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22 January 2002, 11:03 am
No Racing On Day One
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Melges 24 World Championship

After a 3½ hour postponement waiting for wind in Key West race officer Dave Brennan made the only sensible choice and sent the Melges 24 World Championship fleet home with no racing attempted on the opening day.

"It was definitely the right move. Everyone was being baked alive and running out of drink and we'd waited long enough." said Britain's Nigel Young, trimmer for World Ranking joint leader Jamie Lea aboard GBR437.

With a ten race series planned and six races required to make a Championship the pressure will now be on to get enough races in, but the fleet was in complete agreement that racing in under 4 knots of breeze simply wasn't a choice. Two races per day are scheduled but there is an option to increase to three if necessary so the Melges 24 teams can now look forward to some long days on the water this week.

With such a strong fleet and so many contenders for the World title today's lack of racing won't do anything to relieve the pressure on the crews. "Any time you're waiting for a major championship to start there's a lot of excitement and anticipation and when you don't manage to get a race in on the opening day it just heightens that anticipation. That said I feel that getting us off the water and out of the sun was the best decision. If we'd sat out there much longer we'd have been in no fit state to race anyway even if the breeze had filled in." said European Ranking Corinthian Champion and IMCA Chairman Tom Freytag.

An interesting addition to the regatta for some of the Melges 24 teams is the International Team Competition featuring three boat teams incorporating a Farr 40, a Mumm 30 and a Melges 24. With two Australian teams, three US teams and teams from Canada, Germany, Great Britain, Japan, Scandinavia and Europe competition will be fierce for the new Terra Nova Trading Trophy.

Terra Nova Trading/Yachting Key West Race Week is also the final event in both the North American and World Melges 24 Ranking Series. With only two points separating Brit Jamie Lea (helming for Richard Thompson), France's Laurent Pages and Argyle Campbell and Neil Sullivan of America the ranking is still wide open which will add to the tension as the regatta develops.
Fiona Brown/News Editor
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