Thunderstorms hit Miami on day four of the Yngling Worlds, but did nothing to halt the progress of Sarah AYTON's defending champions.
The blue skies and moderate breeze of Miami disappeared on Wednesday morning and the sailors faced low clouds, rain squalls and 20-25 knots. Warnings for thunderstorms had been issued and the Race Committee and the sailors already knew when leaving the harbour that this would be a tricky day.
The Yngling is described as a heavy-weather boat that can handle a lot of wind. In fact it is probably the Olympic Class that can sustain the highest wind forces and still conduct racing without damages. The comments among sailors and coaches were that these conditions are good for racing but were getting close to the limit.
The Yngling doesn't have a set maximum wind limit for racing. Being raced worldwide, the conditions are very different from lakes to open ocean and it is at the discretion of the Race Committee to decide when the conditions are not suitable for racing.
The race got underway and after a close start the fleet fought the elements and each other for the first laps of a three-lap upwind and downwind course. The Race Committee were keeping track of a thunderstorm closing in via radar and decided to shorten the course for a finish on the second downwind. The squall hit the fleet going down towards the finish and the wind increased substantially and shifted about 40 degrees. The teams showed their skills in boat handling in extreme racing conditions taking down their spinnakers on the final run for the finish.
, Sarah WEBB
and Pippa WILSON
(GBR) extended their overall lead with a bullet in Wednesday's sole race. The gold medallists of the 2007 ISAF Sailing World Championships are now in the enviable position of holding a 13-point overall lead, whilst their excluded score is a fifth in race 6, far lower than any of their rivals.
The German team of Ulrike SCHUEMANN
, Julia BLECK
and Ute HOEPFNER
(GER) remains in second after a fifth place in Wednesday's race. Australia's Krystal WEIR
, Karyn GOJNICH
and Angela FARRELL
also hold on to their overall third place position.
In the fight for the Olympic nation qualification spots Norway, France, Greece and Italy currently have an advantage over Denmark, Canada, Japan and Ukraine. The fight for the Medal Race is also exciting with less than 20 points between positions ten and 15.
Tomorrow is the final day of the opening series and with three races scheduled it is the moment of truth for many of the crews.
Results - click here
Yngling World Championship - www.ussailing.org/olympics/ynglingworlds/index.asp