The competitors of the LightSurf 2004 International 505 World Championship left the beach today under a moderate marine layer. While they were ghosting over the oily swells to the mile buoy in Monterey Bay the fog started to lift and a light northwesterly
By the time the rabbit took off for the start of today's first race (race 3) 10 knots were being clocked at the weather mark with the promise of more. After the recalled start attempts and gate start infringements/DSQs of two days ago, the fleet was cautious and well behaved for the start with a large portion well below the rabbit. They then spread themselves evenly across the width of the course. Halfway up the fleet divided, with the majority heading right. The left sailed into the fog.
At the mark whitecaps were developing and the fog was descending as the fleet rounded, with most but not all electing to jibe set. On the second weather leg the fleet split again but with a fog bank hanging out on the left hand side of the course more were diving right into clear skies. The last beat had the masses going for the beach (right) in wind now at about 15 knots. Finishing downwind first was the team of Morgan LARSON/Trevor BAYLIS (USA), followed by Mike MARTIN/Jeff NELSON (USA), Charles WALTERS and Dougal CRAM of Great Britain were third and the team of Ian PINNELL/Steve HUNT also of Great Britain fourth.
The results of today's second race (number four of the series) are pending a protest decision. The 102 teams gated in 15 knots and selected right, or up the middle, towards building pressure at the weather mark. Martin/Nelson rounded near the front, with Larson/Baylis about twelfth. Everyone set chutes for the first run, with places changing all the way to the leeward gate. The pressure was lighter at the leeward mark, and there were significant holes on the way up the next beat, though in typical Santa Cruz form the breeze was stronger at the weather mark.
The first reach looked windy and tight, tempting many teams to two-sail high first, but the pressure had eased as the first half of the fleet gybed around the mark, with those teams that had gone too high wishing they had hoisted earlier. Some teams were airborne off waves on the first reach, while others swam. Teams doused either just before the mark, or soon after, as the second reach was initially too tight to carry, though part way down the reach the breeze had lightened enough that most re-hoisted spinnakers. The third beat also had some big holes in it, though once again the breeze generally built on the way to the weather mark. One final run, and a beat to the finish (course 2) and when the dust had settled it was Mike MARTIN/Jeff NELSON first, Dan THOMPSON/Andy ZINN second, and Morgan Larson/Trevor Baylis up to third, with local team Mike HOLT/Carl SMIT fourth.
This leaves the series tied between Larson/Baylis and Martin/Nelson, they have identical 1,1,2,3 scores. Howard HAMLIN/Peter ALARIE are third overall with Thompson/Zinn fourth.