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19 August 2005, 09:44 am
Aggressive Starts And Hard Won Finishes Mark First Day Of Racing
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Keane Star North American Championship 2005
Marina Del Rey, California, USA

It was not just a weather postponement that delayed the first race of the ISAF Grade C1 Keane 2005 Star Class North American Championship in Marina Del Rey, California, USA. Eager racers swarmed over the line early triggering two general recalls. The third, and successful, start saw eight of the 48 teams on course side (OCS). After the two opening races were eventually completed Rick MERRIMAN and Rick PETERS (USA) held the overnight lead.
It's a fine line between an aggressive start and an early start, pointed out Erik LIDECIS (USA), who won the first race.

'We went right to the committee boat and went right,' said Lidecis, sailing Michael MARZAHL. 'We felt the right was going to fill in eventually and we were just waiting for it. And when it did come in, it was huge. It paid off and we were gone.'

At the recent King of Spain Regatta, LIDECIS said he was hampered by conservative starts. Although they led after the first day of races, on day two. 'We got hosed,' LIDECIS admitted. 'Our starts killed us. I decided I'm going to get a lot more aggressive on the starts: stop that conservative game and just go for it.'

Go for it, they did. LIDECIS and Michael MARZAHL - Olympic hopefuls - led the fleet around the course in race one yesterday, fending off a last leg rally by Australia's Iain MURRAY and Andrew PALFRAM. 'We just covered and stayed inside,' said LIDECIS, holding on to win the first of six races in the four day event.

As race two began, the breeze built to nearly twelve knots and chop increased. Star 2001 North American champion George SZABO (USA) said they had 'pushed too hard' in race one, learning of their OCS and disqualification at the windward mark. 'We had a sneaking suspicion,' he said, 'It was too good of a start.'

However a clean start in race two paid off. 'The wind picked up and we were able to be in the right place at the right time,' said SZABO's crew Eric MONROE, earning them a bullet in the second race of the day.

Leading the regatta overall with a 3-3 record are San Diegans MERRIMAN and PETERS, followed by John DANE and Austin SPERRY - who won the tune-up regatta for the King of Spain with MURRAY and PALFRAM third.

LIDECIS and MARZAHL, who started deep in race two, broke their pole at the top mark of the second run and watched six boats inch by, to place fourth overall so far.

MARZAHL, who ended up being a 'human pole' on that last run, declared, 'We work real hard together and never give up… We have three more days here and we're just looking for four perfect races.'

Racing continues from California Yacht Club through until Sunday 21 August.

Top Ten After Two Races

Pos Nation Helm Crew R1 R2 Pts
1 USA Rick MERRIMAN Rick PETERS 3 3 6
2 USA John DANE III Austin SPERRY 5 2 7
3 AUS Iain MURRAY Andrew PALFRAM 2 6 8
4 USA Eric LIDECIS Michael MARZAHL 1 12 13
5 USA John MACCAUSLAND Robert SCHOFIELD 4 9 13.1
6 USA Andy MACDONALD Anders EKSTROM 11 5 16
7 USA Mark REYNOLDS Hal HAENEL 15 4 19
8 USA Arthur ANOSOV Dave CAESAR 12 7 19.1
9 BAH Steven KELLY Darin JENSEN 8 13 21
10 USA Eric DOYLE Brian SHARP 10 11 21.1
Betsy Crowfoot (As Amended By ISAF)
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