On day three of the 2012 Laser North American Championship, four races were sailed amid warm, sunny skies and a breeze the built to a steady 21 knots. Sailing families suntanned and swam in the Columbia River with a great view to the racecourse as 170+ Lasers whipped around a challenging course.
The leaders in each fleet have consolidated their positions and look good going into the final on Sunday. Scoring two bullets and two second places again today with a 13 point lead, 21-year old Chris Barnard, from Newport Beach, Calif., finally had a big smile on his face after racing today, very satisfied with his first place but knows there’s still more racing. (You have to catch him after racing to chat to him as he’s just too focused on racing to talk in the mornings, at least that’s what his buddies told me).
“I’m definitely pleased tactically and strategy-wise playing the first beats, staying conservative and making sure I’m in the race. Downwind I’m staying aggressive and using my speed to make my gains, I’m hiking hard and just keep working hard. We’ve still got a few more races left and so I’m just sailing as hard as I can,” Barnard said.
Robert Davis has been plugging away in third over the past few days, chasing Derick Vranigan who in second has an eight point lead over the Canadian. Davis explained, “I’ve had a pretty tough time. It was pretty windy today and there were some pretty decent puffs especially downwind. Chris and Derick are really providing some competition, especially downwind. I’d be happier if I was challenging them more. Chris has a pretty big jump on both of us now - the top two from this regatta get world spots for Oman next year so Derick’s more important to me right now.”
In the Radial fleet, Malcom Lamphere will be disappointed with his result today finishing with 16 points, just one point behind Isabella Bertold who sits in first. Lamphere threw out his first two races where he placed 10th and 12th, faring better with a second and first in the last two races of the day. Veteran Al Clark, 52, who coaches the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club team, sits in third in this competitive fleet. He says the kids keep him young … and obviously quick.
“It’s been good sailing,” Clark said. “The current where we’re sailing brings in a whole different aspect to it because there’s an area where there’s a lot of current over on the Washington side. That makes it very tricky. Plus, you have a very big starting line with the current bringing everyone up so it’s very tough racing. It’s very hard to be consistent - no one’s winning all these races today, that’s for sure. I was just happy to get anywhere near the front because there was so many possible pitfalls at the start - missing the current etc. The first two races today were in quite light air though and the second two were better. It’s nice racing in the fresh water and it’s a beautiful place to sail - I love sailing here.”
It’s extremely tight at the top of the 4.7 fleet, with the top four mixing it up by a just a point. Patrick Shanahan finished the day with 16 points just one point ahead of nemesis Ford McCann, while Daniel Kendrick and Parker Hughes are tied for third with 42 points, making for a big lead for the top two in this fleet.
International Laser Class President Tracy Usher, also racing the regatta is impressed with the way in which the regatta has been managed. “It’s going really well and with 170+ boats, it’s well organized. CGRA are certainly turning races around. There’s not a lot of waiting in between races.”
He’s also been impressed with the high level of competition.
“With the Olympics being settled and the representatives chosen, there is a tendency this regatta this year to see a step down in the level so there are probably three guys who aren’t here who could be in the standard rig fleet who would be at the top and a few women who aren’t here but after that, I think it’s still a good quality fleet. I think the guys sailing in the standard and I am sure some of the women are going to do the next Olympics so it's a good chance to see them in action.”
Top five in the Laser Standard after day three:
1. Chris Barnard (sail #194180), Newport Harbor YC, 13 pts
2. Derick Vranizan (sail #196842), Seattle YC, 26 pts
3. Robert Davis, (sail #200610), Kingston YC/RCYC, 34 pts
4. Alexander Heinzemann (sail # 197160) Royal Van YC, 35 pts
5. Eric Bowers (sail #199761), Minnetonka YC, 40 pts
5. Evert McLoughlin (sail #194538), R Canadian YC, 33 pts
Top five in the Laser 4.7 after day three:
1.Patrick Shanahan (sail #199169), St Petersburg YC, 16 pts
2. Ford McCann (sail #199339), TCYC, 17 pts
3. Daniel Kendrick (sail #181884), Houston YC, 42T pts
4. Parker Hughes (sail #182342), TCYC, 42T pts
5. Macey McCann (sail # 175017), TCYC, 46 pts
Top five in the Laser Radial after day three:
1. Isabella Bertold (sail #198385), R Van YC, 15 pts
2. Malcom Lamphere (sail # 199796), Lake Geneva YC, 16 pts
3. Al Clark, (sail # 197053), R Van YC, 25 pts
4. Mateo Vargas (sail # 194551), St Petersburg YC/Stanford, 31 pts
5. Clay Broussard (sail # 190464), LYC, 58T pts
6. Andrew Puopolo (sail #198363), Marsh Creek Sailing Club, 58T pts
Racing continues through Sunday.