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14 October 2006, 02:28 pm
US Olympic Pre-Trials Underway
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Beijing 2008

Olympic hopefuls Robbie DANIEL and crew Hunter STUNZI suffered a setback on Friday on the first day of Tornado catamaran competition in US Olympic Trials West as the favourites, 2004 Athens silver medallists John LOVELL and Charlie OGLETREE, led the way with two first places and a second in three races.
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DANIEL and STUNZI had posted a second and a third and were running well on the second upwind leg in race three when their jib halyard snapped, forcing them to drop out. Barring further bad luck, they will be able to discard the last-place result as their allotted throw out after five of seven races. Meantime, Enrique FIGUEROA and Jorge HERNANDEZ (PUR), who won the U.S. Nationals earlier this week, were in second place with a 1,3,2 score line.

Light Start

The day, featuring a light morning rain prior to sailing, launched the first of three weekends of US Sailing Olympic Pre-Trial events for eight of the eleven Olympic events in Southern California. The Tornados are being hosted by San Diego Yacht Club.

The Tornados raced three times around a 1.8 mile windward-leeward race course on the open ocean three miles south of the city. FIGUEROA and HERNANDEZ won the first race in a gentle six knots of breeze, but as the wind built to twelve through the afternoon LOVELL and OGLETREE took command.

'I like 15 knots,' OGLETREE said, 'but I don't think we're going to see that here.'

Racing continues Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon each day, conditions permitting.

TUNNICLIFFE Leads Radial Battle

Over in Newport, Rhode Island there were wonderful conditions for the opening races of the Pre-Trials for the Laser Radial. World number one Anna TUNNICLIFFE (USA) leads after two bullets and a second with ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year nominee Paige RAILEY (USA) second.

TUNNICLIFFE commented, 'I'm pretty happy about how the day went, at behind able to stretch and hike, and how I've got my downwind performance cranked up again.'

Pre-Trials for the Laser and Yngling, plus 2.4 Metre, Sonar and SKUD18 for disabled sailors, are also underway at Newport, this weekend.

Coming Up Next

Next weekend from 20-22 October the 49ers will be at Southwestern YC in San Diego, the Finns at Newport Harbour YC and the Stars at California YC in Marina del Rey. The spectacle will finish on 26-29 October with four days of racing for the Men's and Women's 470s at the US Sailing Centre in Long Beach and the Men's and Women's RS:X - the new Olympic windsurfing equipment - just down the street at Alamitos Bay YC.

A year from now the same venues in San Diego, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Marina del Rey will host the formal Olympic Trials to select the one boat in eight of the eleven classes that will represent the United States in the 2008 Olympic sailing at Qingdao, China in 2008.

For a complete list of all the news about the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games CLICK HERE.

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from San Diego:© Jeff JOHNSON
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