Rough conditions for competitors at the 2005 Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship in Newport

Competitors at the 2005 Grey Goose ISAF Team Racing World Championship enjoyed a relaxing breakfast on the terrace of the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) yesterday while they were kept ashore for two hours. After several days with a strong south-westerly blowing the tide into Narragansett Bay, the morning’s brisk northerly against a strong incoming current made for very rough seas.

While allowing conditions to settle, the NYYC Race Committee decided to forgo running the remainder of the round-robin races in round one, and instead proceeded to split the 16 teams into gold and silver fleets to get right to the heart of the matter. This allows more time for the completion of three rounds each for both the gold and silver fleets, giving the teams ample opportunities to move up — or down – in the standings before being seeded into the quarterfinals.

With 15-18 knots and puffs over 20, 56 races were sailed as the breeze fell off slightly through the afternoon. A brief postponement to realign the course moved the leeward mark to less than 50 yards from the spectator stands at Goat Island that were full of team supporters along with numerous local sailors who had turned out to cheer the competition. One start elicited a huge roar from the crowd, as all six boats were over the line early at the start of the race between IRL 2 and NZL 1. All the boats returned to restart without prompting from race officials.

In their first match up of the series, the pre-start action between Great Britain’s two entries – GBR 1 and GBR 2 – was well away from the line. After significant manoeuvring, the teams finally made their approach to the starting line with GBR 1 winning the start with a 2-3-4 combination and covering the previously undefeated GBR 2. Even with one of its team well back in last, the first-place GBR 2, sailed by Owen Mordal and Linda Eadie, did not stop at the second mark to perform a mark trap and thus avoided the chance of being passed.

Although GBR 1 had a winning 2-3-4 combo, they opted for a high-low manoeuvre at the leeward mark against Modral and Eadie, who, despite being pursued, still had the lead and the opportunity to do a big mark trap that could stop two or three boats at once. GBR 1 smartly split to avoid being caught and kept their 2-3-4 intact as they blasted down the last leg and ultimately handed GBR 2 their first loss of the championship.

At the end of the day the standings for the gold fleet saw both teams from the USA with 6 wins and 1 loss; GBR 2 and NZL 1 (4-3); IRL 1 and GBR 1 (3-4); and IRL 2 and NZL 2 (1-6). The silver fleet standings: AUS 2 (6-1); ISV, ITA and AUS 1 (5-2); CZE (3-4); JPN 1 and JPN 2 (2-5); and CAN (0-7).

Racing resumes today, and continues through Saturday, 1 October, when awards will be presented at NYYC’s Harbour Court followed by Closing Ceremonies. Competing are two teams each from Australia, Great Britain, Ireland, Japan, New Zealand and the USA, and one team each from Canada, the Czech Republic, Italy, and the US Virgin Islands.