Byte CII Worlds - Light airs on opening day

2009 Byte CII Worlds
The opening race on day one of the 2009 Byte CII World Championships got underway after a postponement, as the wind clocked and faded and then finally started in very light air. The wind slowly died throughout the race but the wind was not the real story!

It was a day of 'firsts' for a young US Virgin Islands sailor, Ian Barrows. Sailing a Byte for the first time, in his first race, in the first Race of the Championship, at the end of the first beat, guess who arrives at the mark first! Below he rounds ahead of a block of five Singapore sailors sailing in fairly familiar conditions for them!

The five Singapore sailors, seen below about to round and, coming up on port, Bermudan Owen Siese number3050.

(SIN) weather mark - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

Below, Ian's lead at the first weather mark (downwind boat on extreme right).

317 Start-run - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

He held this very narrow lead all the way down to the bottom mark and started back up the second beat of the double windward/leeward in first place, staying on port and followed closely by defending World Champion Jon Emmett from Weymouth UK who had sailed his way through the pack. The sailors behind this pair pushed off to the left and it paid off handsomely as the wind backed and stayed a little stronger on the left side. Jon extracted himself a little better rounding the top mark in fifth and holding it to the finish. Ian, however, rounded well down but sailed an excellent run back into eighth by the end.

Mark Wong of Singapore sailed by far the beat best, being the first over to the left and was never challenged to the finish. He was followed by four countrymen, Najwa Jumali, Terrence Choo and Germaine Teo and, in sixth behind Jon Emmett, Clement Lim.

Below, Mark is seen comfortably in the lead as the wind all but runs out.

B6D Last-run - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

The second race almost didn’t happen! The wind completely died after the first race and the fleet drifted for close to an hour. The scene below was typical as Jon Emmett relaxed at a rib.

Jon between races - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

However, Race Officer David Sprague kept hanging in there, even after several of the coach boats had actually collected their flock and were starting a tow home. All of a sudden, from 180 degrees to the first race, the wind filled in with boats actually starting to plane! The course was hurriedly reset and, after two false starts at what the fleet perceived to be a heavily favoured committee boat end, and then under a black flag, the race was on.

BZ3 Start - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

The wind had dropped well below planing to about eight knots but it held steady the rest of the race. Below, right after the start, left to right, SIN 18 Ling Ying Koh, SIN 8 Ruth Ho, USA 1515 Dan Ouellet from San Francisco, GBR 3054 Richard Whitehouse, CAN 2289 Violet Stafford and CAN 33 Signy Anderson.

EBD After-the-start - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

Koh would lead all the way to the first mark but was challenged half way up the beat by Michael Louzada from Brazil (Fourth in the Worlds in Weymouth in 2008). Michael got out of phase and missed a port tack shift but still got around the weather mark third. Below he is seen squeezing in ahead of Terrence Choo.

598 1st-weather-mark2 - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

What is more interesting is the boat crossing just behind them, ISV sailor Ian Barrows who would round in sixth place, hold it all the way down the run and end up back at the weather mark in third place at the end of the second beat.

He sailed almost straight down the run which put him on the right side of the course. Below he is seen half way down the run, at the extreme right of the screen, at which point it was difficult to tell whether he was third or tenth as the lead boats were all gybing their way down the run in an effort to keep a clear lane.

29A Last-mark-Barrows3 - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

He never wavered. He stayed on port tack all the way, sailing very deep to avoid the gybe, see below, but somehow managing to keep his cool, maintain his speed and his inside position as the boats to leeward closed in on him.

D64 Last-mark-Barrows1 - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

Below, he has held his position and has the inside at the last mark. A brilliant piece of sailing!

A78 Last-mark-Barrows2 - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

From there, it was leave the mark to port and sail 100 yards across the bow of the committee boat for his first place finish below! He now sits third overall.

29A Last-mark-Barrows3 - 2009 Byte CII Worlds

Ian was followed by Terrence Choo, Clement Lim, Xun Chai, Nathan Tan and Najwa Jumali, all from Singapore.

After two races, the top six are Terrence Choo SIN, Najwa Jumali SIN, Ian Barrows ISV, Clement Lim SIN, Nathan Tang SIN and Mark Wong SIN. Elsewhere in the standings, Denise Chagas leads the Brazilians in 11th and Sarah Douglas leads the Canadians in 12th.
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