Pan Am Gold, Snipe Worlds, Fastnet Update

SW’s weekly news digest, Grand Prix Sailor

PAN AM GAMES The United States won two gold medals in eight Pan Am Games classes racing last week in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. Lanee Butler earned her Mistral class gold medal convincingly, with a day to spare, finishing off the series with two firsts. The J/24 team of skipper Tim Healy (Newport, R.I.) and crew Nick Judson (Nantucket, Mass.), Gordon Borges (Newport, R.I.) and Davenport Crocker (Cohasset, Mass.) did it by finishing second, ahead of Brazil, in the first of the two races held on the final day of racing. “We had two shots at taking the gold today,” said Healy afterwards. “We could either wrap it up with a first in either of today’s two races or with a second in either race, as long as Brazil was behind us. We were hoping to do it in one race, and we did.” As such, Healy’s team retired before the day’s second race began. Brazil retired as well, having secured the silver medal, while Chile sailed the second race to take bronze.USA confidently started near the leeward end of the starting line, while the rest of the fleet stacked up to windward. “We wanted to be on the left side up the whole course because the pressure was there,” said Judson, who served as the team’s tactician. “We also wanted to be to leeward of Brazil and then find a good time to tack and cross the fleet.” Judson credited Healy’s ability at the helm for allowing them to foot out quickly from underneath the fleet. “He is just so good at getting the boat to go fast, and everybody on the team does such a good job of communicating.” The U.S. crew led around the course, putting another boat between itself and Brazil.“I think I can speak for the entire J/24 team that this was an awesome experience,” said Healy. “We are used to sailing on our own, so we enjoyed every aspect of being with the other sailors, coaches and support staff and representing the U.S.A. this way.”On Saturday, the U.S.A. won its first medal--also a gold--when Mistral Women’s sailor Lanee Butler (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) turned in two race victories to make it mathematically impossible for anyone to catch her. Having secured the gold, Butler sat out the last day. Canada and Argentina took silver and bronze, respectively.Snipe sailors Henry Filter (Stevensville, Md) and Lisa Griffith (San Diego, Calif./Phillipsburg, N.J.) won the last two races of the regatta to pass Agentina and Canada and finish fourth overall. Allowing that Brazil and Cuba, which ultimately took gold and silver medals, were busy match racing each other for their podium positions, Filter felt good about his team’s performance nevertheless. “We finally had the conditions we’re fast in: 15 to 16 knots, which is a step up from what it had been on our course,” he said. Taking the bronze medal in this class was Uruguay.For info on all classes and results: www.ussailing.org/Olympics/PanAm/ROLEX FASTNET RACEThe 608-mile classic distance race from the Solent, on the south coast of England, to Fastnet Rock on the south coast of Ireland, and back to Plymouth, England, began yesterday (Sunday). At presstime Monday afternoon, the lead boat--Neville Crichton’s Alfa Romeo, had rounded “The Rock” about an hour and a half ahead of its rival, Bob McNeil’s Zephyrus V. Both the 90-foot Alfa Romeo and the 86-foot Zephyrus V are water-ballasted Reichel-Pugh designs. According to Crichton, “We left six crew behind in Cowes, deciding to sail with just 18 people to keep the weight on board as light as possible. We only have one spinnaker left as we destroyed one on the way down the Solent.”Winds have been variable, and the smaller classes have spent a great deal of time anchored at tidal gates such as Portland Bill as they push west in light airs. The big-boat classes have done well in the meantime, such as the Super Zero Maxi class in which Alfa Romeo sails, and the Open 60 class, in which Sebastien Josse’s VMI had opened up a good lead as of early Monday morning. Info: http://www.rorc.org/fastnet/ MATCH RACING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPISAF’s match-racing championship will be held at Riva del Garda, Italy, August 24 to 31, 2003, and will include three-time defending America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts and ISAF No. 1-ranked skipper Karol Jablonski, of Poland. Also competing will the No. 2 through 5 ranked skippers, Jesper Radich and Jes Gram Hansen, of Denmark, Ed Baird, of St. Petersburg, Fla., and James Spithill, of Australia. The rest of the field ranks No. 7 through No. 12: Bjorn Hansen (Sweden), Mathieu Richard (France), Staffan Lindberg (Finland), Mikael Lindqvist (Sweden), Ian Williams (Great Britain), and Paolo Cian (Italy). Cian also helped redesign the boats used for the championship, the Blusail 24 Sport, which is derived from the Blusail 24. Info: http://worldchampionship.g2k.itNY/NY SAIL EXPOEarlier in the summer, Sail America’s newest boat show signed on Russell Coutts for a two-hour appearance (Sept. 28th, 2-4 p.m.). Now it’s added Brad van Liew and his Around Alone-winning 50-footer Tommy Hilfiger for the entire show (the boat can be viewed each day during select hours). The first New York/New Jersey Sail Expo, September 25-28, 2003, will be held at Liberty Landing, just across the Hudson River from Manhattan. In addition to new boats and equipment, the show will feature Gary Jobson, a number of other sailing authors, and practical seminars for a variety of interests. If you’re in shape from a summer of solid crewwork, you can also test yourself on the Lewmar Winch Grinder, sponsored by Lewmar, Sailing World, and Sunsail. Info: http://www.sailamerica.com/boatshows.cfm?show_id=ny&mode;=homeSNIPE WORLDSAugie Diaz and Jon Rogers won the 2003 Snipe Worlds, only securing the victory on the last beat of the last of seven races. Early in the race the Spanish team of Francisco Sanchez and Marina Sanchez had the points to win, with Diaz and Rogers deep. Then as the Spaniards slipped, George Szabo and Brian Janney, of San Diego, passed several boats and held the points lead for the championship. But on the last beat in a dying breeze, Diaz and Rogers worked by 5 boats to finish 13th and take the championship. For the full story and photos by Bill Welch: http://www.snipeus.org/news/news.htmOLYMPIC CLASS RACINGFrom U.S. 49er team Tim Wadlow and Pete Spaulding: “We are here in Athens training in preparation for the Olympic Test Event, which begins on the 18th of August. We arrived in Athens one week ago and have spent the last week competing in a warm up regatta called the Saronikos Gulf Regatta. This event was hosted out of a yacht club right next to the brand new Olympic Harbor so we were sailing on the same waters as we will be for the Olympic Test Event. “The 49er fleet at this event was small, but very good. The top two Spanish boats (ESP 1 and ESP 4), the best British (GBR 2) boat, and the German who just won the 2003 European Championship attended this event. The predicted light southerly winds that we expected were never seen during the event. Instead every day was windy from the North, which meant that the wind was coming across several mountains and the city of Athens before it got to our racecourse. It was not uncommon for the wind to shift through 45 degrees and vary in speed from 10 to 25 knots in a single race. The conditions were very challenging but that played to our strengths. “We started the event by winning the first three races in row. Our upwind boat speed was excellent and we were passing boats with solid boat handling. After the first three races we never looked back and went on to win the event! This is the first international 49er event we have won, and we had to beat many of the best teams in the world to do it.” Read more about intense local weather and security, as well as previous updates from one of the U.S. Sailing Team’s top 49er pairs at http://www.teamws.orgTHISTLE NATIONALSBrent Barbehenn, Chris Murphy, and Scott Lenox scored an 18-point victory over 93 other Thistles at the class national championship at Fort Walton YC. Defending champion Mike Ingham, with John Baker and Joy Martin, finished second 22 points ahead of the next finisher. Results: http://www.thistleclass.com/nationals_2003/results.htmLIGHTNING NA PREVIEWMore than 100 boats will compete in the 2003 Charles Schwab Lightning North Americans, which begins Friday, August 15, at Cedar Point YC, in Westport, Conn. Qualifying races run Sunday and Monday, with championship races following, Tuesday through Thursday. Top contenders should include 2003 world champ Tito Gonzalez and past NA champs Bill Healy and Ched Proctor. Info: www.lightning2003na.com