Star sailors Iain Percy and Steve Mitchell report from the Miami Olympic Classes Regatta 25/1/06
The Miami Olympic Classes Regatta kicked off on Monday with two races in a decreasing easterly wind, which started at 12 knots and decreased to 6 by the end of race 2. Two attempts at starting the first race saw the bulk of the fleet head out to the left side of the course, and the current world champions Rohart/Rambeau (FRA), came out to lead around the mark, with us in about 10th from the middle of the course. We picked off two boats on each of the next three legs to cross the line 4th, behind the French, Horton/Nicholl (USA) and Presti/Salou (FRA).
The breeze dropped for race 2 and we came out of the port end of the line to round the top mark 3rd, behind world number 1 Loof/Ekstrom (SWE) and double gold medalist Reynolds/Haenel (USA), we got caught outside a couple of small shifts during the race to end 8th, which would have been an OK result, had it not been for the fact that we had been disqualified for crossing the start line early, along with 12 other boats. Overnight leaders were Murray/Palfrey (AUS).
Tuesday saw a postponement for an hour as the bay resembled a mirror. When some ripples appeared the fleet was sent out and racing started in a wafting 3-5 knots. We hit the right-hand side hard and had good speed to round the top mark 4th, behind leaders Horton/Nicholl (USA) and Modena/Marchesini (ITA), the wind stayed light and we held 4th at the last windward mark, but lost out to two boats on the last run to cross 6th, a good result in our previously weakest conditions, in a race that saw a lot of the big names down – Loof 19th, Rohart 26th, Murray 30th, MacDonald (CAN) 51st, this regatta will see big scores on the overall results.
The second race in slightly more wind saw a huge right hand shift on the final upwind leg, dropping a lot of people down, including us, while at the front Rohart held on to win from Fogh/Caesar (CAN), giving the French second overall behind new leaders Szabo/Monroe (USA) who have scored 14,4,5,10 in the 4 races.
We have 3 races on Wednesday and 2 on Thursday with the new double scoring “Medal Race” on Friday which is a new format to be introduced at the 2008 Olympics. Forecast is for 10-15 knots tomorrow which should give some great racing. We’ll keep you posted.
Results (after three races)
1 USA SZABO MONROE 14 4 5 10 33PTS
2 FRA ROHART RAMBEAU 1 9 26 1 37PTS
3 AUS MURRAY PALFREY 6 3 30 5 44PTS
4 USA HORTON NICHOLL 2 25 2 19 48PTS
5 USA DANE SPERRY 20 13 9 6 48PTS
6 NZL PEPPER WILLIAMS 5 14 22 8 49PTS
27 GBR PERCY MITCHELL 4 OCS 6 33 113PTS