Americans on form ahead of Sonar world championship

The 2005 Sonar world championship got underway in Cowes yesterday. Two practice races were held in brilliant sunshine and a fresh south-westerly breeze that gusted at times to 20 knots. The Solent chop was even more viscous than usual and gave a good taster of what the visitors could expect during the week-long championship.

The 25-boat fleet is crammed full of world, European, and national champions plus Paralympic gold medalists – all of whom enjoyed a close race with the six American teams showing that they are just as capable in the strong breeze and Solent chop as any of the top local boats.

At the leeward mark first time round it was American Pete Galloway who led narrowly from local star Paul Bowen who rounded just ahead of Skip Shumway. While Shumway trawled his spinnaker Andy Cassell’s Jenny rounded fourth followed by Israeli Paralympic Gold Medalist Droh Cohen. In sixth it was another local boat, Bertie which is sailed by the Barter family.

At this stage another of the top American sailors, Dave Franzel, was back in the pack but by the time the fleet had completed another lap the situation had changed.

Pete Galloway had extended his lead over Billy while Franzel had climbed to third. While Galloway bowed to superstition and didn’t cross the finish line, the Billy team had no qualms about taking the win followed by Franzel in Spring and Steve Shepstone in Nefarious.