by Dana Paxton
Pan American Games are currently underway in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico. Racing in light-wind conditions, Team USA enjoyed a successful second day at the regatta. Through four races, the U.S. holds or shares the lead in three classes — Lightning, Snipe and Sunfish.
Pan American Games 2011 logo
The American Snipe, featuring Augie Diaz (Miami, Fla.) and Kathleen Tocke (Miami, Fla.), recorded first and second place finishes today to grab a four-point advantage over Brazil (9-13).
The U.S. Lightning, skippered by Jody Lutz (Brick, N.J.), notched first and sixth place finishes to stand even with Chile with 11 points. Jay Lutz (Houston, Texas) and Derek Gauger (Ann Arbor, Mich.) round out the Lightning crew.
Four-time Olympian Paul Foerster (Heath, Texas) placed second and third on Tuesday to sit atop the Sunfish rankings with Brazil’s Matheus Dellagnello with just eight points through four races.
Other strong performances on Tuesday came from Clay Johnson (Toms River, N.J.), who placed first and fifth to move into second in the Laser, and Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.), who finished second, fifth and second to move into third in the RS:X Women (Windsurfer) class.
'The Laser fleet that I’m sailing is really deep. It’s the biggest fleet — there are 13 boats — and there are like eight guys that are ranked in the top 30 in the world here,' Johnson said. 'It’s really deep and everyone’s mixing it up. The scores are really close, so 1-5 is a solid day.'
Hall raced three times today after one of Monday’s races was thrown out due to a protest. 'In this kind of light-wind condition it is pretty tiring to do three races in a day because there’s a lot of pumping, but I ended up having a really good day,' Hall said. 'I think that I’ve learned to be fast in these conditions. I had pretty good starts and had good tactics.'
Each sailing class is slated to race twice per day, with the exception of a scheduled off day Thursday. The medal races, reserved just the top five in each class, are set for Saturday. The low point total at the end of competition will decide the medalists.