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10 August 2001, 10:16 am
Lehtinen Wins In New Jersey
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Byte World Championships
New Jersey

Silja Lehtinen (FIN) beat all the boys to take the second ever Byte World Championships, that concluded in Mantoloking, New Jersey, USA yesterday.
The new World Champion is 15 year old Silja Lehtinen from Helsinki, Finland. She first got in a Byte three weeks ago as part of a sailing exhange program from Finland to Mantoloking, New Jersey, USA that has been running for some 40 years. Normally back home in Finland she sails in a 29er. We had Silja's nationality wrongly stated as Croatian earlier. Silja was listed in the results as Croatian because she had CRO on the boat she had borrowed for the Championships. Apparently Silja was racing at last year's Optimist World Champsionships in the team racing, and the Finnish were beaten by the Croatians for the Bronze medal, so it's especially important to know she is Finnish!

The stage was set for the final day of racing for an exciting battle for the championship between Silja Lehtinen (FIN) and Alex Singer (CAN). Singer, 2nd at last year's Canadian Youths and current 3 Macs champion, started the day 13 points behind Lehtinen, his drop was an 8th and hers was OCS. Anything could happen.

There were 3 races, two windward-leewards and 1 triangle. In race 8 there was barely a breeze - 0-2 knots from the S, dying completely several times. Singer rose to the occasion and scored his first bullet, closing the gap behind Lehtinen to 3 points (she placed 10th).

The wind picked up slightly for race 9, blowing 3-5 knots from the South. Lehtinen managed to put some boats between her and Singer, they finished 3rd and 8th respectively and padded her lead to 8 points, everything would be decided in the event's final race.

For race 10 the wind picked up nicely, blowing 15 knots from the SE with white caps. Counting down to the start, Singer's strategy appeared to be to match race Lehtinen. Just before the start a third boat interfered pushing both Singer and himself over the line early. Singer withdrew and protested. Lehtinen went on to finish the race in 8th. After a full examination of the facts, the international jury disqualified the third party, leaving Singer with a DNS as his drop. In the end Lehtinen was crowned the 2001 Byte World Champion. Singer finished 2nd.

Both Lehtinen and Singer raced well demonstrating that consistency is the key. Singer's goal coming in to this event was to be in the top 10, so he was happy with his overall performance. He said the key to his success was, "Being consistent and conservative. Being able to sail in all conditions." The tricky, inconsistent conditions helped him learn the importance of keeping his head out of the boat to watch for gusts and changing conditions.
At the awards ceremony trophies were handed out to the individual winners of each race and to the top 10 overall finishers. Dick Tulloch (BER) was crowned top master. Singer won top male. Lehtinen, our first female Byte World Champion, was also awarded top youth, top female and farthest distance traveled. Will Gifford (GBR) was given a special prize for being the first competitor to register for the event. And all competitors were given a chance to win various prizes donated by the Mantoloking YC, PS2000, Ronstan and the Byte Class.

So the 2001 Byte Worlds have come to a close. The event was a huge success. The Mantoloking and Bay Head Yacht Clubs did a superb job! Bob Hartmann, the regatta chairman, was happy with how things went, "It seemed like a very friendly regatta. I'm very pleased. This thing just happened. Everybody got together and did their job. It was a real team effort." And the competitors seemed to appreciate this effort. Upon receiving her trophy Lehtinen thanked the Mantoloking and Bay Head Yacht Clubs saying, "This was the best regatta I've ever been to."

Remembering the First-Ever 1999 Byte World Championships

The first Byte World's were held in July at CORK, Kingston, Ontario. There were 78 competitors from 7 countries - 58 Youths, 46 males, 32 females with three in the top ten, and 5 Masters! Ages ranged from 13 to 53. The reigning 1999 Byte World Champions are Eric Holden in the Open, and Erika Vines in the Women.

Overall Results, 10 races, 1 discard:
(Where Y=Youth,F=Female and M=Male)

1 FIN Silja Lehtinen (YF) 39 pts, (72\OCS) 6 2 2 4 1 3 10 3 8
2 USA Alex Singer (YM) 48 pts, 8 7 5 3 6 6 4 1 8 (72\DNS)
3 USA Griffin Hewitt (YM) 52 4 pts, 10 (18) 13 8 2 1 2 2 10
4 USA Patrick Curran (YM) 82 pts, (26) 12 6 4 11 11 2 5 19 12
5 USA Anthony Boueilh (YM) 86 7 pts, 5 25 1 9 7 8 (27) 15 9
6 BER Ben Wicks (YM) 89 3 pts, 2 20 5 2 18 21 16 (37) 2
7 USA Chris Watters (M) 94 2 pts, 1 10 18 27 19 11 (72\DNS) 5 1
8 USA Ethan Holtzer (YM) 99 pts, 14 15 1 (27) 1 22 5 6 10 25
9 SUI Francois Hebert (YM) 99 pts, 5 3 39 11 10 (44) 12 15 1 3
10 USA Ryan Kobrick (M) 111 pts, 6 19 7 (37) 20 12 7 13 14 13
11 USA Caroline Corbett (YF) 115 pts, 12 20 12 9 13 4 17 8 20 (22)
12 USA Hugo Vallee-Pouliot (YM) 120 pts, 32 24 13 8 19 3 10 7 (44) 4
13 USA Nicole Bastet (YF) 152 pts, 27 16 3 44 21 21 6 (55) 7 7
14 GBR Charlotte Dobson (YF) 153 pts, (72\OCS) 27 14 16 17 8 13 17 22 19
15 USA Simon Gallagher (YM) 156 pts, 9 4 8 12 29 (42) 26 33 21 14

Full results from the event website.

Byte Class Press/News Editor
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