Racing continued yesterday with winds blowing from the northeast at 15 - 18 knots. Blowing against an incoming tide, the waves in Tampa Bay were almost square and very difficult to drive around.
After some careful consideration, racing was postponed for two hours, and the first start was at 12:05 Eastern Daylight Time. Sailors were grateful for the opportunity to wait until the sun broke through the cloud cover before heading onto the water.
On the 2.4 mR course, Kroeger again dominated the course, with firsts in both races. Coming on strong, and rediscovering all of the 2.4 mR tricks after almost a year-off from sailing since the 2000 Paralympics, USA skipper Tom Brown finished with a 3 and a 4, enough to move him into second place overall. Shifting winds and great downwind surfing conditions made for some great racing, and a challenging day on the water. 2.4 mR hulls, with only 8' of freeboard, were often disappearing entirely between the waves, and then emerging from a shower of spray with the helmsman pumping furiously.
Sonar skipper Mackie was also performing well in the consistently heavy winds. After two bullets in this afternoons races, Mackie sits 7 points from his nearest competition. Half the regatta still remains, but Canada is showing their heavy-air speed and steering smarts in maintaining great separation between the rest of the fleet. Chasing hard, and catching up slowly, are Callahan (USA) and the British (Robertson and Cassell) and German (Kroker) entries. The German team, in fact, demonstrated some remarkable agility and raised fresh doubts about their classification scores when the main-trimmer went over backwards, caught the stern of the boat, hoisted himself back on board, and resumed sailing all in the course of 30 seconds.
One thing each of these competitors is looking forward to is completing a fifth race. Now that there is officially a regatta (after four races), the next benchmark will be that 5th race and the ability to discard a team's worst score. For sailors on both courses, this discard will put them back into the running for trophies, and certainly shake up the top five places.
Exhausted after two 60-minute races, competitors are beginning to look forward to their reserve day on Monday, and hoping that it will become, in fact, a time to rest, recover and repair their boats and muscles.
1 CAN629 Brian Mackie 1 2 1 1 (16\OCS) 1, 6 pts
2 GER1 Jens Kroker 3 3 (7) 7 1 3, 17 pts
3 GBR20 Andy Cassell 4 5 2 2 6 (8), 19 pts
4 ISR1 Dror Cohen (16\DNF) 1 4 8 3 4, 20 pts
5 CAN131 Ken Kelly 7 4 3 (10\ARB) 7 2, 23 pts
1 GER1 Heiko Kroeger (1) 1 1 1 1 1, 5 pts
2 116 Thomas Brown (6) 4 3 4 2 2, 15 pts
3 NOR100 Jostein Stordahl (9) 3 5 2 6 3, 19 pts
4 NOR101 Bjornar Erikstad 2 5 (15\DNF) 3 9 4, 23 pts
5 USA88 John Ruf 7 (13) 7 5 3 7, 29 pts