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5 August 2003, 10:22 am
Day One
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Snipe World Championship

After years of planning and preparation by the Borstahusen Sailing Club and the Swedish Snipe Fleets, the 2003 Snipe Worlds got underway yesterday. The weather has continued to be beautiful; warm sunny days and delightfully cool evenings.
Two races were scheduled, and the fleet sailed out for Race #1 with a 1000 start. The wind was to the left 30° from Sunday, and remained light at 8-10 kts. The impressive thing was the current...screaming down the course at about 320° and close to 2 kts. Combined with the lighter wind it was difficult to go upwind. Everyone seemed eager to push against this obstacle, and there two general recalls, and then the Z-flag and I-flag came out, calming everyone down and a clean start was obtained. Augie DIAZ and Jon ROGERS (USA) punched out from the middle and were one of the first teams to get to the right side. The wind seemed equally insufficient across the course, without major shifts anticipated, so the only strategy was to stay out of the current by getting to the right shore-side, and somehow keep clean air with all 61 boats going to the same side.

Augie and Jon rounded first, however they and everyone else continued to be reluctant to believe how much you had to overstand to compensate for the current. So everyone made many tacks close to the mark, slowing down and sometime bunching together and sliding into the mark instead of going around it. This was painful to watch. Carlos WANDERLEY and Richard ZEITEMANN (BRA) were close behind Augie and Jon, and the two boats matched raced the whole race. If the windward leg seemed to take forever, the downwind legs were over in a minute as the current added 1.8 to 2.1 kts to everyone's boatspeed. Every leg of this "W" found the leaders rounding the leeward mark and heading back upwind before the whole fleet had finished rounding the previous windward mark. The second and final windward legs found everyone working to the right however the leaders seemed to tack towards increased pressure and with a few shifts that were present. Frustration drove some to overstand by 30% or more into the right corner to gain advantage and keep clean air; it did not seem to work.

Then the final confusion was the finish line: the sailing instructions described this as between two red marks with red flags attached above the windward mark position. As the leaders approached the finish, the right finish mark lost its anchor. A small inflatable returned it to the finish boat, however it was downwind of a normal position and they simply tied the mark to the port side of the finish boat so they could continue to sight between the flags to call the finish.

Unfortunately, this hid the right finish marker from the approaching leaders coming out of the right corner, who assumed that the finish was between the left finish mark and the extra orange cylinder that had been anchored upwind out of the way, but reasonably close to the proper position for the right finish mark. Augie and Carlos had continued their personal duel and as a result had been passed by Adrián MARCATELLI and Fernando ZAPATOSKI of Argentina and Francisco SÁNCHEZ and Marina SÁNCHEZ of Spain. As Spain, Argentina, and Augie passed upwind of the finish boat the proper right finish mark now became visible, and Augie was the first to see it. He expertly gybed around and dodged under the RC boat to finish with momentum. Sanchez, Marcatelli and Wanderley all arrived at the finish boat's stern overlapped and going slow, and were drug away from the finish by the impressive current. At the time of this writing, the redress hearings are still underway.

The fleet sailed down for another race however the wind shifted frequently in direction and strength as the seabreeze filled in so the RC had to wait for over an hour to get the next race underway. This time an "O" was signalled. The wind was up to 12kts and moved right to 325°. Having been bruised severely in the first race everyone was committed to go right no matter what the price at the start, and the RC had to hoist a postponement when it was apparent that there was going to be a massive general recall. The line was significantly shifted to the right with an additional wind shift, even the windward mark had to be moved and the next start was clean. I am not positive of the details, however I was told by a reliable source that Augie and Jon were flagged by an on the water judge just before the start and had to return below the line and do a 720 before restarting, which gave the entire fleet a massive headstart, and Augie and Jon a giant handicap. They remained focused and slowly climbed their way through the fleet to an impressive 34 finish position

The second race however belonged to Hal GILREATH and James LEIBL. They had a clean start and played the shifts and areas of pressure up the middle right side. Sanchez, Paradeda (the current World Champion), and Wanderley were never far behind, constantly challenging, but never passing. The wind started to drop significantly towards the end of the race, although Hal and James rounded every mark first and won the second race. This was a fantastic day for Team USA, all boats finishing for the day in the top half of the fleet, and wining both races. More racing tomorrow.

Top Ten After Two Races

Pos Nation Helm/Crew R1 R2 Total
1 ESP Francisco SÁNCHEZ 6 2 8
2 USA George SZABO 5 6 11
3 ESP David SAURA 10 5 15
4 USA Hal GILREATH 16 0,75 16,75
5 BRA Carlos Henrique WANDERLEY 7 10 17
6 USA John MANDERSON 12 7 19
7 ITA Enrico SOLERIO 4 15 19
8 BRA Alexandre PARADEDA 20 3 23
9 JPN Masayoshi HASHIMOTO 14 9 23
10 ITA Paolo TomDsic 11 13 24

Event Media (As Amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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