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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
As seen from the Race Committee Boat:
Seldom if ever (except a special Worlds) has a more impressive Star fleet been assembled than the one at the 2004 Miami Olympic Classes regatta. Eleven current or former Worlds Champions; 22 nations represented (most complete with their coaches), sailed in this event. Hosted by the US Sailing Center and the Coral Reef Yacht Club boats were dry-sailed from both facilities. The opening ceremonies were held at Coral Reef and featured remarks by Fred Hagedorn, Head of US Sailings Olympic Committee. A large pasta supper followed at the club for all the contestants.
Race 1: Tuesdays first race started on time with PRO Dr. Bill Smoke and a veteran race committee in charge. The course was windward leeward twice around and the wind from the SW at 14-16 knots. Iain Percy of Great Britain with Steve Mitchell crewing won with Mark Reynolds and Steve Erickson second and Michael Koch and Marcus Koy from Germany third.
Race 2 (first attempt): The second race was started immediately after the first and in the same conditions. It started under Black Flag and three boats (Iain Percy, Eric Doyle, and Doug Scofield) were called over early. Three-quarters of the way up the first leg a fifty-degree shift and 30 kt. breeze hit the fleet and the PRO signaled to abandon. The fleet sailed in in a deluge of cold rain.
Day two saw a triple-header in order that the series might become current. The three who were black-flagged the day before slept in since they could not race in this restart of the second race.
Race 2 (resailed): The wind had picked up to 17-22 kts. and shifted to the NW. Again the course was Windward Leeward twice around. We had a Black Flag start. Only 48 of the 59 entries finished due to black flagged boats, noncompeting (2), and a couple of DNFs. At the first mark US skipper Andy Lovell fell out of his boat but was quickly picked up by a nearby motor boat and rejoined his crew Magnus Liljedahl. The race was won convincingly by Marc Neeleman of the Netherlands with Xavier Rohart of France second and former World’s Champion Freddy Lööf of Sweden third.
Race 3: The second race of the day, which was the third of the series, went off in a little less breeze but the same course and with the wind oscillating but tending to go more northerly. It was won by Michael Koch and Marcus Koy from Germany with Peter Bromby of Bermuda second and young George Szabo and Mark Strube third.
Race 4: The last race of this rather gloomy, windy, and cool (by Miami standards) day got off under the black flag once more and the PRO shortened it to three legs with the finish to windward. The wind had dropped to the 10-14 range and had gone further north. Two boats were black flagged and away they went. The race was won by Australia’s Ian Murray and Andrew Palfry. Francisco Bruni of Italy was second and Mark Reynolds came in third. It was a cold and wet fleet that sailed back to the club BUT they were back on schedule.
Thursday looked more like a winter day on Biscayne Bay. Wind at 11-13 at 110 degrees. The PRO wanted to try to get in three races in as Friday forecast was messy.
Race 5: The fifth race of the series got away with the entire fleet on the line. The wind was fairly steady and Flavio Marrazzi of Switzerland led at three marks only to get second to Colin Beashel and Dave Giles of Australia. Paul Cayard and Phil Trinter were third. World’s Champions at 1 and 3 with an Olympian in the middle. Great competition.
Race 6: What turned out to be the final race of the series was the same; windward leeward twice around in a breeze that had dropped to 8-9 and again was 110 degrees with veers to the south. It turned out to have big holes and some sizeable shifts up at the weather mark which scrambled the fleet with some of the biggest names being pushed toward the last half of the fleet. The race was won by Marc Pickel with Bermudez de Castro second and Martin Dahlberg / Ville Kurke coming in third just ahead of former World’s champion Vince Brun.
PRO Smoke and his associate Dr. Bill Anderson, whose lovely yacht served as committee boat, decided that the wind, which had dropped to 5-6, would go nowhere but down, called the race and sent the fleet home.
Day 4, as forecasted, was a bust with no wind, so the standings of the previous three days of racing stood as the final scores for the series.
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