Young rocket Mark Campbell-James and seasoned veteran Chris Law are both in the unseeded running after the first day’s racing at Bermuda’s Colorcraft Gold Cup Grade 1 match racing event

Hurricane-strength winds of 65-75 knots, gusting 90, hammered Hamilton on Thursday and Friday, sinking one of the elegant International One Design sloops used for racing and delaying the arrival of many of the skippers and crews. Saturday was considerably calmer and racing began in earnest on Sunday as the unseeded skippers raced for the right to confront the big hitters.

Among the unseeded skippers are Britons Mark Campbell-James and Chris Law. Law, formerly an Admiral’s and America’s Cup regular with four Olympic campaigns to his credit, dropped just one of the first day’s three races – to Team Dennis Conner’s Kenny Read – and was unlucky to lose that. Having won the start, Law could only watch as Read, fresh from his Round The Island triumph at the wheel of Stealth during the America’s Cup Jubilee, lucked into a good shift and sailed through to win.

“These are tough conditions,” said Read, acknowledging his fortune in the gusty, shifty 15-knot breeze, “and it doesn’t matter if you have one knot extra in boat speed if you get on the wrong side of a 30 degree wind shift.” Law is currently second in his group behind Read.

Campbell-James, in the second unseeded group, is Britain’s brightest young match racing prospect. Aged just 21, he is ranked fourth in the British match racing standings and captained the BUSA match racing team last year when they won the Coca Cola Student Match Racing Worlds in Auckland. Yesterday he swept past the similarly unseeded Markus Wieser, Dave Duleff and Thomas Kozyn to share a four-way lead with Peter Bromby, Prada helmsman Gavin Brady and Andy Horton – all four leaders defeated the same three sailors.

The unseeded round robins will be completed today, weather permitting, and the top four unseeded skippers from each group will meet the seven seeds on Wednesday. An eighth seed will be produced by a best of three sail-off between the two fifth-placed unseeded boats.

Among the seeds are former Gold Cup holder and GBR Challenge starting helmsman Andy Green, Cup colossus Dennis Conner, Magnus Holmberg of the Swedish Victory challenge, Oracle’s Peter Holmberg, former Young America helmsman Ed Baird, illbruck’s starting helmsman Morten Henriksen and Danish amateur Jes Gram Hansen.

Team New Zealand coach Bertrand Pacé’s participation fell victim to a travel freeze imposed by TNZ after 11 September. One World’s strike helmsman Peter Gilmour chose to spend more time with his young family in Washington and former Young Australia helmsman James Spithill dropped out with last-minute crew problems.

Colorcraft Gold Cup 2001, Albuoy’s Point, Bermuda
Unseeded standings after first day: Win-Loss
Group 1:1= Peter Bromby 3-01= Gavin Brady 3-01= Andy Horton 3-01= Mark Campbell-James 3-07= Dave Juleff 0-47= Thomas Kozyn 0-47= Markus Wieser 0-4Group 2:1. Ken Read 3-02= Chris Law 2-12= Lars Nordjberg4= Marten Hedlund 1-14= Scott Dickson 1-16= Chris Carroll 0-36= Nicky Lewin 0-3