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Hyannis Laser Worlds - DAY ONE




Date: Fri, 13 Sep 2002 10:26:53 +0100 (BST)
From: "International Laser Class Association"

Hyannis Laser Senior World Championships 2002


A strong cold front moved through the northeast United States Wednesday bringing cool temperatures and winds up to 50 knots throughout the region. Fortunately, the Laser World Championships hosted by the Hyannis Yacht Club on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, did not begin official racing until Thursday. 131 sailors representing 44 countries were greeted to 20-knot north winds this morning for the first day of competition.

At stake for the sailors is not only a chance to win arguably the most physically demanding sailing competition in the world, but also the first opportunity to qualify their countries for the fourteen berths available at this championship for the 2004 Olympics. The format for the seven-day event is for four days of qualifying races, followed by a finals series of a further six races over three days.

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 Blanckenburg from South Africa and Ben Richardson from USA started at the pin end and worked the left side of the beat. They took advantage of the occasional left shift to work across to round first and second at the first mark. Richardson said "I had a briefing yesterday with Karl Anderson who lives in the area. He said in north winds it was usually better to play the left side and try to stay in the pressure. I started at the pin and played the left side and was able to round the top mark in second." Blanckenburg said, "The conditions were tricky but it was good fun."

The second fleet got away first time in a regular start. Brendan Casey from Australia was first to show in 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 Ed Wright from Great Britain. Casey was not too upset about his race. He said, "I guess I deserved the penalty and a third is still useful in these conditions".

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 sending the fleet home for an early shower.

Overall results after one race:

1, POL 176016 , Maciej Grabowski , 1.0 , 1
1, RSA 176101 , Gareth Blanckenburg , 1.0 , 1
3, GBR 176056 , Edward Wright , 2.0 , 2
3, USA 176142 , Benjamin Richardson , 2.0 , 2
5, AUS 176059 , Brendan Casey , 3.0 , 3
5, CAN 176127 , Michael Kalin , 3.0 , 3
7, AUS 176003 , Jon Holroyd , 4.0 , 4
7, IRL 176043 , Peter O'Leary , 4.0 , 4
9, CAN 176081 , Andrew Childs , 5.0 , 5
9, SLO 176138 , Vasilij Zbogar , 5.0 , 5

Full results, reports and photos at