USA. World champions win Silver Investor Solutions Star North Americans

Sunday, 19 November 2006

As went the Worlds, so went the North Americans. Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams stayed on land today and packed up their boat, while the rest of the fleet took to Biscayne Bay under overcast skies and 8-10 knots of breeze. When the racing was over Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada managed to pass Xavier Rohart and Pascal Rambeau to take second place in the regatta. The three teams finished 1,2,3 at the World Championship in San Francisco last month.

Two boats up from the pin, Peter Bromby and Bill McNiven stole the start, had clear air all the way up the first beat, and rounded the first weather mark with a 5-boat-length lead. They were followed by Matthias Miller and Manuel Voigt, Robert Schiedt and Bruno Prada, James Spithill and Magnus Liljedahl, Augie Diaz and Phil Trinter, Rick Merriman and Eric Munroe, and Henry Filter and Will Wagner.

The wind lightened on the run John Dane and Austin Sperry took the lead away from Bromby and McNiven. A big left shift came through after the first couple of boats rounded the left gate. James Spithill, with local Olympic gold medal crew, Magnus Lilijedahl, capitalized on the shift and scooped the lead during the second beat. Bromby/ McNiven, Merriman/Munroe were behind them.
Never giving up, John Dane and Austin Sperry recaptured the lead on the run and rounded the right leeward gate 200 yards ahead of Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada. The next dozen boats followed around the same gate before the downwind parade thinned out enough for boats to start to round the left gate. The wind continued to back and the fleet spent nearly the entire final leg on port.

Dane/Sperry got the gun, followed by Scheidt/Prada, Spithill/Lilijedahl, Bromby/McNiven, and Merriman/Munroe. The biggest disappointment for the day was the former Star World Championship team of Rohart and Rambeau. They had to keep their throw out going into the final race, a 26th, after their 28th place finish for the day. They dropped to 3rd in the series, as a consequence.

The top four teams in the series were eager to be reweighed once they hit the docks, so that they could eat, shower, put away their gear and start to celebrate. (I’d already had a chance to take a second look at Carl Williams’ tattoos in the morning, when he and Hamish Pepper asked to be weighed before the rest of the fleet sailed out for the final race). The top North Americans were Ross MacDonald and Mike Wolfs of Canada, who finished 5th.

Lynn Fitzpatrick

Last Updated ( Sunday, 19 November 2006 )