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2004 US Olympic Trials

This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

US Trials - Second Day Report
By Rich Roberts For YachtRacing.com
Mar 21, 2004, 20:54

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First Day's Report
Third Day's Report
Fourth Day's Report
Midway Report
Fifth Day's Report
Sixth Day's Report
Seventh Day's Report
Final Report
Complete results

Sunday's wind: E-NE, 6-8 knots.
Monday's forecast (by Chris Bedford): Wind NW-NE, 6-12 knots.

MIAMI, Fla.---As Paul Cayard was saying before the U.S. Olympic Star class trials started, he usually prays for strong wind because "I usually do pretty good in a breeze."

It blew all of 6-8 knots over Biscayne Bay Sunday, when Cayard, 44, and Vince Brun, 57, swapped 1-2 finishes that shot Cayard into first place by eight points and lifted Brun from the back of the pack into serious contention with 12 of 16 races remaining.

Cayard's reconsidered opinion: "Light air's good for old guys like me."

And Brun. "We got some breaks," he said, smiling.

Mark Reynolds and crew Steve Erickson in a three boat finish
With a modest shuffle in the early standings, eight of the first nine boats are from California. The lone intruder is another seasoned Star campaigner, John MacCausland, 43, from Cherry Hill, N.J., who is sailing with Brad Nichol and reached third place, one point ahead of Olympic regular Mark
Reynolds, who is three ahead of Andy MacDonald/Austin Sperry, Laguna Beach, Calif.

Eric Doyle and crew Brian Sharp, who won both races Saturday, started off on the wrong foot Sunday with an early start but held onto second place after returning to start and finishing ninth, followed by an eighth in the next

With the light winds, the race committee set a pair of three-lap courses on a relatively short windward-leeward course.

The Howie Shiebler/Will Stout team appeared to be making a move but fell from second to eighth on a similar error. They led the second race for awhile and finished fourth, which would have kept them second overall.

"I just got a little trigger happy," Shiebler said. "I lost my line sight and put the bow down. A silly mistake."

They weren't the first to suffer the dreaded OCS but, like the others, didn't learn they had been disqualified until they returned to shore.

That's the way it works in the U.S. Olympic Trials. A second gun and signal flag tells competitors that somebody was over early, but nobody knows who until returning to shore at the end of the day and checking the result postings.

In Doyle's case, after he restarted properly the flag came down, and everyone else blew a sigh of relief knowing they were clear to race. In Shiebler's case, the flag stayed up because he didn't go back.

The sailors don't seem to like the system---least of all Brun, who was tagged in the first race Saturday. He noted that transgressors are hailed by sail numbers in almost all other regattas, large or small.

"I don't like this thing about not calling guys over the line," Brun said. "I don't see how it makes the sport better. Say the [guilty] guy starts [to windward of] you, he can ruin the regatta for the whole group."

Brun and other sailors also said it can alter strategy if nobody knows which boats are racing illegally.

It certainly would have altered Andy Lovell's game plan in the strong winds Saturday. Race officials explained that they kept the competitors ashore for 1 hours to avoid risking equipment on the first day of the nine-day event.

But in most events where early starters aren't hailed at the line, their sail numbers are shown on a chalk board at the first windward mark and they are free to drop out and save their strength and equipment. That isn't being
done here, either.

So when Lovell was secretly ruled OCS in the first race he didn't know he was one of the guilty parties and kept racing---and ultimately broke his mast on the final downwind leg and was unable to sail the second race, as

One competitor filed a formal question with the race committee asking why board notifications aren't being used.

The official explanation posted on the Notice Board: "The SIs [Sailing Instructions] do not make a provision for this."

Another informal explanation is that this is the system used in the Olympics.

"Then we should try to change the Olympics," Brun said, "like what happened when they tried to take the 'drop' races out. Do the right thing."

Brun and Cayard did the right things tactically Sunday.

Brun and crew Mike Dorgan, who were 13th at the first mark in the first race, fought their way back to second behind Cayard and crew Phil Trinter.

"Downwind it favored the guys who came from behind," Brun said.

But nobody was catching Cayard/Trinter, who won by 20 seconds---a blowout in this fleet.

Trinter said, "We had two good starts, good speed and stayed out of trouble. We stayed out of traffic and sailed clean."

In the second race, Brun/Dorgan held off Cayard/Trinter by two lengths in the downwind finish.

After the fifth race today competitors will discard their worst scores. The second and last throwout will be after 12 races.

Leaders (22 boats, 4 of 16 races):

1. Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter, San Francisco, 2-6-1-2, 11 points.
2. Eric Doyle/Brian Sharp, San Diego, 1-1-9-8, 19.
3. John MacCausland/Brad Nichol, Cherry Hill, N.J, 6-8-3-6, 23.
4. Mark Reynolds/Steve Erickson, San Diego, 5-2-10-7, 24.
5. Andrew MacDonald/Austin Sperry, Laguna Beach, Calif., 11-7-5-4, 27.
6. George Szabo/Mark Strube, San Diego, 4-5-14-9, 32.
7. Vince Brun/Mike Dorgan, San Diego, 23/OCS-9-2-1, 35.
8. Howie Shiebler/Will Stout, San Francisco, 3-3-6-23/OCS, 35.
9. Rick Merriman/Bill Bennett, San Diego, 7-4-7-13, 41.
10. Karl Anderson/Ezra Culver, Harwich, Mass., 13-10-15-5, 43.

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