Lars Grael claims opening race
Sailors faced tough conditions and high competition at Day 1 of the Star Worlds. Star sailors Lars Grael, John MacCausland, and Andrew Campbell battle to win the first race of the Qualcomm 2013 Star World Championship today.
The race course offered conditions typical of San Diego with the wind at 8-10 knots from the WNW and 3ft waves. The Race Committee set a Course 3 with 2.1 mile long legs and fired the first signal on time at 1230 local.
With five seconds left to the start, the Race Committee postponed the race to avoid a general recall as well as make some course and starting line adjustments. Shortly thereafter, the windward mark bearing was changed to 285° the second starting sequence began.
Second start had an individual recall and four boats were called OCS: USA 7294 Charles and Chas Beek, USA 8260 Bill Buchan and Erik Bentzen, USA 8306 Thomas Springer and Dave Wood, and USA 8361 Tom Londrigan Jr. and Rick Peters.
USA 8361 Tom Londrigan Jr. and Rick Peters filed for and were denied a redress by the Race Committee to have their OCS score changed.
Although the start was the key factor in sailing a successful race, competitors had to fight for a good position on the first upwind leg. The majority of the fleet sailed to the right side of the course and reached the windward mark without much separation.
Americans Mark Reynolds and Hal Haenel were the first to round the first mark, followed closely by Andrew Campbell and John von Schwarz. The fleet saw several position changes throughout the first downwind leg, then the top boats began to sail away from the rest of the fleet. Brazilians Lars Grael and Samuel F. Goncalves were able to take the lead from Andrew Campbell in the second downwind leg after Campbell was penalized by the judges for violating Rule 42, and maintain their position all the way to the finish.
Winner Lars Grael commented: “We started in the middle of the starting line and we were looking to cross the fleet as soon as we had the chance. We were in a good position, but teams in the corner on the right came off a bit better. We rounded the first mark in 4th place, managed to finish the first downwind leg in 2nd. Then we were in a good fight with Andrew Campbell, but it was a pity he was penalized (rule 42) and we got the lead.
"In the last upwind leg we protected the right, so we decided not to cover him just do our best and it was good enough.
"Our plan is to be top ten. We know it is very difficult to be top five in each race. The fleet is very even, we have a lot of gold star winners. The level is very high. We have to make a good average and not make too many mistakes to be in the top 10. That is our goal.”