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13 September 2002, 10:29 am
Day One Yesterday
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Leaving the Beach: Day One

Laser World Championship and Olympic Qualification Regatta
Cape Cod, Massachusetts

A strong cold front moved through the northeast United States Wednesday bringing cool temperatures and wind up to 50 knots throughout the region. Fortunately, the Laser World Championship, did not begin official racing until Yesterday.
131 sailors representing 44 countries were greeted to 20 knot north winds for the first day of competition.

At stake for the sailors is not only a chance to win arguably the most physically demanding sailing competition in the world, but also the first opportunity to qualify their countries for the fourteen berths available at this championship for the 2004 Olympics. The format for the seven-day event is for four days of qualifying races, followed by a finals series of a further six races over three days.

Winds moderated to 10-15 knots for the start of the first heat, as the fleet got off to a clean start under the black flag after two general recalls. Gareth Blackenburg (RSA) and Ben Richardson (USA) started at the pin end and worked the left side of the beat. They took advantage of the occasional left shift to work across to round first and second at the first mark. Richardson said "I had a briefing yesterday with Karl Anderson who lives in the area. He said in north winds it was usually better to play the left side and try to stay in the pressure. I started at the pin and played the left side and was able to round the top mark in second." Blackenberg said "The conditions were tricky but it was good fun."

The second fleet got away first time in a regular start. Brendan Casey (AUS) was first to show in the front having worked the right hand side of the course. He lost his lead to Maciej Grabowski (POL) after being given a yellow flag penalty on the downwind leg. As the race went on the wind dropped below ten knots as the thermal breeze tried to develop opposite the frontal winds. On the final windward leg to the finish Casey dropped a further place to Ed Wright (GBR). Casey was not too upset about his race. He said "I guess I deserved the penalty and a third is still useful in these conditions"

After the finish of the second group the breeze dropped to below the five knot minimum wind speed limit and became unstable. The Race Committee waited for two hours, hoping for an improvement in conditions before sending the fleet home for an early shower.



Provisional Results after one race

Pos Nation Helm Points
1 POL Maciej Grabowski 1
1 RSA Gareth Blanckenberg 1
3 GBR Edward Wright 2
3 USA Benjamin Richardson 2
5 AUS Brendan Casey 3
5 CAN Michael Kalin 3
7 AUS Jon Holroyd 4
7 IRL Peter O'Leary 4
9 CAN Andrew Childs 5
9 SLO Vasilij Zbogar 5
11 FRA Felix Pruvot 6
11 SWE Peter Santen 6
13 POR Gustavo Lima 7
13 SWE Rasmus Myrgren 7
15 GBR Paul Goodison 8
15 SWE Karl Suneson 8

Jeffery Martin/ISAF News Editor
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