Glenn ASHBY (AUS) successfully defended the A-Cat World title after severe weather conditions forced the abandonment of the final day of racing in Islamorada, Florida.
Well the racing conditions for the last day of the 2007 Ronstan A-Cat World Championship turned out to be pretty severe. The event that was building up to be a "Clash of Champions" on the final day of racing has been decided by a blow out, the wind that is. Glenn ASHBY
(AUS), Lars GUCK
(USA) and Pete MELVIN (USA) all had a shot at taking the title on Friday in a heavy air event, but in the end the wind was too much. A frontal system passed over the Florida Keys last night and the breeze picked up to over 25 knots just after 03:00 EST. This strong breeze refused to abate throughout the morning. Buoy and land station reports were coming in at 22-29 knots, with gusts in the 30+ range for most of the morning.
The Organizing Authority requested a postponement at around 09:00 and the PRO, Billy RICHNOW, flew the AP. The Race Committee, International Jury and competitors closely monitored the wind strengths throughout the morning watching the winds with strong hopes of getting racing in today. Winds at water level continued in the 19-22 knot range with gusts to 28. There was also a fairly severe and square chop setting up with standard waves at 4 feet with frequent sets of 3 waves in the 6 foot range. In the end the decision was based upon keeping the racers and their boats safe. Even though this was a real blow to all of the competitors who had raced each other hard all week, keeping themselves in contention throughout the regatta, the OA made and outstanding call putting the safety of the sailors, their boats and all of the officials first and preventing the possible carnage that racing might have incurred.
Congratulations to ASHBY, GUCK, MELVIN, Luc DUBOIS (SWE), Mitch BOOTH
(NED), Charlie OGLETREE
(USA), Scotty ANDERSON (AUS), Murray PHILPOTT (NZL), Andrew LANDENBERGER
(AUS), and Eugenio CALABRIA (ITA) who were the top 10 finishers in this event. Congratulations also to Carla SHEIFER for her efforts on the course to rescue another competitor in Thursday's racing.
Throughout the regatta, ASHBY and GUCK had been a back and forth battle with each taking the lead at different times during the regatta. Through seven races, the most they were separated was by two points and that is how the regatta ended. ASHBY took two straight bullets during Thursday's races with GUCK posting a second and third place in races 6 and 7. The race day on Thursday came down to choosing the right side of the course and committing amidst a dying breeze that was filled with big holes. The corners of the course upwind and downwind seemed to work better than the middle, you had to have the courage to commit to one side or the other. ASHBY showed some real speed on Thursday, but DU BOIS on his new Schuerer Generation 5 was the fastest boat on the course on the day. DU BOIS had been showing a great deal of speed all week, but tactically he was not as sharp as GUCK, MELVIN or ASHBY. Friday could have been a real battle of "skills and wills", each fighting for the championship. After four days of racing, ASHBY would still have to sail both races to score the win. ASHBY showed his competitiveness, the highly tuned skills and the smarts on the water that won the regatta.
A-Cat World Championship - www.acatworlds.com
Results - www.acatworlds.com/res/worlds/2007_A-Cat_Worlds_Championship.html