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16 October 2005, 01:04 pm
Strong Winds Mark The Start In Larchmont
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U.S. Team Racing Championship 2005
Larchmont, New York, USA

Strong winds and high seas marked the opening of the U.S. Team Race Championship and the Hinman Invitational Team Race Regatta hosted by Larchmont Yacht Club on Friday. However, yesterday the wind dropped to 20-25 knots giving the competitors perfect conditions.
Over 250 sailors, race committee and umpires were on hand on Friday morning to help kick off this year's U.S. Team Race Championship (Hinman) and Hinman Masters. What was facing them, however, was a persistent north easterly wind blowing a steady 30+ knots with puffs well into the 40 knots range. When the wind appeared to be subsiding, both the Championship fleet, sailing in Vanguard 15s and the Masters sailing in Ideal 18s headed out for the first heats.

Both fleets sent off the first heats as the wind roared back in with gusto. The Vanguards, with their boldly coloured sails, found they could often outpace the umpire boats tailing them. Blazing reaching legs resembled the conditions these same boats experienced just two weeks ago at the Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship. The Ideals, further out into the sound and, at one point, shrouded by fog, had a tougher time. Without the protection of a breakwater, the Ideals found the slogging much tougher and many sustained rigging and sail damage.

Prudently, the Race Committee sent both fleets back to shore to wait for the wind to ease, to lick wounds and make repairs. With rain all day and temperatures in the low 60's, the conditions trying at the very least.

At about 1300 hours local time the Championship fleet went back onto the water to be followed about an hour later by the Masters. On the Championship course 49 races were sailed by 1800 when the fleets were sent in. When the results were tallied, reigning World Champions and two-time U.S. Team Racing Champs Cape Cod Whishbone were in the lead with a perfect 8-0 score. In hot pursuit with a 6-1 record was the U.S.'s other Worlds team, second seeded Silver Panda. The next two places found two of the host club's teams, Larchmont Yacht Club and the Larchmont Yacht Club Ligers with 4-3 and 4-4 records, respectively.

On the Masters circle, the conditions allowed for only 15 races to be completed with Pequot Yacht Club looking strong winning all three of their races.

Yesterday the wind dropped to 20-25 knots from the northwest providing fantastic conditions for the competitors.

Event Chairman Buttons PADIN looked relieved at midday when both Championship and Masters round robins were being completed. Chief Umpire Steve WOLFE gave his crew of 28 a full day of work.

In the Championship fleet, Cape Cod Wishbone and Silver Panda dominated the initial round robin under exciting conditions as the teams raced in superb conditions. After the completion of the gold second round robin, there is a five way tie between Cape Cod Wishbone, Silver Panda, Larchmont Ligers, Larchmont Yacht Club, and Team Trouble.

Deputy PRO Tom DUGGAN is concerned about sailing conditions for today, leading Gavin O'HARE, National Chair, to say, 'We might have to have sail off or a game of chance if the weather's bad.'

Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image:© Bryan MacDonald
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