George Szabo and crew Austin Sperry won the first race of the Star Worlds on Sunday in light conditions on Santa Monica Bay, beating the race’s time limit by just over three minutes. The San Diego-based team used their knowledge of light air sailing to dominate an entry list that includes some of the very best sailors in the world, many of whom are now devoutly hoping that the series will have enough races to allow a throw out.
For complete results, and to follow the Star Worlds this week, see www.starworlds2002.com
Over the Labor Day weekend, two high-profile U.S. racing programs will decide the winner of the prestigious Northern Ocean Racing Trophy by sailing the 238-mile Vineyard race; a tactical battle out Long Island Sound to the entrance of Buzzard’s Bay, around the South end of Block island, and back to a finish off Stamford, Conn. The course is dominated by two tidal gates at the exit/entrance to Long Island Sound where currents run as fast as 5 knots. Weather conditions can also be crucial; late summer in the Northeast can be light, and more than a few veterans of this 70-year old race can tell tails of watching lobster pot buoys motoring past at high rates of speed.
Joseph Dockery’s Carrera, the Carroll Marine-built Farr 60 and Blue Yankee, the 66-foot Reichel/Pugh design originally named Exile and owned by Bob Towse, are just over one point apart for the series. The NORT uses the results from distance races and this year has been chock-full of them. Carrera won the Miami to Baltimore race in April, placed third in the Block Island race, fourth in the Newport Bermuda race, and first in the Around Long Island race. Blue Yankee won line honors in the Miami to Baltimore race but placed second on corrected time, dropped out of Block Island race after a tragic man overboard incident, and won an emotional victory in Bermuda race.
When the above results are tallied, they show Blue Yankee in the lead with 1.69 points, and Carrera with 2.7. In order to win the NORT, Carrera must win the Vineyard race and Blue Yankee must place third or worse. Follow the action at www.stamfordyc.com
The France Red team has won the Rolex Commodore’s Cup by a whopping 62.5 points. The team, composed of two IMX-40s and an X-442, finished strongly in the final race of the series, an inshore race on Sunday. “We were surprised to win,’ said Gery Trentesaux, owner of the IMX-40 Courrier Nord. “And we were surprised it was so easy. We thought the England Red and Wales teams would be good as we were impressed by the speed of the Farr 52s, but while they are good in IRM events, they are not as dominant in IRC racing.” In second was the team from the Netherlands, 62.5 points behind France Red. In third, the English Red team, 97.24 points out of first. www.rorc.org
Bruno Peyron and the crew of the big Ollier cat Orange missed beating Steve Fossett’s around Britain and Ireland record Sunday by just over an hour after sitting becalmed a few scant miles from their goal. “Of course we are very disappointed to have missed the record by so little, said Peyron. “But we have come up smiling anyway as we’ve had a great 5 days together.”
Peyron, when asked about future plans, indicated that Orange would be leaving shortly for the Mediterranean, but don’t count on this being the end of Orange‘s record attempts off England. Peyron has stated a desire to go after the around Isle of Wight record and could easily do so before leaving for the Med.
**Big things are expected **of the St. Marys Seahawks this year as they sit first and second, respectively, in the womens and coed preseason college sailing polls released Wednesday. St. Marys won the 2002 Gill ICSA Dinghy Championships in Hawaii last June. Harvard, last years top overall team by virtue of their win in the Fowle Trophy standings, is first in the coed rankings. Second in the womens rankings is defending national womens champion Old Dominion. For the complete rankings, see: http://sailingworld.com/sw_article.php?articleID=1213
Last week’s long-awaited decision from the America’s Cup Arbitration Panel saw OneWorld penalized one point and fined “court costs” of $13,500 for being in possession of design drawings from three other teams. The decision appears relatively light because the Panel found that there was no proof that OneWorld utilized the information in any way. Remember, though, how important one point can be. Team Dennis Conner lost a point in the last Louis Vuitton Cup because of a rules violation concerning an Australian-built rudder. As the 2000 Louis Vuitton Cup came to an end, that lost point meant the world to Team DC, and effectively kept them out of the finals.
Still not resolved is the issue surrounding Prada‘s hastily withdrawn lawsuit against Oracle. Clearly stated in the Protocol that Prada and Team New Zealand signed prior to this America’s Cup, is the rule that no AC team may sue another. The penalty for such a violation is simple and extraordinarily harsh: expulsion from the Louis Vuitton Cup. It will be interesting to see how the Arbitration Panel deals with this death penalty situation, which could mean a loss of well over $90 million dollars by Prada‘s investors.
Day Three of the Olympic Test Event was a test of how well Greece, the host country of the 2004 Olympics, deals with bad weather at the sailing venue in the Saronic Gulf. The results? Perfect, according to competitors who were expecting a logjam at the boat ramps and hauling facilities, but saw nothing but calm efficiency. This thanks to sixty-one gear, rescue and security boats that helped ensure the safe return of the 240 race boats before the storm struck.
This is a good sign for Greece, as more than a few commentators had expressed worries about the countrys Olympic Committee having everything ready at the sailing venue in time for the summer of 2004.
The U.S. Olympic sailing squad has posted some nice finishes so far. Andrew Mack and Adam Lowry, are in second place in the 49er class, and Hannah Swett, Joan Touchette, and Melissa Purdy are second in the Ynglings. Ben Ainslie of Great Britain continues his hot streak and is leading the Finn class.