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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49 

Paul Cayard Reports on the Western Hemisphere Championship
By Paul Cayard
Apr 4, 2009, 09:36

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Fourth - Sixth races:
April 3, 2009

Well it wasn't pretty but we got the job done. It would have been nice to have just kept getting 1's and 2's but that wasn't to be. John MacCausland and Phil Trinter sailed well today with a 4, 1, 4 to tie us. Luckily because we had won the first two races, the tie break went in our favor.

George Szabo and Rick Peters won the first race of the day in 8 knots from 320... offshore. Alberto Zanetti of Argentina was second and we managed a 3rd in that one.

The wind dropped and bit and was quite unstable but generally was going left.

MacCausland and Trinter won the second race on a nice shift on the first run. John Gimson and Ed Greig of England were second with Eric Doyle third.

At this point the discard came into play and we had a three point lead over MacCausland/Trinter and neither of us could lose to Szabo/ Peters who were in third.

So we were match racing MacCausland/Trinter. The current was running pretty hard pushing the fleet over the line. We had MacCausland and Trinter in a world of trouble in two recalled starts. In the final start they got off clean and at first cross were ahead of us. We tried to keep it close rather than race our own race. This is tough in a tight fleet on a relatively short course. In the end they beat us by three places making a tie.

Doyle won that last race which is nice for him as he grew up here in "The Pass".

All is well that ends well. It was a great month of Star sailing with my buddy Austin. 5th at Bacardi and 1st here. With the court decision this week I now join the ranks of the unemployed. Time to look for a new adventure. You never know what's around the corner.


Day Three
April 2, 2009

All racing was canceled today due to high winds, thunderstorms, lightening and large hail. The competitors moved their boats behind and under the club to protect them from the strong southerly winds which gusted up to 35 knots at one point.


Second and Third races:
April 1, 2009

Races 2 and 3 were completed today under overcast skies with a 10 knot northeasterly breeze that dropped to 6 knots by the end of race 3.

There was a 0.6 knot current running to the west all day and this was a big factor with regard to lay lines. There was no perceivable relief anywhere on the course.

We had an average start in the first race and were 5th coming to with windward mark. We got a bit lucky and positioned ourselves well to round just ahead of John MacCausland/Phil Trinter. Eric Doyle/Brian Sharpe were third. Both of these teams realized that the current would make the run a fetch on port tack so the gybed immediately. We extended a bit on starboard, then gybed. The wind clocked a bit also so they laid the leeward mark and we were in third place. Things stayed pretty much the same on the second windward leg.

At the final windward mark, the Race Committee signaled a course change to the finish which was to the right of the previous run. All three of us gybed to port and sailed for 5-6 minutes. We checked our compass and saw that we were 50 degrees off the posted course of 280. Then we saw a new mark being set. To cut to the point, we cut the corner and won the race. Doyle second, MacCausland third and our house mates Hagebols/Brown finished 4th.

In the second race we really liked the right. We started at the right end of the line and tacked immediately to port. We got a nice shift and more pressure out to the right and were first to the first windward mark. The wind speed was about 7 knots at this point. The wind dropped a bit more down the run but we managed to stay in first. Jock Kohlhas with Brad Balmart crewing were right behind us and Larry Whipple with Mike Wolfs were in third. Up the second windward leg, we let Jock and Brad get a bit to the right of us and they passed us. They were going fast as well. Jock and won the race, we finished second and Whipple/Wolfs finished third.

We are leading the regatta for now but there are four more races left. Tomorrow we will likely see a completely different condition, windy with big waves. A large low pressure area is approaching the area from the North West.


First Race: Pass Christian, Mississippi
March 31, 2009

While most of the sailing world was on its toes waiting for the NY court to issue its decision regarding the America's Cup fued, Hoss and I were out racing the Star on the Gulf Coast.

Thunderstorms forced a one hour postponment this morning and then the wind died after we finished the first race so we got just one in today.

But that one was a good one for Austin (Hoss) Sperry and I as we led wire to wire in the first race of this series.

The wind was light and there were 30 degree shifts both sides of 215 (southwest) while the wind velocity went from 7 knots to 3 knots and back up to 7 knots. It wasn't any easy race for anyone so we were just lucky to hold the lead through it all.

John MacCausland and Phil Trinter sailed nicely to finish 2nd and my long time friend Larry Whipple with Mike Wolfs crewing finished 3rd.

Tomorrow's forecast is for sunshine and a light southeasterly after torrential rains between midnight and 0500.


Practice Race
A small fleet of Stars has turned up here in Mississippi for the Western Hemisphere Championship also known as the Spring Championship. There is one Spring Championship in Europe and one in North America each year.

This year there are 18 boats here in Pass Christian. My crew, Austin Sperry, lives here so I am staying with him and his wife Sally.

The Pass Christian Yacht Club has been in existence since 1849 and there has been sailing here on the Gulf Coast for 300 years. The only time I have raced on the Gulf Coast prior to this was the 1985 Spring Championship in New Orleans at the Southern Yacht Club. There is a long standing tradition of racing Stars here on the Gulf Coast.

The schedule for this week is for two races per day, for four days, starting March 31. There will be one discard in the series.

The forecast for the week is fairly breezy every day with thunderstorms and lots of rain today. So much for the nice sunshine we enjoyed yesterday.

Today the fleet had a practice race which Austin and I managed to win. They say it is bad luck to win the practice race but I wanted to check again to see if that is still true. We also have #13 as our bow number this week so maybe all of that working together is good luck.

In any case, we are lucky to be down here and racing!

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