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4 June 2001, 10:51 pm
Go Slow In Brittany
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18ft Skiff International Championship

After the high speeds of the practice race on Saturday, the opening day saw light winds.
As the time for the first race approached, a force 2 breeze had already veered from east to south, and everyone hoped that it would continue to move to the west and increase, due to the sea breeze effect. However it was not to be, and the still feeble airflow settled around 210 degrees, but shifting constantly.

After the start of Race 1, the fleet divided between those who took the inshore route and the others who went offshore, but John Winning on his new boat 'Yandoo' took the shifts up the middle, and came out with a good lead.

On the second lap, Howie Hamlin's 'US Challenge', with Mike Martin calling the tactics, found excellent pressure and took over the lead, which they held to the finish. Rob Greenhalgh on 'RMW Marine' recovered very well from twelfth at the end of the first beat to finish third.

The wind was even more variable in strength and direction for Race 2, making tactical choices very difficult indeed. Nevertheless, John Winning got it right again, and established a good lead, with 'US Challenge' and 'RMW Marine' also in the hunt until the end of the first lap, when local sailor Vincent Joyeux on 'Blues Point' (who had arrived too late for Race 1) took a determined inshore course at the start of the second beat, tacked at the perfect moment, and held pressure all the way to the windward mark.

Meanwhile, the leaders had fallen into a very flat patch, and could do nothing as the French team took an enormous lead on the downwind leg towards the finish. Trevor Barnabas on 'Omega Smeg' took second, ahead of fellow Australians John Winning on 'Yandoo' and Tony Hannan on 'Total Recall'.

After such a trying day, everyone is hoping that the good steady breezes for which Carnac is famous will soon be back, but a forecast of high pressure for the next few days might keep their desires for adrenaline rushes on hold for a while.
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