Not a stellar result for us on Day 1 of the regatta, but we survived it better than a bunch of competitors. Tha day was marked by the disqualification of several big names due to being over the stat line early. They included Denis Conner, Vince Brun, Craig Healy and Jeff Pate (all of whom finished ahead of us in the race). We placed 7th after all of that.
Our lead-up to this event was marred by the withdrawal through injury of our third crew member Michael Coxon. Cocko had a lingering hernia complaint that would have been an issue in the big winds of San Francisco. Iain Murray suggested I try to get hold of the guy that had just beaten us at the Star North Americans, George Szabo of San Diego. George was keen, so here we are! It’s a massive bonus to get George sailing with us, as he has a good knowledge of the Bay, He is a great Star Sailor and is giving us all sorts of tips on Stars and he did an awesome job today with sail trim, tactics and hiking his rear-end off.
The race was won by the teenager, Shark Khan, who skippers a 4-up team that includes local legend, Jeff Madrigali. Madro has sailed two Olympics, won a bronze medal at the 96 Games and grew up sailing these waters. This team has dominated the local scene this season in the lead-up to the worlds. Shark is the son of Philipe Khan, the billionaire who has set up Pegasus Sailing Team, that encompasses sailors and coaches across many classes in 60 boats!! Phillipe is also sailing here (with Star World Champion Freddy Loof on his crew) and he placed 10th today.
The most impressive result to me today was from the pommy team of Stuart Childerly aboard “Bedrock”. They placed 4th today after a poor start and being very deep after a lap. My prediction is that whoever beats “Bedrock” here will win. If nobody beats them, it will be the third world Championship trophy to this team in five years. Jud Smith also sailed a solid race in coming back to 3rd place and looms as a big player in the regatta.
Of the the ten or so Aussies here, we topped the list, with Brownie and his team two spots behind us. The reigning World Champ, Peter Mcneil was 15th or so. We had a nice start, but went to the right (which usually works out well) and won that side, but the wind went left and we were 11th at the first mark. From there we struggled to find clean lanes of wind for the rest of the day. Could have been worse though, as 7th is better than OCS.
Today’s race was tough. It was great sailing conditions (sunny – 14 to 18 knots), but these boats are too hard on the body for those of us that hike out upwind and pump the sails downwind. I must be getting old, but I am rooted tonight.
The last two weeks holidaying with the family was awesome. Together with Kate, the two kids and my Mum, we did Sea World, Disneyland, Highway 1 from LA to SF (like the Great Ocean Road, but on Steroids), Carmel, Monterey and most of the San Fran sights. The highlight was the look on my 4 year-old son’s face after every kiddy ride at Disneyland. It was also the first overseas trip from my 72 yr old mum. Memorable trip….