Iain Percy and Steve Michelle have 'another bad day at the office' on third day in Miami 26/1/06
Races 5,6 and 7 of the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta were held today on Biscayne Bay for the Star class, and for us it turned out to be a day that we would rather forget. A 14 knot breeze in the first race saw us with good speed, but we could not figure the shifts in the breeze caused by the city of Miami heating up and swinging the wind left and right with no pattern. We fought hard on the downwind legs to claw back an 8th after being deep at the first mark. The Finn Gold medalist Kusznierewicz/Zycki (POL) won the race after getting the first shift off the start line.
Race 2 began in a decreasing wind, and a 30 degree right hander soon after the start saw the Canadians MacDonald/Wolfs (CAN) lead by 20 lengths at the top mark, we were once again on the wrong side of the main shift and had a good second beat and run to salvage a 24th. The one thing we were not used to was the amount of turbulence and chopped up water from being deep in the fleet, and it makes it hard to find passing lanes in a 60 minute race. The Canadians won by miles with the French Presti/Saliou in second.
The last race saw the port end of the line favoured by 15 degrees, we started a third of the way up the line, wary of the fact that we had been on the wrong side in the last two races. This proved to be a bad move as the big left shift saw the leaders from this side. On the run a large right shift shook the fleet up more and on the last beat, with most of the fleet looking for the next left shift, it went right another 40 degrees! Our worst race to date for a long time saw us cross the line in 59th a painful result especially as we are already carrying an OCS. We were too far from the leaders to see who won, but it was our old enemies Rohart/Rambeau (FRA) who topped a consistent day to win, adding to a 6th and 3rd, to give them the overall lead by a massive 35 points from Horton/Nicholl (USA). The French have not had more than one bad race, and have a small edge of speed and a couple of spoonfuls of luck, which is more than we have had.
Two races tomorrow will give us the opportunity to salvage something from where we are now. Realistically we will be lucky to get into the last day Medal Race for the top 10 overall, so nothing to lose for us. The only slightly encouraging thing is that we are not alone in having our share of bad luck. The three boats behind us are Double Olympic Gold medalist Sheidt/Prada (BRA), 1986 Star world champion Brun/Brophy (USA), and 1999 Star World Champion and Oracle Americas Cup tactician Doyle/Sharp (USA).
Results (after three days)
1 FRA ROHART RAMBEAU 21PTS
2 USA HORTON 56PTS
3 NZL PEPPER 56PTS
4 USA SZABO MONROE 58PTS
5 SWE LOOF 63PTS
6 USA REYNOLDS 70PTS
23 GBR PERCY MITCHELL 134PTS