Laser 4.7 Worlds Day 1: A sunny cold windy welcome from San Francisco

New Zealand Team - 2011 Laser 4.7 Worlds, Day 1 San Francisco
. ..

Rob Burn reports from the first day's racing in the Laser 4.7 Worlds in San Francisco:

A big hello from 'greater Wellington of the Americas', the fab city of San Francisco. There are parts that look just like Wellington...honest...

So windy, so warm, so cold, I can't remember when I have been fried to a crisp while freezing......Mark Twain was right when he famously said' the coldest Winter I ever had was Summer in San Francisco'.

After the usual shambles of the 'Practice Race' yesterday, the Opening Ceremony was mercifully short but perfectly formed, the flag bearers marched in from the 28 Nations, we all applauded the quick speeches and went in to enjoy a buffet meal and a chance to chat to our fellow parents, competitors and the Race officials. It was a great pleasure to see, and meet, Doug Elder, the Kiwi Chief of the Jury ....us Kiwis, we are everywhere.

There are three flights, 52 in the girls, and the boys have two flights of 56 each. There is one launching ramp, a narrow, long ramp down onto the marina, exactly the width of a Laser trolley...the potential for trouble is great - but for the super efficient ramp master who has done a great job of getting all the sailors away.

The girls sailed first today. The scheduled start was 11am, but it took then a few goes to get a start away with the strong current affecting them all. The boys were slightly better, some OCS's in a different current direction and much stronger breeze.

Heavy metal - 2011 Laser 4.7 Worlds, Day 1 San Francisco
. ..

Taylor, Trent and Liam were in the first start, all started well and headed up the very narrow course in a very strong and building wind. The courses are odd by our usual race courses, a couple of windward/leewards, then through a gate into a reach to the shore side, then another reach to the leeward mark, then a beat up to Finish.

This makes for great spectator viewing from the St Francis Yacht Club and waterfront and attempts to keep the sailors out of the shipping channel and the dredge working the North side of the course. There is an endless parade of the largest container ships I have ever seen go by. Some Laser sailors tried to play chicken with them and soon got the message ...the kite boarder that cut right across the bow of one deserved the Lunatic of the Year award.

Trent finished 11th, Taylor 18th and Liam 21st.

Ryan and Keith were in the second start and both went to the front in the first beat. Keith finished fifth but Ryan who was right by him got lost in the current and dropped back to 19th.

New Zealand Team - 2011 Laser 4.7 Worlds, Day 1 San Francisco
. ..

The second race was in the same order and even stronger winds but a slightly different course, just windward/leewards with an upward Finish. Trent 17th, Liam 22nd, Taylor 30th ....suffering the fate of Ryan earlier.

Keith and Ryan got away but Ryan suffered a major breakage ending his race. Keith capsized at the bottom mark, caught his Cunningham rope through his mainsheet block, righted himself and sailed to the finish holding his boom from dead last ...to finish in the top 10, fifth after the OCS's were taken out ....There is a lesson in that...never, never give up!

The overall results have just been published online, Keith fourth, Trent 24th, Liam 41st, Taylor 45th and Ryan 79th. The website is www.sflaserworlds.com

It was a very tough day at the office, some great results along with the usual first day nerves. These large regattas are like a marathon, the first day's results will change again and again, those that can keep it together over the whole period will come out well.

The boys have first start tomorrow, 11am and the possibility of lighter winds...mastering the currents are the trick.

A huge thank you to all our supporters

Happy sailing

Rob Burn
http://www.sail-world.com/86540