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2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series: Fort Lauderdale - Day 3

by US Sailing 17 Jan 20:01 PST January 15-18, 2021
2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series: Fort Lauderdale - Day 3 © Ellinor Walters

The 135 sailors waited patiently on Sunday for consistent breeze by making the most of their time to work on their craft and connect with fellow athletes during a lengthy postponement. As conditions improved in the afternoon, all three Laser fleets completed one race each on Day 3 at the 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series - Fort Lauderdale.

Shifty winds made racing a challenge in the late morning and early afternoon hours. Later in the afternoon winds picked up reaching 8 to 12 knots with puffy and shifty gusts and relatively flat seas.

Juan Maegli (GUA) added to his lead by taking Race 4 in the Laser Full Rig fleet. He now leads Francisco Guaragna Rigonat (ARG) by 10 points. Leo Boucher (Annapolis, Md.) placed second in today's race, while Luke Ruitenberg (CAN) finished third. Charlie Buckingham (Newport Beach, Calif) is the top American entering Monday's last day of racing in fifth place.

Boucher discussed his day on the water with the Full Rigs including his second place finish. "We went out there with very little hopes of getting races off. It was pretty chilly, very cloudy, and it didn't look promising. Then around three o'clock we got a bit of breeze; just enough to get us started. The breeze never settled in and was very all over the place."

"We waited until we could get a clean start off. I ended up going right in our race on the first upwind, just waiting for a variety to take me back to the top mark. I ended up getting one and rounded the windward mark in 7th. I stayed in 7th on the reach and passed a boat or two on the first downwind. I gybed onto port and noticed that there was a bit of a lefty happening on the downwind. Right before I rounded the leeward mark, I looked upwind and saw that the first and second place boats tacked onto port and it looked like they were sailing a lefty so I wanted to make sure I got onto port tack as quickly as I could. So I rounded the course right gate so I could be on port tack immediately, and from there I was anticipating another righty after the lefty phased out. So we all tacked on the righty and I made a gain, the breeze kept winding to the right, and I had already been set up to be one of the furthest right boats. I just got to put my bow down and go fast instead of tacking repeatedly to get in the pressure that was on the right. The risk paid off and I was very happy."

Chapman Petersen (Winnetka, Ill.) had another strong performance in Race 4 with a win in the Yellow Fleet to lead the Radials by eight points over Robby Meek (Annapolis, Md.). Isabella Maegli (GUA) earned the win in the Blue Fleet. Sunday was the final qualifying round for the Radials with the fleet splitting into Gold and Silver on Monday.

Jacob Zils (Wayzata, Minn.) has a one point lead over Umi Noritake (Miami Beach, Fla.) and Conor Kellett (Miami Beach, Fla.) through four races in the 4.7 fleet after placing second in Race 4. Dorothy Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla.) won today's race and moved into fifth place overall.

Monday is the last day of racing and 2-3 races are planned. Full results ans standing available here.

Morgan Reeser, Olympic Development Program (ODP) Coach and Olympic Gold Medalist was observing the racing and was impressed with the overall talent of these young athletes. "They've all shown flashes of brilliance, which I'd much rather have than just an average performance. I'd rather see some great ones, and they've all had top four races or top six races. That's all I'd ask for at this point."

"I go back to when I was their age, there was nothing like this. So I constantly tell them they have no idea how lucky they are. They have hardworking, really smart people behind them trying to guide them, whereas I had to continually make mistakes myself and just try not to make the same mistakes twice. So we're trying to help them not make the mistake the first time."

ODP Coach, Chris Barnard said, "It's great that all these sailors at different levels are mixing it up this week. It's on us to keep pushing the level higher and over the years we will keep getting better."

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