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2004 US Olympic Trials

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

US Olympic Trials - Sixth Day Report
By Rich Roberts for YachtRacing.com
Mar 26, 2004, 22:19

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


Friday's wind: E/NE, 22 knots.
Saturday's forecast (by Chris Bedford): E/NE, 19-25 knots.

MIAMI, Fla.---Barring a dramatic shift in the course of events, Friday could become significant as the day Paul Cayard and crew Phil Trinter put the hammer down.

"They put a couple of more nails in our coffins," rival John MacCausland said.

But don’t try to sell that to Cayard. Not yet. Even after scoring second and first places in 22 knots of breeze on Biscayne Bay to stretch his lead to 15 points after 10 of 16 scheduled races in the U.S. Olympic Trials for the Star class, he said, "It's still too early. A lot of things can happen."

Once the winds dropped from 30 knots and the fleet was allowed to leave shore to start racing at 2:30, 2˝ hours behind schedule, two of San Diego's world champions took their best shots at Cayard/Trinter.

First, the class's only double Olympic gold medallist, Mark Reynolds, and crew Steve Erickson stalked them to the first windward mark. But Cayard/Trinter held control, making only four tacks on the 1˝-mile leg, and when Reynolds/Erickson fell back Eric Doyle and Brian Sharp came on strong.

They pushed Cayard/Trinter around the second windward mark bow to stern and passed the regatta leaders on the second downwind run to win by four boat lengths.

Sharp said, "We read the shifts and had decent speed. We crossed him upwind once, and downwind we just put our rig forward and chipped away."

"They were just going faster downwind," said Cayard, who hasn't been pushing his boat to the limit in heavy weather and was happy to settle for a safe second place.

Cayard/Trinter have resisted putting their mast forward, unlike some of their pursuers. George Szabo and crew Mark Strube quietly posted a commendable pair of thirds Friday to tighten their grip on second place, but Cayard is determined to play it safe

"George is going for it," he said, "but if he makes a mistake he's going to drop his rig, and that's a risk I'm not going to take."

In the second race, moments after starting near the committee boat, Cayard/Trinter tacked away right with three non-contender boats while everyone else kept going left. When C/T tacked 13 minutes later, they crossed the others by a couple of hundred yards, then tacked again eight minutes later to consolidate their lead and held a 31-second lead at the mark.

What did Cayard know that nobody else did?

"I didn't know anything," he said, smiling. "I had no intention of going right, but when we came off the line the wind was in the biggest left-hand shift of the day."

So, as the racing manuals suggest, he tacked on the header. Only Andy Lovell and crew Magnus Liljedahl stayed in touch, with the main pack 48 seconds behind them.

They ground 19 seconds out of Cayard/Trinter's lead on the first run but couldn't get any closer on the final lap as C/T covered religiously. Tactics actually went by the wayside when the boats sailed toward a rainbow above the windward mark that drew them into a heavy squall blowing down the course.

Lovell said, "We were trying to get him, but then the squall came through and we went conservative, thinking it might start blowing 40 [knots]."

Lovell/Liljedahl are in seventh place, sailing well but carrying the burden of two lost races on the first day when their mast broke. After two more races they can use their second discard of 23 points to render the second of those disasters a mere memory.

"I think we’ll jump way up," Lovell said, flashing a smile that has been rare this week.

And even if Cayard and Trinter prove out as unstoppable as they appear to be, the others still have some motivation left.

Sharp said, "Whether you win or lose, sailing a couple of good races is good for your pride. We’re here to try."

Leaders (22 boats, 10 of 16 races, one discard):

1. Paul Cayard/Phil Trinter, San Francisco, 2-(6)-1-2-3-1-1-4-2-1, 17 points.
2. George Szabo/Mark Strube, San Diego, 4-5-(14)-9-1-4-2-1-3-3, 32.
3. Vince Brun/Mike Dorgan, San Diego, (23/OCS)-9-2-1-4-5-3-10-11-6, 51.
4. Eric Doyle/Brian Sharp, San Diego, 1-1-9-8-5-10-(12)-11-1-8, 54.
5. Mark Reynolds/Steve Erickson, San Diego, 5-2-10-7-13-2-(15)-9-7-4, 59.
6. John MacCausland/Brad Nichol, Cherry Hill, N.J, 6-8-3-6-10-(15)-5-8-4-9, 59.
7. Andy Lovell/Magnus Liljedahl, New Orleans, (23/OCS)-23/DNS-4-3-11-3-7-3-5-2, 61.
8. Rick Merriman/Bill Bennett, San Diego, 7-4-(17)-13-2-7-9-5-8-7, 62.
9. Andrew MacDonald/Austin Sperry, Laguna Beach, Calif., 11-7-5-4-6-(13)-10-7-12-5, 67.
10. Doug Schofield/Bob Schofield, Boston, 12-13-(16)-11-7-8-11-2-6-11, 81.

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