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27 March 2004, 09:30 am
Canadians Thrive In Windy O.C.R. Start
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Alamitos Bay OCR
Long Beach, California

Strong winds and lumpy seas greeted competitors on the first day of the Olympic Classes Regatta, hosted by Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.
Canadian sailors, mostly escaping the early spring chill of British Columbia, seem to have taken the windy conditions--clocked at 18 knots at one point--well in stride and hold six of the top 12 places in the four classes competing.
Canadian women hold the top three places in the seven-boat Europe class. Jennifer SPAULDING and teammate Tanja SMUTNY traded the top two places in the three races Friday. Spaulding's two wins to Smutny's one put Spaulding one point ahead.

Canadians sailing the Laser class, an open singlehanded class, hold second and third places, but the top spot belongs to Andrew LEWIS, a native of Hawaii living in California. Lewis carded three wins in the three races run on the Olympic-style course laid off the Seal Beach Pier in the waters of San Pedro Bay.

The international flavour of the regatta continued as Australian Geoffrey BECK leads the Laser Radial class. His two wins and one second-place finish puts him ahead of Jake SOROSKY, a Southern California youth sailor.

It was the venerable Finn class that suffered most in the conditions. American Glenn SELVIN won the first race, one that saw fellow American Brad NEIWSTAD capsize and nearly sink. After being rescued by an attending boat, Neiwstad skipped the second race of the day.

In that race it was Selvin's turn to capsize, but with a less-happy ending: his swamped boat had to be towed ashore and bailed out on the beach inside Alamitos Bay.

A total of 59 entrants signed up by the start of racing on Friday. Racing continues on Saturday and Sunday and ends with the awarding of medals in gold, silver and bronze hues in an Olympic-style medal ceremony on Sunday.

Full results and more photos are posted on the Alamitos Bay Yacht Club website at the address below.
Rich Roberts (As Amended By ISAF News Editor)
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