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8 September 2005, 10:11 am
SMITH Takes Over Lead
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Etchells World Championship 2005
San Francisco, California, USA

Another booming afternoon finish for the 72 boat Etchells Worlds fleet sailing on San Francisco Bay. After four races in the seven race series, 2005 US National Champion Judd SMITH now leads the series from Hawaiian schoolboy, Sam 'Shark' KAHN, plainly one of the most talented young racers in sailing today, and there is some serious talent in the group.
A soft start for race three. Seven knots from 215, with the top mark 2.5 miles up the course towards the San Francisco City skyline.

After the mass slaying on Day One, with ten crews using their worst race drop after the course side disqualifications, it was another clean start. Down on the boat end Brain THOMAS (USA) tacked around the starboard boat onto port and was soon tracking towards Mount Tam. The group following close on his stern included series leader, Jud SMITH. Soon most of the fleet was strung on the right.

The tide was dropping as the fleet approached the starboard layline, running square across the fleet at a knot or more.

Dual Etchells World Champion Stuart CHILDERLY (GBR) arrived first, about 15 seconds ahead of San Diegan Vince BRUN. Behind them was Jeff PAPE (USA) and the ever reliable Jud SMITH (USA), then a few places back to Iain MURRAY (AUS).

Behind them the fleet was underlaying and the port tacking boats were creating chaos in the big fleet.

The shouting volume was definitely increasing and the unluckiest boat was certainly Australian Rob BIRD, who hit the mark on each of his first two attempts.

CHILDERLY was clean down the run, taking the right hand mark round ahead of Thomas, with Judd Smith close behind, five lengths ahead of Vince BRUN. Over on the left hand mark Jeff PAPE was ahead of 'Shark' KAHN, Bill PALMER, Phillipe KAHN and Hong Kong's Mark THORNBURROW.

At the top mark for the second time, the Brit was 17 seconds ahead of THOMAS and SMITH, with PAPE fourth. By now the wind had built to 17 knots and the leaders surfed down to the finish line with positions unchanged.

With a reputation as being at his best in heavy breezes, CHILDERLY was pleased to have given the fleet a light wind lesson.

'We certainly know how to set up our rig for strong breezes, but actually we believe we sail best in the 10-15 range.'

By the start of race 2 the breeze had built to 20 knots. As Judd Smith explained, 'The start was the race.'

With Jeff MADRIGALI positioning the boat well down the line, helmsman 'Shark' Kahn was able to blast off the line and cross the fleet to lead into the top mark, ahead of Vince Brun, Chris CLARK and Ante RAZMOLOVIC. Then came Tito GONZALES (USA), defending World Champion Peter MCNEILL and fellow Australian Iain MURRAY.

The wind was now gusting 25's and it was a fast run back towards Berkeley. At the bottom of the run, 'Shark' KAHN was 15 second ahead of Vince BRUN. The gap back to the following pack was almost 30 seconds.

There were changes in all except the first two places and at the finish 'Shark' KAHN crossed ahead of BRUN, with GONZALES (USA) third ahead of Iain MURRAY.

The just 16 year old, who is missing a week of school back in Hawaii, was pleased. 'It was good out there today, in the second race Mad (Madragalii) placed us well, but we had to hold off Vince, he kept coming at us on the runs.'

After four races, Judd SMITH leads on 13 points ahead of 'Shark KAHN' on 16 points. Then there is an 11 point gap back to Tito GONZALES with Stuart CHILDERLY fourth on 32 points, just a point ahead of the Australian Star class team of Iain MURRAY and Andrew PALFREY, sailing with George SZABO (USA).

This afternoon MURRAY, who won the World title 21 years ago, was laughing with his crew. He explained, 'George is pretty new to Etchells, but that is only a tiny obstacle compared to getting him to understand our Australian accents.'

Top Ten After Four Races

Pos Nation Helm Crew Crew Crew R1 R2 R3 R4 Pts
1 USA Judd SMITH H FRAZER A WILLS 3 2 3 5 13
2 USA Samuel KAHN B LEE J MADNGALI A FINGLAS 1 9 5 1 16
3 USA Tito GONZALES B MAUK J LINTON D GONZALES 5 8 11 3 27
4 GBR Stuart CHILDERLEY S RUSSELL R MARINO 4 7 1 20 32
5 AUS Iain MURRAY G SZABO A PALFREY 7 12 10 4 33
6 USA William PALMER III T Corkett Jr. W BENNET 2 11 6 15 34
7 CAN Hank LAMMENS M LAMMENS D SABIN 6 1 22 12 41
8 USA Brian THOMAS M BRINK H SCHREINER 13 5 2 29 49
9 GBR Ante RAZMILOVIC D BEDFORD S FRY 12 27 14 6 59
10 USA Philippe KAHN F LOOF M IVEY 10 39 8 13 70
Event Media (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Jud SMITH crosses tacks with Hank LAMMENS © Chuck Lantz
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