MacCausland and Trinter still dominate
Local Star sailor Andrew Campbell and his crew John von Schwarz conquered the fickle breeze to win the fifth race in the six race Qualcomm 2013 Star World Championship in San Diego. However John MacCausland and Phil Trinter continue to lead the fleet with an impressive seven point advantage, guaranteeing the team will win the regatta as long as they earn a top 7 finish in the final race tomorrow.
With the completion of five races, the sailors are each granted one throw out race, where their worst finishing place is removed from their total score. Therefore today’s race was one of the most important races in the series and the combination of aggressive sailors, wind shifts and unexpected changes in wind strength made Race 5 even more challenging than the previous days races.
The 1220 warning gun for the start was right on time, but similar to yesterday, PRO Bill Stump postponed at the one minute gun. Only eight of the 66 boats in the fleet had set up at the port end of the line indicating the starting line was too skewed. The Race Committee adjusted the line for the next start but with the anxious Star Sailors pushing the line this afternoon, Stump was forced to call a Black Flag start. Five boats were identified as over early at the start and given a black flag penalty.
On the first leg of the race, sailors saw a steady 10–12 knot breeze and a minor wind shift 5° to the right of the windward mark bearing 285°. Andrew Campbell and John von Schwarz reached the windward mark first and were overlapped with Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins. Due to the 5° shift, the Race Committee adjusted the leeward mark and notified sailors as they rounded the mark and headed downwind.
During the downwind leg, the breeze dropped to about 5 knots and shifted back to the left 5° making the leeward gate rounding an integral part of the sailors’ strategy and allowing for some big gains and losses. This time Vince Brun reached the leeward mark first with Campbell rounding close behind.
On the second weather leg, the leading seven boats were never far apart from one another and positions changed frequently. Campbell sailed a flawless second leg and was able to both pass Brun to take the lead again and hold the other top boats at a short distance behind. As the boats rounded the weather mark and began their final downwind leg, Campbell extended his lead.
Just as the first half of the fleet reached the leeward gate, the breeze dropped again to about 1.5 knots. The fleet struggled to round the marks and head back up the last weather leg. Campbell, however, still managed to maintain his lead and hold off MacCausland who was coming on strong to seal yet his 4th second place finish of the series.
Andrew Campbell said of today: “It was a long race, almost three hours with really wild conditions. We had the whole variety with the crew over the rail and no wind at all. We got out and weren’t going to give it away this time. We led a race earlier in the week, so we were ready to take this one if they were going to give it to us. We started in the middle of the line near Corinthian, the center boat and tacked right away. I think we sailed almost 20 minutes before we could tack back. We were just at the windward mark with Augie Diaz and Arnis Baltins and so those guys put up a good fight. We split at the bottom gate, where we were very close with Vince Brun and Augie Diaz. We got into the right hand side and it was much, much better on the 2nd and 3rd beats. We knew the right was going to be better, and we were lucky to be able to make a left turn at the bottom and get out to the right side.
"On the last beat of the race, it got really light. The big thunderclouds made something change with the breeze. It was really light, really scary, lots of current, not your normal San Diego sunshine and breeze. It was light air. But we were able to grab it at the end, so we’re very happy.
"The plan for tomorrow is to do the same thing. We’re going to come home with hopefully some good hardware for San Diego Yacht Club. We’re going to work really hard to put up another good score.”
Full results below