French in the driving seat

After opening two races at the Tornado Worlds in Martha's Vineyard

Wednesday September 25th 2002, Author: Sasha Oswald, Location: United Kingdom
Another day of torrential rain welcomed competitors to the beach at the 2002 Tornado World Championships, but with a difference, unlike yesterday, the wind was blowing.

A fifteen-knot breeze from the north was sufficient to get racing away on time and with no general recalls the fleet got away cleanly. The rain had cleared for the start but a large rain cloud enveloped the fleet up the first beat, dropping visibility considerably. With it came increased pressure on the right, and the leaders came from that side. The first run was made even more interesting as nobody could see the leeward mark so were cautious and played the middle of the leg. The rain soon cleared, and it was the 2000 Olympic Gold Medallists Roman Hagara/Hans-Peter Steinacher of Austria, who had the lead and maintained it through to the finish. The 2000 Olympic Silver Medallists, Darren Bundock/John Forbes of Australia took second place with the 2002 European Champions Olivier Backes/Laurent Voiron of France in third.

RYA Team GBR sailors Rob Wilson/Will Howden sailed a good opening race finishing in seventh place with team mates Hugh Styles and Adam May crossing the line in fifteenth place. The rest of the Brits were buried in the fleet.

The wind freshened for the start of race two, but without the rain. The leaders came in from the left this time, although there was little in each side of the course ensuring a tight race in the tricky seaway that had developed. With the increasing breeze, the racing was not without incidents, a few impressive pitch-poles were seen and an American boat had a nasty collision with an Italian, which resulted in a broken spinnaker pole, boom, and mainsail between the two boats.

Several other top heavy weather crews showed their strengths in the new breeze. 1996 Olympic silver medallist Mitch Booth sailing with Herbert Dercksen for the Netherlands, led for the majority of the race and took the race win. American sailors Lars Guck/John Farrar pressed the leaders hard and took second place. The very consistent French team of Backes/Voiron again showed good form to finish in third place, giving them an early overall lead.

Team GBR sailors Leigh McMillan/Mark Bulkeley were the top Brits in race two, scoring a seventh place, a couple of places in front of fellow squad sailors Hugh Styles/Adam May. With two consistent results, Styles/May are currently lying in twelfth place overall, Wilson/Howden fourteenth and McMillan/Bulkeley eighteenth.

Adam May commented on their day, " Our day was pretty average, but solid. A 15th and a 13th leaves us 12th overall, but at least we didn't pick up a big
score like many people did in the tricky conditions today."

The forecast for tomorrow is again for an increase in pressure, which should provide some exciting racing for the 57 Tornado's at the Worlds. Racing
continues through until Saturday 28 September.

Results (after 2 races)
1, Olivier Backes/Laurent Voiron, FRA (3,3) 6 pts
2, Darren Bundock/John Forbes, AUS (2,6) 8 pts
3, Martin Strandberg/Kristian Mattson, SWE (4,8) 12 pts
GBR
12, Hugh Styles/Adam May (15,13) 28 pts
14, Rob Wilson/Will Howden (7,25) 32 pts
18, Leigh McMillan/Mark Bulkeley (28,7) 35 pts
24, Steven Lovegrove/Martin Sellars (31,17) 48 pts
33, Matthew Eeles/Marcus Lynch (33,36) 69 pts
39, Leo Farrow/Tris Lamb (42,40) 82 pts

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