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2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series - Clearwater Day 1

by US Sailing 4 Feb 19:28 PST February 4-7, 2021
2021 West Marine US Open Sailing – Clearwater © US Sailing Team / Allison Chenard

The Gulf of Mexico offered new challenges for the sailors racing today at 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing - Clearwater. The first two events of the new series in Fort Lauderdale and Miami were contested in the Atlantic Ocean. Many of the sailors who raced in one of those events made the short trip across the state to be here this week in Clearwater.

US Sailing Team Laser Radial Coach, Steve Mitchell, is optimistic about the sailing conditions this week in Clearwater. "We've had some cold fronts come in over the past couple of days, which has brought fantastic winds for training. We had an offshore easterly today as the front moved past us, which is tricky. The wind will come from the south and start to build over the next few days, and that should provide some great racing this week. It's going to be a great event. We've got sailors from all over the country and all over the world here."

Despite light conditions this morning, all five classes completed racing this afternoon. The Foiling Kites completed five races, the Lasers finished three races, and the iQFoils posted two races on Thursday. The three Laser fleets started racing just after 11 am in 5-7 knots with very few puffs and flat water. The breeze changed direction significantly and the racecourse was re-located for the second race to take advantage of the breeze coming in from the west, where they found ample wind at 11-13 knots. The Foiling Kites raced in the early afternoon after a postponement and the iQFoils contested all of their racing later in the afternoon.

The Foiling Kites were the busiest fleet of the day and through five races the leaderboard is very close. Only seven points separates the top four kiters. Markus Edegran (West Palm Beach, Fla.) and Evan Heffernan (Santa Barbara, Calif.) are at the top of the fleet with six points. Daniela Moroz (Lafayette, Calif.) is the top women's kiter with 13 points and in fourth place overall.

Lou Boucher (West River, Md.) jumped out of the gate with an early one point lead through three races in the Laser fleet. He won the first two races of the regatta today. Boucher placed 10th at US Open Fort Lauderdale last month.

Anna Vasilieva (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) took an early lead in the Laser 4.7 fleet with three straight wins. Vasilieva placed fourth overall and was the top women's sailor in the 4.7 fleet at US Open Fort Lauderdale.

Chapman Petersen (Fontana, Wis.) paced the Laser Radial fleet in Fort Lauderdale and won the overall title. He is back at the US Open this week in Clearwater and looking put together another strong performance against elite competition from both the men and women sailors in the fleet. The Laser Radial fleet this week includes Paige Railey (Clearwater, Fla.) and Sarah Douglas (Toronto, CAN). Petersen, Railey, and Douglas are at the top of the leaderboard through three races.

The iQFoil fleet in Miami only competed one race. Mateus Isaac (Sao Paulo, BRA) won that race and he won both races today in the men's fleet. Mariana Aguilar Chavez Peon (MEX) won both races in the Open fleet. Farrah Hall (Annapolis, Md.) is four points back in third place.

For more information visit the official 2021 West Marine US Open Sailing Series event website.

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