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31 August 2001, 10:56 am
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Star North American Championship

George Szabo III & George Iverson (USA) lead after four races completed at the Star North American Championships, taking place in Connecticut, USA.
Report on Race 2 by Magnus Liljedahl, who with Mark Reynolds were Sydney 2000 Olympic Gold medallists and ISAF World Sailors of the Year 2000:

It looked like a full hike race and wave-carving day on the Long Island Sound as we arrived to the yacht club in the morning. However, some forecasters called for light to medium breeze with a possibility of a thunderstorm which proved to be more accurate.

We figured that a port tack, all the way to the right, would lead at the weather mark, but the pin had a slight favour. We wanted the pin end start with the ability to tack right away. Howard Shiebler and Brian Sharpe won that battle. We ended up on their hip and unable to tack. The situation forced us to dip below their transom and become the furthest one to leeward. We were hoping they would tack, but they elected to hold on for a little while. We tacked as soon as they did and then continued all the way across to the right. Half way up the beat, we didn't look that good. Boats were crossing in front of us, but as we hung on port to well above a normal lay-line, we gained big at the end of the beat, to round in about 10th or better. The current was running with the wind and everyone who tacked early, on the starboard lay-line, was very slow.

Kevin Hall and Craig Monk had hit a hard right from the committee boat and were way ahead. The same could be said for second place, Ben Cesare and David Curtis: they were "launched". Mark and I tried a Grael / Ferreira style run and sailed real high on a port gybe. Trapper Lippincott and Barbara Vosbury did the same. We both seemed to have gained a lot, half way down the run, but at the gate, it wasn't that much.

In general, we would pass one or two boats on every leg, and we kept getting closer to the boats in front of us. The second beat was a long port tack to the right. We had rounded the right gate marker and ended up on the hip of several boats that had rounded the left gate. It looked pretty good 1/3 up the beat but as the boats to leeward tacked, most of them still crossed us. The breeze was going left and it helped us, but the pressure came from the right. Hall/Monk were still leading at the weather mark, the second time around. They went on to win and Cesare / Curtis remained in second throughout the race. We battled with Watt / Jensen, Maine / Murphy and the Schofield brothers. Brun / Peters and Szabo / Iverson were still a little further away.

The second run was good to us. We gybed and sailed a long, fairly heated, port gybe. Watt / Jensen were with us and did an even better job. Szabo / Iverson and Brun / Peters had taken the starboard route down the run and rounded the right gate, while Watt / Jensen led us around the left gate. We rounded ahead of Brun / Peters, but slightly behind Szabo / Iverson. The least beat was very exciting and things really went our way. Mark was on the "ball". Never the less, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't.

We tacked several times towards the end of the leg. Sometimes it was to cover Brun / Peters and other times Szabo / Iverson. Watt / Jensen were now within our reach. Each tack became crucial and the situation was tensed.

The finish line was totally, 100%, committee boat favoured. As a matter of fact, it was hard to lay the left end of it. We needed a good, last tack, and the perfect angle, to be able to cross the line in front of Watt / Jensen and keep Szabo / Iverson out to the right.We ended up crossing the line in third and we all finished, almost overlapped.

Results, after 4 races:

1 George Szabo III & George Iverson 2 5 1 4, 12 pts
2 Vincent Brun & Rick Peters 5 6 5 3, 19 pts
3 Howie Shiebler & Brian Sharpe 10 8 3 2, 23 pts
4 Kevin Hall & Craig Monk 7 1 12 7, 27 pts
5 David Watt & Darin Jensen 22 4 6 8, 40 pts
6 Paul Sustronk & John Finch 6 13 2 21, 42 pts
7 Larry Whipple & Mark Strube 16 11 4 12, 43 pts
8 Doug Schofield & Robert Schofield 17 7 19 5, 48 pts
9 Peter Bromby & Martin Siese Iso 9 20 20 1, 50 pts
10 Mark Reynolds & Magnus Liljedahl 1 3 7 42, 53 pts

Magnus Liljedahl/News Editor
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