Witchcraft on the Water

Olympic0825
Stuart Streuli

ATHENS--It was the sort of day on the Saronic Gulf where, said American Star crew Phil Trinter, "You sail a poor race and you finish first and you sail a good race and you finish 15th. It's just the way it is out there. It's witchcraft." Four classes hit the water today, Day 12 of the 2004 Athens Olympic Regatta. The two Mistral divisions finished their series with a single race each. A couple of countries that haven't spent at lot of time on sailing podiums, Israel and China, were among the winners. It was Israel's first ever gold medal in any sport. Also racing were the Stars and the Tornados, the two remaining classes in which the United States still has a shot at a medal. Neither American team had what they would term a successful day, but both are still in medal position with three races remaining for each class. Both Trinter and Tornado skipper John Lovell called it one of the most unpredictable days they've seen on the Saronic Gulf. "This was extremely frustrating for us because we trained here for over a month and never really saw this condition hold all day," said Lovell. "Normally when you get the wind out of 270 to 250 it usually only lasts for 30 or 40 minutes, maybe an hour. The race committee usually holds off and waits, it usually dies and swings around to 180 . But today for some reason, it never did that. I kept thinking the sea breeze was going to sock in, but it never did." The breeze actually did eventually get to 180, but the slow progression, with lots of stops, and starts, and more than a few shifts back the other direction was particularly strange and impossible to predict. Lovell and Charlie Ogletree had a sixth and a seventh. It cost them the lead in the regatta as the Austrians, who have always had good speed in light air, had a first and a fourth and now lead the Tornado class by seven points. In both races Lovell and Ogletree were able to improve upon their first mark position, moving from eighth to first in the first race and fifth to fourth in the second race. "We were up in the pack in both races," said Lovell, "and we seemed to have a bad last lap both times. In the first race we rounded first with one lap to go and went just a little bit left. It looked like there was stronger breeze on the left and the sea breeze was going to attempt to come in and obviously it didn't happen. Boats that were 100 yards away got more wind and we lost four or five boats there." Tied on points for third, just four points behind Lovell and Ogletree, is the rather interesting foursome of Darren Bundock and John Forbes of Australia and Mitch Booth and Herbert Dercksen of the Netherlands. Booth, a native Australian, and Forbes sailed together in the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona, winning a bronze. The two had a falling out before the 1996 Olympics and battled in court for the right to attend the Savannah Games. Booth and Andrew Langenberger won the court case, and a silver medal at the Games. While Booth sat out the 2000 Games in Sydney while switching to Dutch citizenship, Bundock and Forbes won a silver. It should be an interesting three final races in the Tornado class. In the first Star race, Cayard and Trinter had a solid start, but picked the left side and the right came in strong. They were 11th at the first mark and unable to move forward over the next three legs, rounding the second leeward mark in 14th place. But there they were remarkably able to get to the right of the fleet sailing on a 30-degree left shiftthat everyone else seemed to ignore . The breeze came back halfway up the beat and all of the sudden they were in first. The only unfortunate part was that the Brazilian team of Torben Grael and Marcelo Ferreira, who are leading the regatta and were eighth around the second leeward mark, finished second. In the second race, Cayard and Trinter were again forced to grind back after picking the wrong side of the first beat. But they did that methodically, moving up to sixth with two legs to go. With the Danes, Canadians, and Brazilians behind them, the U.S. duo was in a great position to move solidly into second, and take a few points out of Grael's lead. But over the next two legs it all went sour, as the breeze became especially patchy. "There were islands of breeze out there," said Trinter, "and we missed them all." They dropped to 10th at the final windward mark and then 15th at the finish. Cayard and Trinter are currently in third, 2.8 points behind Ross MacDonald and Mike Wolfs of Canada--they received average points for their sixth race--and one point ahead of Nicklas Holm and Claus Olesen of Denmark and Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau of France. The British team of Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell is four points out of third. Grael and Ferreira, on the other hand, are comfortably in first, 19.2 points ahead of the Canadians. Their worst race is a seventh and unless they have two difficult races tomorrow they'll likely lock up the gold with a race to spare. The 49ers will finish their regatta tomorrow. Tim Wadlow and Pete Spaulding cannot medal, but will have to hold off the Norwegian team for fourth. The Stars and Tornados are scheduled for two races each tomorrow and then a final race on Saturday. Results of Interest 49er (19 boats) Tim Wadlow/Pete Spaulding (USA): (7, 8, 5, (OCS), 9, 9, 8, 3, 1, (13), 7, 3, 10, 11, 1) fourth Tornado (17 boats) Oskar Johansson/John Curtis (CAN): (14, 15, 4, 13, 8, 12, 14, (17)) 14th Enrique Figueroa/Jorge Hernandez (PUR): (5, 9, 7, 8, 2, 5, 9, (12)) eighth John Lovell/Charlie Ogletree (USA): (2, 2, 1, 6, (9), 9, 6, 7) second Star (17 boats) Peter Bromby/Lee White (BER): ((17), 16, 8, 11, 12, 10, 6, 4) 13th Torben Grael/Marcelo Ferreira (BRA): (5, 4, 1, 1, 2, 5, 2 (6)) first Ross MacDonald/Mike Wolfs (CAN): (7, 11, 4, 3, 1, RDG/5.2, 8, (14)) fourth Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter (USA): (1, 6, (15), 10, 3, 6, 1, 15) third The Following Classes Have Finished Racing Men's Mistral (34 boards) Peter Wells (USA): (22, 20, 23, 16, 22, 29, 28, 24, 28, (31)) 28th Women's Mistral (26 boards) Karla Barrera (PUR): ((26), 24, 25, 26, 23, 25, 26, 26, 26, 25, 24) 26th Lanee Beashel (USA): (13, 16, 9, 18, 17, 14, 6, 14, (19), 15, 5) 16th Finn (25 boats) Richard Clarke (CAN): (10, 18, 15, 22, 19, 15, (OCS), 14, 8, 11, 2) 18th Ben Ainslie (GBR): (9, (DSQ), 1, 1, 4, 1, 2, 3, 2, 1, 14) first Dean Barker (NZL): (5, 10, 7, 11, 7, 16, (OCS), 12, 19, 20, 10) 13th Kevin Hall (USA): (11, 6, 13, (17), 16, 14, 13, 9, 9, 17, 7) 11th Europe (25 boats) Meg Gaillard (USA): (9, 11, 13, 9, 3, 13, 11 (16), 9 (19), 19) 14th Laser (42 boats) Robert Scheidt (BRA): (3, (8), 1, 3, 8, 4, (19), 12, 7, 3, 6) first Bernard Luttmer (CAN): (15, 25, 22, 21, 27, 33, 31, (DNF), 9, 32, 30) 29th Timothy Pitts (ISV): ((42), 40, 41, 40, 36, 39, 37, 34, 34, 40, 40) 41st Hamish Pepper (NZL): (24, 9, (26), 11, 9, 5, 13, 3, RDG/11.3, 2, 21) seventh Mark Mendelblatt (USA): (2, 14, 20, 6, 6, 10, (29), 22, 16. 6, 9) eighth Men's 470 (27 boats) Paul Foerster/Kevin Burnham (USA): (1, 8, 2, 15, 9, 4, 3, 7, 18, 4, (23)) first Women's 470 (20 boats) Jen Provan/Nikola Girke (CAN): (4, 13, 17, 11, 12, 7, 2, (19), 6, 19, 12) 13th Katie McDowell/Isabelle Kinsolving (USA): (12, 16, 3, 12, 9, 2, (18), 17, 8, 1, 4, ) fifth Yngling (16 boats) Paula Lewin/Peta Lewin/Christine Patton (BER): (4, 15, 6, 13, (16), 14, 9, 16, 16, 11, 4) 15th Lisa Ross/Chantal Leger/Deirdre Crampton (CAN): (13, 9, (15), 15, 12, 12, 12, 14, 15, 2, 12) 16th Carol Cronin/Liz Filter/Nancy Haberland (USA): (2, 10, 16, 9, 15, 10, 1, 15, 7, 1, (OCS)) 10th