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31 May 2002, 12:32 pm
Two Races On Day One
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Laser US National Championship
Richmond YC

Quick Summary Only two races today. The wind was too strong, while chop was uncharacteristically bad. More than a few boats broke down while some crew were suffering from a wee bit of hypothermia.

Both fleets were greatly relieved at the abandonment after two races.

From the spectator boat comes the comment. "My kids have been praying for heavy wind." Well sometimes you get what you wished for. The race committee had it 17-18 in the lulls and 24 to 25 in the puffs and as the day wore on this edge of the Olympic Circle got more puffs than lulls.

Then there's Bay Chop, flood tide no problem? Wrong! According to Mo Castruccio the waves were "insane, one even broke on my boat." And they got progressively worse. Jonathan Howell described the waves as "brutal." For the downwind stuff he got more poetic. "The fronts and the backs were mountainous, with valleys no boat could make it out of. Every capsize I did was to weather." Capsizes Today produced endless capsizes, from Jonathan's dread double indemnity weather capsize to the even worse let's "dredge the bay mud" with our masthead round downs. A full quarter of the fleet's mastheads suffered that indignity.

In the Radial fleet Australian Frank Inmon ran away with race one. Near the end he had a lead measured in minutes not lengths. But he's very humble. "First race I sort of bludged most of the way around the course.[Bludge is Aussie for "not work very hard." I was having a little bit of difficulty figuring out which way to go. So I didn't want to get too far ahead." FYI. Frank's been around 27 seasons on the Lasers and has been a dealer for 16. Frank wasn't perfect. "First time I've sailed in a long time. I was a little bit clumsy." If you saw his capsize just the start of the second race you'd understand. It was a gran mal number complete with mast in the mud. He "restarted" five minutes back with the Lasers, but recovered to 8th place.
Frank has some competition. Greg Helias, one of those kids from Marina Del Rey who wanted some breeze, showed he knows what to do when he gets it. He was second in race one and won the second race with about a 3-minute lead.

He came up from Southern California to what the competition could do and hoping to do my best. Right now looks like Greg is competition. He did have one rather unusual adventure today. According to Greg, "I was going upwind and I caught a fish. It was about a foot long. I kicked it out and it must have helped me the rest of the way." His only comment about the breeze was "Downwind you really had to hang on."

Lasers Overall Vancouver's Nathaniel Stoffelsma had two firsts. He was followed closely by Andrew Lewis, Stephen Bourdow. About his top finishes Nathaniel said, "I got off the line clean, twice. In the second race I port tacked the fleet. I seemed to have pretty good speed. I had a pretty good lead." He won by ten lengths in the first race."

Things heated up in the second race. "Steve Bourdow had pretty good speed and it was hard to keep him behind." In fact on the short beat to the finish Steve for a short while was actually ahead of Nathaniel. Still Steve lost by half a length at the gun. Nathaniel did some good heads up sailing, "There were some big shifts out there. It was hard to pick up shifts unless it was accompanied by a puff." He said.

Results After 2 Races

1 Nathaniel Stoffelsma 2 pts
2 Andrew Lewis 5 pts
3 Stephen Bourdow 6 pts
4 Kurt Taulbee (Master) 7 pts
5 Zachary Railey 11 pts
6 Benjamin Richardson 13 pts
7 Glen Dickson 16 pts
8 Gustavo Tenareiro 16 pts
8 Matt McQueen 16 pts
10 Mike Leigh 20 pts

Jonathan Howell/News Editor
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