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22 September 2003, 01:11 pm
The Agony And The Ecstasy
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2003 Etchells World Championship
Greenwich, Connecticut

93 teams from nine nations are competing in the 2003 Etchells World Championship. Some of the most notable names in sailing are present for what promises to be a high profile event, including past America's Cuppers Dennis CONNER and Ken READ.
The presence of Hurricane Isabel caused the organisers to announce a delay to the scheduled start of the 2003 Etchells World Championship but racing finally got underway yesterday with one race completed.

Golfers and sun bathers have an affinity for high pressure systems. Sailors on the other hand prefer some frontal movement as therein lies the wind. Sunday morning found the western Long Island Sound firmly in the grips of a beautiful high pressure system complete with a cloudless deep blue sky and a light northerly breeze.

The racing schedule called for a practice race in the morning followed by the first, of at least six daily races, to start in the afternoon. The weather schedule called for light northerly breezes shifting to the south southwest. The practice race did indeed start in a light northerly that proceeded to die at the weather mark where the race was called.

After leaving the fleet bobbing motionless for an hour a hint of a southerly breeze showed up and was enough to send the race committee and the fleet of 93 boats into action. After much setting and resetting of courses the breeze filled in with enough conviction to get a race off. The sailing instructions state that no race may be started later than 1350hrs and this one started at 1340hrs. Talk about countdowns. With the fleet half way down the first leg the wind proceeded to clock around into the west to the tune of 65 degrees. Therefore the ecstasy of those on the right side of the course and the agony of those who went left and got clobbered. The breeze continued to clock with the steam gage finally reading northwest.

There is an adage on the sound that states, " Never trust a dying northerly" and as the sun got lower this one began to lighten. The race committee having been frustrated by a fickle and fragile breeze let discretion be the better part of valor and shortened the final beat to the finish line.

The real joy was competing with 93 of the very best and in some cases the biggest names in sailing. The sight of the fleet under spinnaker was really inspiring

To Bill FORTENBERRY and all the others who did well in race one, we say congratulations. To those who got the worst of the capricious breeze remember that it is a long regatta with plenty of time to make good.

The event is being held in the waters off Greenwich, Connecticut and is hosted by Indian Harbor and Riverside Yacht Clubs.

Top Ten After One Race

Pos Nation Crew Race 1 Points
1 USA B. Fortenberry, P. Murphy & N. Frizzell 1 1
2 USA K. Read, K. Anderson & S. Norris 2 2
3 NZL C. Appleton, P. Merrington & P. Gudmunson 3 3
4 CAN L. Creaser", E. Koppernaes" & T. Yuill 4 4
5 CAN H. Fogh", R. Cheer" & T. Fogh 5 5
6 USA J. Smith", H. Frazer" & A. Wills 6 6
7 NZL C. Thorpe, S. Barton & B. Joyce 7 7
8 USA D. Conner, P. Burton & T. Ray 8 8
9 GBR R. Wickens, M. Dowher & T. Martell 9 9
10 USA P. Garland, D. Moffat & T. Hotchkiss 10 10
Event Media (As Amended by ISAF Secretariat)
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