U.S Team Upbeat After a Mixed Day

Olympic0814
Stuart Streuli

ATHENS--The 2004 Olympic regatta opened with mixed results for the U.S. team, a few moments of brilliance and a few that left them shaking their heads. But, on the whole, the team was very upbeat after a highly anticipated first day of racing. The Men's 470 team of Paul Foerster and Kevin Burnham had the best day of the U.S. sailors, scoring a first in the opening race and a eighth in the second race. This leaves them in third, four points behind the British team of Nick Rogers and Joe Glanfield, who had a second and a third. But Burnham was very happy with how the day went. "We had a good start at the leeward end [in the first race] with the Dutch underneath us taking the pin," he said. "They tacked and crossed us, but we saw more pressure ahead of us." The next time the boats came together Foerster and Burnham were able to protect the left by leebowing the Dutch boat. They found a small shift and were able to work out to a nearly a 20-second lead by the top mark. As the breeze picked up, said Burnham, they struggled to hold off the British team. The gap got a small as 9 seconds, but the U.S. duo played good defense and took home a 16-second win. The second race featured a less stellar start. But the real problems came after they rounded the first mark, when the cover of the spinnaker halyard separated from the core. They lost time both on the set, when Foerster had to tie the halyard up, and on the next upwind leg as the spinnaker wouldn't come all the way down, and they were forced to sail with the head 18 inches out of the bag. "I couldn't be happier," said Burnham. "Our speed was really good [in the second race]. We just had a really bad start, we did four tacks in the first minute and a half. I think we rebounded off of that really well." The halyard was a new line installed for this regatta and neither Burnham nor Foerster was quite sure what happened. They replaced it with one similar to what is being used by much of the 27-boat fleet. The Yngling team of Carol Cronin, Liz Filter, and Nancy Haberland had a almost the exact same day, finished second in the opening race--the first Olympic competition for the 22-foot keelboat--and then recovering very nicely from a horrible first leg in the second race to finish 10th. They're currently fifth in the overall standings, just 3 points out of second. "We had a really good comeback in the second race," said Cronin. "We're really pleased with that." At one point, according to Cronin, they were in last place. "Today for most of the day Nancy was able to look around and call the shifts," she added, noting that in heavier air, when the crews are drop hiking over the side, it's tough for them to see anything. "She's the reason we got back so many points." Finn sailor Kevin Hall had a solid day on the water. An 11th and a sixth left him tied on points for seventh in the 25-boat fleet. But he felt it could've been better. "I feel lucky to be here," he said in a statement released through US SAILING. "I just wish I'd had slightly more luck on the race course and I'm looking forward to the rest of the series." Hall looked especially strong in the first beat of the second race when he turned a poor start into a fourth-place rounding at the weather mark. He was fifth going around the final upwind mark, but lost two boats on a difficult run. A protest involving two-time Olympic medalist Ben Ainslie of Great Britain shook up the standings in the final race, moving Hall up a place both in that race and in the overall standings. Ainslie, who had a ninth in the first race, was a strong medal favorite and now faces a long road to the podium. The final U.S. team competing was the Women's 470 crew of Katie McDowell and Isabelle Kinsolving. They struggled with their speed in both races and are currently 13th. "It was not a great day us," said McDowell. "Speed [was our problem]. That sort of snowballs into tactics when you can't go exactly where you want to go." But, they have an idea how to fix their problem. "I think our pre-bend was not where we thought it was," she said. "We came in and measured it. We have a few little adjustments to make in the morning. We'll be OK." McDowell and Kinsolving did catch a break after racing as two of the competitors who were ahead of them were disqualified from races, moving them from 15th to 13th and also subtracting 2 points from their scoreline. The same four classes that sailed today will also sail tomorrow and they'll be joined by the Laser, Europe, and both Mistral classes. Results of Interest Men's Mistral (34 boards) Peter Wells (USA): Will start competing on Sunday Women's Mistral (26 boards) Karla Barrera (PUR): Will start competing on Sunday Lanee Beashel (USA): Will start competing on Sunday Finn (25 boats) Richard Clarke (CAN): (10, 18) tied on points for 15th Ben Ainslie (GBR): (9, DSQ) 19th Dean Barker (NZL): (5, 10) sixth Kevin Hall (USA): (11, 6) tied on points for seventh Europe (25 boats) Meg Gaillard (USA): Will start competing on Sunday Laser (42 boats) Robert Scheidt (BRA): Will start competing on Sunday Bernard Luttmer (CAN): Will start competing on Sunday Timothy Pitts (ISV): Will start competing on Sunday Hamish Pepper (NZL): Will start competing on Sunday Mark Mendelblatt (USA): Will start competing on Sunday Men's 470 (27 boats) Paul Foerster/Kevin Burnham (USA): (1, 8) third Women's 470 (20 boats) Jen Provan/Nikola Girke (CAN): (4, 13) ninth Katie McDowell/Isabelle Kinsolving (USA): (12, 16) tied on points for 13th 49er (19 boats) Tim Wadlow/Pete Spaulding (USA): Will start competing on Monday Tornado (17 boats) Oskar Johansson/John Curtis (CAN): Will start competing on Aug. 21 Enrique Figueroa/Jorge Hernandez (PUR): Will start competing on Aug. 21 John Lovell/Charlie Ogletree (USA): Will start competing on Aug. 21 Star (17 boats) Peter Bromby/Lee White (BER): Will start competing on Aug. 21 Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira (BRA): Will start competing on Aug. 21 Ross MacDonald/Mike Wolfs (CAN): Will start competing on Aug. 21 Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter (USA): Will start competing on Aug. 21 Yngling (16 boats) Paula Lewin/Peta Lewin/Christine Patton (BER): (4, 15) 11th Lisa Ross/Chantal Leger/Deirdre Crampton (CAN): (13, 9) tied on points for 12th Carol Cronin/Liz Filter/Nancy Haberland (USA): (2, 10) fifth For the official Olympic results page, http://www.athens2004.com/en/resultsSailing/results?rsc=SA0000000 For US SAILING's reports on the Games, http://www.ussailing.org