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4 April 2007, 12:27 pm
LOOF And EKSTROM Lead
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Star Western Hemisphere Championship 2007
Tampa Bay, Florida, USA

Fredrik LOOF and Anders EKSTROM (SWE) lead the ISAF Grade C1 Star Western Hemisphere Championship after two days' of racing in Tampa Bay, USA.
This is the second time in the past five years that Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa Bay has hosted the Star Western Hemispheres. Continental Vice-President of the Star Class, Joe ZAMBELLA says, 'It's so nice to come to a club that caters to sailors. Yesterday, the Optis and the Stars were out practicing and the PHRF boats were returning from Sun Coast Race Week.'

LOOF and EKSTROM started out strongly with a fourth place and a bullet on day one, and then reinforced their lead on Tuesday.

Tuesday's Race

In Tuesday's race 3, Peter BROMBY and Bill MCNIVEN (BER) and Eivind MELLEBY and Petter MORLAND PEDERSON (NOR) executed picture perfect starboard tack starts and the pin, tacked, crossed everyone on their hip and clearly had the lead off the line. Fotis BOLIAKIS and Michael NICHOL (USA), Fabian MACGOWAN and Federico ENGELHARD (ARG) and Rohan LORD and Miles ADDY (NZL) were just below BROMBY and MCNIVEN. As they reached the middle of the course, a huge left shift came through with the Bermudians on the inside sailing 60-70 degrees higher on port tack than everyone to their right.

John MACCAUSLAND and Bob SCHOFIELD (USA) came from the middle right and got a private right hand lift within a hundred yards of the weather mark and forced Andy MACDONALD and Mike WOLFS, who had played the left side of the first beat, to take their stern at the approach to the weather mark. They rounded first and second with BROMBY and MCNIVEN and BOLIAKIS and NICHOL close behind. MELLEBY and MORLAND PEDERSON rounded 13th and LORD and ADDY rounded 18th. There were plenty of Olympic aspirants at the tail end of the fleet. During the next four legs the breeze built from below 4 knots to 9-10 knots and the rich got richer and those who were in the basement struggled to make gains.

Tacking Duel For The Bullet

The highlight of the regatta was watching LOOF and EKSTROM engage MACDONALD and WOLFS in a tacking duel during the last beat. Despite sailing their first regatta together, MACDONALD and WOLFS took on the challenge and most importantly never lost sight of the layline to the finish. After nearly two dozen tacks, LOOF and EKSTROM threw one last tack to the right and the Americans headed off on starboard in a full hike to take the gun. MACCAUSLAND and SCHOFIELD sailed up the left side of the course to finish third, followed by Iain MURRAY and Andrew PALFREY (AUS) and Bermudians BROMBY and MCNIVEN.

LOOF, over 20 years younger than MACDONALD, admitted to his rival that he had gotten a workout during the tacking duel when he smiled and asked his friend, 'Is your heart rate up?'

Lynn Fitzpatrick (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Andy MACDONALD and Mike WOLFS:© Lynn Fitzpatrick
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