Steve Hunt (Hampton, Va) and Michael Miller (Charleston, SC), lead the 470 fleet at the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta with six first places

Biscayne Bay was awash in a sea of sails yesterday as competitors from 26 countries worked the 13-15 knots of wind to improve their positions in the nine Olympic and two Paralympic classes competing here at the Rolex Miami OCR.

Steve Hunt (Hampton, Va.) and Michael Miller (Charleston, S.C.), in the 470 Men’s event, couldn’t have performed better: they lead their class standings with a perfect score built on three first-place finishes the previous day and three today. The 49er, Sonar, Tornado and Yngling classes now have completed eight races. The remaining classes – Europe, Finn, 470, Laser, Mistral, Star and 2.4 Metre- have sailed six races. All classes now figure a discard into the overall scores.

“We don’t feel like we’re totally dominating,” said Hunt, “We’ve got two days behind us and two to go, and Mark Ivey and Ward Cromwell are always right there behind us.” Ivey (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Cromwell (New Orleans, La.) are counting four second-place finishes and a third for a total of 11 points to Hunt/Miller’s five. “We’ve trained a little more than some of the other teams, and that’s really paying off here,” said Hunt. He and Miller, were training partners for the USA’s 2000 470 Men’s and Women’s Silver Medallists.

In the Mistral Women’s class, top US contender Kimberly Birkenfeld (Miami, Fla./Myrtle Creek, Ore.) was happy with her third place overall after three races today in the moderate winds. “When it’s really heavy air, there’s usually a group that breaks out, and when it’s light, the same thing happens. In these conditions, the racing is more tactical, because everyone’s closely packed at the mark roundings.” Birkenfeld thinks leader Sigrid Rondelez (Belgium) will be hard to beat, but Canada’s Dominique Vallee, currently second, is within striking distance.

In Ynglings, Wednesday’s headliner Carol Cronin (Jamestown, R.I.) fell to second overall with Jody Swanson (Buffalo, N.Y.) taking the lead after four races yesterday. In the 49er class, which also completed four races yesterday, Andy Mack (Seattle, Wash.) and Adam Lowry (San Francisco, Calif.) overtook the previous day’s leaders David Fagen (Cheasapeake, Va.) and Bora Gulari (Detroit, Mich.).