian SHARP won both of the day's races to take the series lead with two points. Howie SHIEBLER (San Francisco, Calif.) and Will STOUT (Houston, Texas/San Diego, Calif.) went 3-3 to take second overall in the standings with six points. Olympic medalists Mark REYNOLDS (San Diego, Calif.) and Steve ERICKSON (Seattle, Wash./Hood River, Ore.) finished 5-2 for third overall at seven points, followed one point back by Paul CAYARD (Kentfield, Calif.) and Phil TRINTER (Lorain, Ohio) who placed 2-6.
The planned 16-race continues until Sunday, March 28, with a mandatory layday on Wednesday, March 24. The format for the U.S. Trials, with two races scheduled each day, is designed to replicate the Olympic Games as closely as possible. At the conclusion of racing, the winners will be named to the 2004 Olympic Team that will represent the U.S.A. in Athens, Greece, next August at the Games of the XXVIII Olympiad.
For bios and full results visit the event website at the address below.