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2 April 2006, 06:13 pm
RAILEY and PECK Battle For First
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Alamitos Bay Olympic Classes Regatta 2006
Long Beach, California, USA

Unimaginable pitfalls often lie in the path of those with Olympic ambitions, a philosophy Bryan BOYD could ponder back home in Annapolis, Maryland as Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's 46th Olympic Classes Regatta went on without him.
BOYD is the fourth-ranked U.S. competitor in the Finn class and had hoped to move up in this regatta that serves as a ranking event for the class for purposes of campaign funding and other support from the U.S. Olympic Committee. The top two will go to Qingdao, China-site of the sailing in 2008-for a pre-Olympic event in August.

But last Thursday, while working one of his final jobs in his residential real estate development business before closing up shop to pursue his campaign, BOYD drove a chisel into his left hand and wasn't sure when he'd be able to sail again.

That left Darrell PECK of Gresham, Oregon, currently ranked fifth, in position to move up into second place behind top-ranked Zach RAILEY of Clearwater, Florida. PECK needs to finish third to pass Geoff EWENSON, who is not competing here. Brian LEDBETTER, a 1988 Olympian, is ranked second but will fall out because of missing two of the three ranking events, including this one.

'It's a tough break for Bryan,' said RAILEY, who was a late entry here. 'But it's better for it to happen now than one or two years from now. He'll be back.'

After four of seven scheduled races, RAILEY and PECK were locked in a fight for first place. They finished 1-2 in all four races Saturday-RAILEY won the first one by a boat length, PECK the second by two lengths-so RAILEY leads with 5 points to PECK'S 7 with three races to go.

'I had a terrible start in the second race,' RAILEY said. 'I was seventh at the first mark but couldn't quite catch Darrell.'

Altogether, with 11 Stars, 28 Lasers and 15 short-rig Laser Radials, there were 76 boats in four classes, but the 22 Finns carried the heaviest Olympic implications with four of the top eight U.S. prospects competing-minus BOYD.

All raced on the same ocean course off the Seal Beach Pier, where early rollers left over from an overnight rainstorm gave way to a brisk but chilly sea breeze building from 10 to 15 knots.

Erik LIDECIS of Huntington Beach leads the Stars after winning Saturday's last three races. Chris RAAB (1-7-4-3) of the host club leads the Lasers and Jon SCOTT (2-2-3-1) of Vancouver, B.C., leads the Radials.

Full results are availble on the event website via the link below.

Rich ROBERTS (As Amended by ISAF). Image, Photo Finish in the Finns:© Rich ROBERTS
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