With sub tropical storm Gustav passing close by overnight there was plenty of wind in the dinghy park on the first morning of the Laser world championship yesterday
With sub tropical storm Gustav passing close by overnight there was plenty of wind in the dinghy park on the first morning of the Laser world championship at Cape Cod, Massachusetts yesterday. However, by the midday warning signal the wind was already beginning to abate.
With a cold northerly blowing off hot land and over hot sea there were plenty of holes and shifts for the 131 competitors representing 44 countries. Winds moderated to 10-15 knots for the start of the first heat, as the fleet got off to a clean start under the black flag, after two general recalls. Gareth Blackenburg from South Africa and Ben Richardson from USA started at the pin end and worked the left-hand side of the beat. They took advantage of a left shift to work across, to round first and second at the first mark, managing to maintain these positions to the finish.
The second fleet got away first time in a regular start. Brendan Casey from Australia was first to pop out at the front, having worked the right hand side of the course. He lost his lead to Maciej Grabowski from Poland after being given a yellow flag penalty on the downwind leg. As the race went on the wind dropped below ten knots as the thermal breeze tried to develop opposite the frontal winds. On the final windward leg to the finish, Casey dropped a further place to team GBR sailor Ed Wright.
Silver medallist at the recent pre-Olympic test event in Athens and team GBR sailor, Paul Goodison, managed to match ladders with snakes to finish in eighth position, having working his way to as high as sixth place.
A number of fancied jockies struggled in the tricky conditions. Robert Scheidt of Brazil finished in 15th place and Pre-Olympic test regatta gold medallist Daniel Birgmark picked up a 23rd place. However, with 13 races to go all these could be counters with the relatively flat water, strong tide and depth of fleet.
After the finish of the second group the breeze dropped to below the five-knot minimum wind speed limit and became unstable. The Race Committee waited for two hours, hoping for an improvement in conditions before being forced to send the fleet home for an early shower.
The format for the seven-day championship is for four days of qualifying races followed by a finals series of a further six races over three days.
Results (after one race)
1, Maciej Grabowski, POL (1) 1 pt
1, Gareth Blanckenberg, RSA (1) 1 pt
3, Edward Wright, GBR (2) 2 pts
3, Benjamin Richardson, USA (2) 2 pts
15, Paul Goodison (8) 8 pts
21, Jim Taylor (11) 11 pts
23, Mark Howard (12) 12 pts
27, Mark Powell (14) 14 pts
35, Benjamin Todd, (18) 18 pts
57, Daniel Holman (29) 20 pts