AUSTRALIA'S LEAD INCREASES - A BIT
Racing is abandoned for first time ever at Kenwood
HONOLULU, HI AUGUST 8, 1998 Australia strengthened her lead - but not by much - in the Kenwood Cup and the results of the 1D48s turned upside down in one of the most unusual days of racing ever seen in a Kenwood Hawa| International Offshore Series. Indeed, a little footnote was added to the history of yacht racing here off Waikiki Beach today when Kenwood competitors saw a sight familiar enough in other race venues, but never before seen here: the drooping red-and-white bunting of the Postponement flag.
It is the first time in the twenty-year history of the regatta that a race has had to be postponed for lack of wind. In fact, for much of the one-hour postponement there was what might be called a good Mediterranean breeze - 5-7 knots. What was worrying race director Ken Morrison and his Royal Hawa|an Ocean Racing Club team more than the lightness of the air was its shifty nature. With water almost 2,000 feet deep, laying the windward mark is a commitment one does not undertake lightly. Another historical footnote was written four hours later - after only one race had been sailed - when Morrison fired three guns and set flag signal N over H - the racing code for "All races are abandoned, return to harbour." That, too, was a Kenwood first.
Blame it all on the remnants of Tropical Storm Estelle, which has left a ridge of tropical disturbance tracking slowly north and east of the Hawa|an islands and blocking off those normally oh-so-reliable Trade Winds.
Yet even if today was not quite the Winds of Paradise the racing, once it did get going, was fairly close to Heavenly: 10 to 12 knots of breeze, warm air, blue swelling sea and just enough shifts to reward the clever tacticians, confound the unlucky and provide a few passing places. After the delay Class A got away neatly with Ken Read at the helm of Helmut Jahn's Flash Gordon giving a text-book demonstration of the classic pin-end start. Right on the gun, already going at full pace and in clear air. Matt Hayes steering Syd Fischer's Ragamuffin was just a second or two behind, nicely up to weather of Flash but not quite up to pace.
The 1D48s were next away - and what a difference. They all came to the line early, led by Peter Gilmour in G-Shock Nippon Challenge desperately seeking a gap where he could turn back and dip below the line. Pushing Gilmour up were John Bertrand in Starlight and Doug DeVoss (the class's only owner-driver here in Hawa|) in Windquest along with John Kolius in Abracadabra and the AmericaOne Kostecki-Cayard combo in illbruck-PINTA. G-Shock found her gap and dived back down, but by now nearly everyone was too close both to the line and the pin end. Two guns, flag X, (meaning boats on the course side of the line at the start) and G-Shock, Abracadabra and illbruck-PINTA all had to return and start correctly. Those three, of course, were the top three in the overall points league in the series. Kolius alone elected to take the far left-hand route to the windward mark, the other two set off in pursuit of the bunch. By the gybe mark all three were back in contention, although still the rearguard.
The downwind finish showed why this class continues to draw the very best one-design sailors in the world. Places seemed to change at every gybing cross. John Bertrand, who has at some stage led every race only to suffer some sort of breakdown, at last brought Starlight home first. The next four finished within 15 seconds, Doug DeVoss just regaining second place from America True.
In the handicap division the race - and as it turned out, the day - was something of a benefit for Class A. Flash Gordon of the USA Red team maintained the immaculate performance of her start to be first in Class A and first overall, with the Farr 46 of Hideo Matsuda winning Class C and taking second overall on behalf of the New Zealand team, but thereafter Class A took the next three places. With boats in third (Ragamuffin), sixth (ABN Amro Challenge) and eighth (Quest) Australia had the best day of the Kenwood Cup teams, with USA Red second (Flash 1st, Beau Geste 4th, Zamboni 13th). New Zealand were third (Big Apple 2nd, G'Net 7th, White Cloud 10th) today but hold their second place overall.
The warning signal had gone and the starting sequence was well underway for the start of the second race of the day when, abruptly, the wind did not so much die as stop dead. No sooner had a postponement been signaled than the breeze began to fill in from exactly the opposite direction. Even in 2,000ft of water, the Royal Hawa|an Ocean Racing club team can lift a windward mark in under ten minutes - but shifting it five miles takes a little longer. Reluctantly, race director Morrison reached for his radio to tell competitors that, for the first time ever in a Hawa|an Offshore Series, racing was about to be abandoned.
View a still photo pulled from live video of PINTA
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Kenwood Cup 1D48 Preliminary Race Results:*
Team Race 1 Points Race 2 Points Race 3 Points Race 4 Points Race 5 Points Race 6 Points Total Points G-Shock 4 6 5 5 18 (6*3) 3 41 illbruck-PINTA 1 1 6 6 15 (5*3) 2 31 Abracadabra 4 4 3 2 9 (3*3) 1 23 America True 2 2 2 3 12 (4*3) 4 25 Windquest 3 5 1 1 6 (2*3) 5 21 Starlight Express 1 3 4 4 1 (1*3) 6 21
*Race 7 Abandoned. Scoring includes on-course penalty points for race 1: G-Shock accepted a 20% penalty for violating rule 29.1 and Starlight accepted a 50% penalty for violating rule 29.1. PINTA withdrew from races 1 and 2 due to a broken rudder and America True withdrew from Race 2 also apparently due to equipment failure.
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