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29 September 2005, 09:04 am
Putting the Hammer Down
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Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship 2005
Newport, Rhode Island, USA

Turning Newport harbour into a mirror, a light northerly wind turned calm this morning and kept racers ashore for several hours at New York Yacht Clubs Harbour Court on day three of the 2005 Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship.
Around noon when the breeze filled, the race committee was able to keep a consistent pace of racing in the seven knots of breeze by shrinking the course length in order to keep races at seven minutes duration, while working to complete 56 races for the gold and silver fleets. The lighter conditions, maxing out at 10 knots, is plenty of breeze for Vanguard 15s and was not expected to significantly impact the series standings as the boats rigs had been 'powered up' in anticipation of the lighter air.

With impressive team racing resumes on both sides, GBR 2 and USA 2 teams that were undefeated on the first day of this championship faced off early in the afternoon rotation. An umpire call against GBR 2 during the pre-start manoeuvres had one of the team working to finish their penalty spins by the time the starting horn completed the countdown. Winning the start, all three USA 2 boats tacked across GBR 2, with Patrick HOGAN (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Carlos LENZ (Clearwater, Fla.) moving out to a huge lead for USA 2. HOGAN and LENZ then turned their attention to blanketing the GBR 2 boats that were catching up to Pete LEVESQUE (Portland, Maine) and Liz HALL (Tiverton, R.I.) in second. Stuart HUDSON and Hamish WALKER, leading the way for GBR 2, were leaned on by HOGAN and LENZ, but remained in position to pin LEVESQUE and HALL. USA 2 with a 1-4-5 combination maintained a slight lead coming into mark two over GBR with 2-3-6. Those positions stayed intact around the course while GBR 2 attempted a double-team to reduce the gap between 4 and 5. The GBR 2 pair hammered away at Colin MERRICK (Portsmouth, R.I.) and Amanda CALLAHAN (Canton, Mass.) in fifth and were ultimately successful in getting their teammate out of last. Unfortunately, because they went after MERRICK and CALLAHAN, GBR 2 lost a spot to USA 2 who crossed the finish with a winning 1-2 combination in a classic example of team racing tactics demonstrated by two veteran teams.

Provisional standings at the end of the days racing, for the gold fleet: USA 2 (7-0); USA 1 (6-1); GBR 2 (5-2); GBR 1 (4-3); IRL 1 (3-4); NZL 1 (2-5); ISV (1-6); AUS 2 (0-7). In the silver fleet: ITA, JPN 1, NZL 2 (5-2); AUS 1, CZE, IRL 2 (4-3); JPN 2 (1-6); CAN (0-7).

Racing resumes today, Thursday, September 29, and continues through Saturday, October 1, when awards will be presented at Harbour Court followed by Closing Ceremonies. Competing are two teams each from Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and the U.S.A., and one team each from Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Jan Harley. © Matthew Cohen
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