Having displayed awesome speed in the Rolex Farr 40 Pre-Worlds last week, ALLEN decided to stay with his tried and tested mainsail in preference to hoisting the brand new replacement. 'From last week we knew that our upwind speed had taken a step forward, so we went with an old main and new jibs,' he said.
Tactician Roger HICKMAN (AUS) said they had a hunch that the right side of the course might pay off in the building north-easterly breeze. 'We worked the boat end at the start and we worked to the right in both races. The weather off the Sydney Heads does sometimes do the same thing twice, and we thought going right could be a good move.'
Ichi Ban took the first race, a two-lap, eight-mile windward/leeward course, in comfortable fashion. The second finish, when the wind had lifted to 16 knots, was a real nail biter as the Australian boat went gybe for gybe with Italian boat TWT. An error with the spinnaker pole on TWT meant the Italians never got their kite pulling properly out of the final gybe, and Ichi Ban won by half a pulpit.
Behind The Leader
In second place after two races is another Aussie boat, Evolution. Having dominated recent regattas in the build-up to the Worlds, Richard PERINI's crew had a torrid time in the Pre-Worlds last week and sat out the final day of racing. To outside observers, it appeared they had fallen out of form at just the wrong moment, but PERINI and his team laid those ghosts to rest today as they rounded the windward mark of Race One in the lead. Ichi Ban would later pull ahead of Evolution, but PERINI held his nerve to finish in second place.
Evolution got shut out at the committee boat end of Race Two, but PERINI found a lane out to the favoured right hand side, which pulled him back into the competition and gave him a useful seventh place.
Paul CAYARD's (USA) advice for his crew on Warpath this morning was: 'Don't hit any boats, don't hit any marks, and don't get any alphabet.' By alphabet he meant to avoid notching up any of those nasty three-letter acronyms on the scoreboard, such as the dreaded DSQ for disqualification. Young skipper Steve HOWE (USA) duly listened to his tactician's advice and steered Warpath to scores of 10-3, placing the American boat in third overall at this early stage of the regatta.
Previous World Champions Struggle
Some other highly fancied boats would have done well to heed CAYARD's simple but effective advice. Reigning world champion, Barking Mad had to take a 720-turn on the start line of the second race, and Jim RICHARDSON (USA) and his team did well to recover to 14. However, this score combined with a first race eighth (also a great recovery from 16 at the windward mark), does not represent the start to his title defense that RICHARDSON would have wanted.
World Champion from 2003, Massimo MEZZAROMA (ITA) and Antonio SODO MIGLIORI's (ITA) Nerone, also fell foul of the 720 penalty after infringing Evolution at the leeward gate. Lying in second at the time, the Italians' penalty spins saw them plummet down the rankings, and the best they could salvage was eleventh place, followed by a more respectable eighth in Race Two. Tactician Vasco VASCOTTO (ITA) commented: 'It is important to remember that there is not only Barking Mad and Nerone on the water. It's also important to stay away from trouble, and we got in trouble.'
German boat Morning Glory enjoyed a solid day after an indifferent showing at the Pre-Worlds. Hasso PLATTNER (GER), with Russell COUTTS (NZL) as tactician, steered his yacht to 9-6 finishes, placing him forth overall on the leader board.
More wind is forecast for Day Two of the Worlds, encouraging news for teams like Barking Mad and Nerone, who will hope to rely on their impeccable boat handling skills to haul them back into contention.
Provisional Results After Day 1 (Top Ten)
|Pos||Name||Nation||Owner||Race 1||Race 2||Points|
|1||Ichi Ban||AUS||Matt ALLEN||1||1||2|
|3||Warpath||USA||Steve and Fred HOWE||10||3||13|
|4||Morning Glory||GER||Hasso PLATTNER||9||6||15|
|6||Mascalzone Latino||ITA||Vincenzo ONORATO||6||11||17|
|9||Team Shockwave||AUS||Neville CRICHTON||4||17||21|
|9||Emotional Hooligan||AUS||Marcus BLACKMORE||17||4||21|