Big day for Brazil

Paradeda and Fernandez lead Snipes at Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship, Long Beach

Saturday September 28th 2002, Author: Rich Roberts, Location: United States
The day belonged to Brazil Friday, but a rare slip by world champion Alexandre Paradeda (above) opened the door for Miami's Augie Diaz to bring the 2002 Snipe Western Hemisphere and Orient Championship down to a two-boat contest in the last two races Saturday.

After Paradeda and crew Flavio Fernandes won their third consecutive race they had to scramble to collect a sixth place that left them with 10.75 points. Meanwhile, Diaz and crew Jon Rogers of Coronado, Calif. posted a pair of seconds for 13 points. Paradeda can discard his sixth if it's still his worst result after the sixth race Saturday, while Diaz's worst finish has been a third - but that leaves Diaz with a throw-out to give, raising the prospect of a tactical shootout in the final race.

"We may have to try something like that," Rogers said after Friday's racing.

Three of the first five positions are held by Brazilians - Paradeda, Marcos Mascarenhas and 63-year-old Ivan Pimentel - with Diaz second and Randy Lake of San Diego fourth. Lake is the only non-Brazilian to win a race so far.

The clearest day of the week brought a fairly steady southwest breeze of 8 knots for the first race that kicked up to 14 knots for the second. With 25 boats from seven countries, Diaz and Rogers were beaten only by Brazilians: by Paradeda by 50 seconds in the first race and by Pimentel by 33 seconds in the second.

And Pimentel isn't the oldest Brazilian competing. That would be Bibi Juetz, 71, who had her two best finishes of the week - 16th and 15th - with Lucas Ostergren, the 23-year-old son of a former Snipe world champion, as crew. Juetz has been sailing Snipes since 1950 and was the 1998 World Masters champion in the class.

Pimentel - the rival Paradeda calls him 'Crazy Ivan' - has been sailing Snipes only since 1959. He won these Westerns in '78 and '88 but, more impressive, he is the current Brazil national champion despite the shadow of Paradeda.

So, Juetz was asked, who is the best Snipe sailor in Brazil? "Oh, Xandi," she said without hesitation, referring to Paradeda by his nickname. "He's the world champion."

Pimentel, wearing only a black tanktop and shorts in the cool 14-knot breeze, was wet and shivering as he put up his boat at the host Alamitos Bay Yacht Club, but he had reveled in the rough ocean conditions.

"Big winds are good for us," Pimentel said. "We have much of that in Brazil. Americans do good in the light winds. Normally they sail on lakes and flat water."

Pimentel took note that many strong and younger competitors finished behind him. "It's good to beat the young kids," he said with a huge smile. "They have to learn."

His crew is 17-year-old Lucas Tinoco, one in a series of young proteges Pimentel has brought into the class. "Well, 63 and 17 is 80, which is an average of 40 (on his boat)," Pimentel said. "That's a good number."

Paradeda nailed a pin-end start in the first race, tacked about 50 yards later, crossed the fleet and covered Diaz relentlessly the rest of the way. But in the next race, an Olympic-style course with a reaching leg on the first of two laps, he went off in a pack near the committee boat and couldn't break free.

Not only was he 11th at the first windward mark but touched the inflated yellow buoy and had to do a 360-degree penalty turn, losing another three or four spots. Later he hooked some kelp with his rudder and had to let Fernandes steer while he leaned over the back of the boat to clear it. With all that, Paradeda said, "I was happy to finish sixth."

Rogers, who has crewed for other skippers against Paradeda in recent years, said, "I've been duking it out with him for a long time and I haven't beaten him a lot. He was trying to push us back today and let Ivan get away. Our game plan was just to see if he would screw up."

And Saturday? "We'll talk about it tonight," Rogers said.

The leaders (5 of 7 races):

1. Alexandre Paradeda/Flavio Fernandes, Brazil, (2-1-1-1-6), 10.25 points.
2. Augie Diaz/Jon Rogers, Miami, Fla., (3-3-3-2-2), 13.
3. Marcos Mascarenhas/Pedro Caldas, Brazil, (5-13-7-7-4), 36.
4. Randy Lake/Piet Van Os, San Diego, (1-2-6-12-17), 37.75.
5. Ivan Pimentel/Pedro Tinoco, Brazil, (14-10-2-16-1), 42.75.

More photos on page 2...

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