Beadsworth leads Americans by three points after four races 28/6/07

Day two of the Etchells World Championship in Cowes yesterday brought strong winds, incredibly close racing and more than a few gear and crew failures including two men overboard (both promptly recovered and now safe and well).

With the wind averaging 22-26 knots and occasionally gusting over 30 from the south-west the seas were large and the racing was incredibly physically demanding. Even some of the best crews found themselves struggling with only 28 of the 45 competitors crossing the finish line in the second race of the day.

Overall Andy Beadsworth, sailing GBR1361 with Oscar Strugstad and Simon Fry, retains his lead thanks to a seventh this morning, his worst result of the championship so far, and an unexpected third in the afternoon. On the final approaches to this afternoon’s finish it seemed inevitable that Beadsworth would come fourth just behind American Peter Duncan. Duncan was coming in on the slightly favoured port end and over to starboard Beadsworth had no chance of getting to the line before him. However, Duncan appeared to misunderstand the line setup and passed the wrong side of the mark, failing to finish and handing Beadsworth third place on a plate.

Best performance of the day definitely goes to Ante Razmilovic, sailing GBR1333 with Jez Fanstone and Stuart Flinn, who took third in the morning race and then won in the afternoon with a beautifully controlled performance in near survival conditions. He now lies fourth overall on 24 points, just three points shy of third place.

Jud Smith, sailing USA1351 with David McClintock and Steve Girling, was Ante’s closest challenger with a 2, 6 score which has moved him up from third place into second on 20 points, just ahead of James Howells, sailing GBR1332 with David Bedford and Oscar Mead, who is one point behind him.

For pre-regatta favourite Nils Razmilovic the regatta went from bad to worse despite winning the first race. Unfortunately he was over eager in the afternoon’s race but failed to return and was scored OCS. Back ashore he requested redress from the jury but his request was denied. His 2, 34, 1, 46 score leaves him in 16th overall with no prospect of a way back onto the podium.

Howells and Beadsworth have been the most consistent performers in the regatta so far and are now the only two competitors with a score line all in single digits. Speaking after racing today James Howells commented: “We’ve just been working quite hard at it. It’s been a very difficult regatta and something of a chess game and having David [Bedford] in the middle has really helped with that. We’ve been going quite quickly but it’s been tough and there have been times when people will say that the course was wrong, but we were 40th round the first mark yesterday and worked our way back up to 4th just by sailing quick and doing the right things at the right time.

“We broke a spinnaker today. We were on starboard gybe and the pressure was up and we blew some seams but managed to gybe over and come back fairly hot with more pressure on the left hand side of the kite to save it. On a day like today in an Etchells it’s very easy to break things so you just have to keep the boat on its ‘feet’ and keep going forwards. It’s been a good fun regatta and I hope that people don’t look it as being a chancy regatta or a very lucky one because it’s been the same for everybody and sailing fast and being in the right place at the right time has been important.

Another sailor who had a good day was Ireland’s David Burrows, sailing with father Richard and Peter Coad. Speaking after racing Richard Burrows was full of praise for his team for keeping the boat together in the difficult conditions. “We had a great day today. Indeed we’ve had a very good regatta. It was a pity we lost the first day but so far it’s gone very well.

Results (after four races)
1 GBR 1361, Andy Beadsworth 1, 6, 7, 3 – 17 points
2 USA 1351, Jud Smith 10, 2, 2, 6 – 20 points
3 GBR 1332, James Howells 3, 5, 9, 4 – 21 points
4 GBR 1333, Ante Razmilovic 5, 15, 3, 1 – 24 points
5 NZL 1058, Jon Andrews 4, 8, 11, 8 – 31 points
6 IRL 1015, David Burrows 11, 9, 12, 2 – 34 points
7 AUS 1215, Noel Drennan 26, 1, 10, 7 – 44 points
8 AUS 1250, Jervis Tilly 16, 13, 8, 9 – 46 points
9 USA 1306, Tom Hughes 6, 28, 6, 12 – 52 points
10 HKG 1051, Mark Thornburrow 12, 12, 21, 11- 56 points