Storms Hamper Miami OCR

The sailors at US Sailing’s 2010 Rolex Miami OCR, the second of seven stops for this year’s International Sailing Federation World Cup, are hoping for better conditions today after all 13 classes had to stand down due to bad weather.

Though the day seemed promising enough at first, the threat of thunderstorms on Biscayne Bay compelled organizers to put racing on hold for safety. In all, the regatta is hosting 633 sailors competing aboard 448 boats representing 45 nations, making it one of the world’s most competitive regattas for Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls.

According to principal race officer Ross Wilson, only the race courses for the 49er class and Elliott 6ms, which are being used for women’s match racing, were deemed close enough to shore for racing to begin. “The 49ers were sailing very close to a beach where they could retreat, but in the case of the Star course, it was three miles away, which was too far,” he said. After the storms passed, the women’s Laser Radial and men’s Laser were also lucky enough to be able to compete, completing a single race each. For the rest of the classes, racing had already been cancelled for the day.

“We had three very good races today and a good start to the regatta,” said 2009 ISAF Rolex World Sailor of the Year and US SAILING’s Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Anna Tunnicliffe. “We had some aggressive pre-starts and we’re very happy with our boat handling in the big breeze.”

The match racing event features 24 teams divided into three groups of eight, sailing round-robin in a complex series of over 200 races, which eventually pare down the fleet to two boats, dueling for gold on Saturday, the last day of competition for the Olympic classes.

In the 49er class, Australia’s Will and Sam Phillips led after posting victories in three of three races today, which were held in 14-19 knots of breeze. After several course changes—a result of the shifty breeze—the Laser Radials were able to start their one race around 4:45 pm in medium to light puffy air. American Paige Railey held a strong lead throughout the race to finish first.

The Laser fleet, which was split into two fleets, was also at the mercy of shifting breeze, and the Race Committee scrambled to adjust the racecourse and quickly started the race before sunset. During the first sequence, the first wave of the front appeared and the temperature dropped 10 degrees, while the wind shifted from the south to the west. In the end, Canada’s Luke Ramsay finished first in the blue fleet, while England’s Nick Thompson took first in the yellow fleet.

As for those who didn’t sail, most adopted the attitude that Laser sailor Brad Funk had while he was waiting on shore this morning. “It is what it is,” he said. “There’s plenty of good racing left to be had here.”

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