hold on and holla’

hold on and holla’

An anxious, glassed off morning led to a spectacular end of Day 2 of the 2010 Melges 32 World Championship, and today turned out to be a "hold on and holler" day on San Francisco Bay.  The wind started out under 10 knots, but quickly piped up to well over 20 knots at times and, as B-lin Sailing skipper Luca Lalli put it “walls of waves.” The top mark of race 3 was the proving ground for many – we saw nearly half the fleet wipe out as they hoisted their kites in the biggest puff of the day.    As I write this (just after 10pm on Thursday), there are still protests being heard in the jury room, and small armies of sailors working through their boat’s punch list to get ready for Friday.

The big crash today happened just after Joe Woods Red had a yard sale of a roundup, and Bronco, behind them, had nowhere to go.  The rigs locked, the boats grated topsides, and somehow, they did an end around, with Bronco ending the incident with their sprit into Red’s stern – below her waterline. According to the crew, the cleat on the ‘pole out’ line miraculously gave, allowing Bronco to pull out and continue sailing (to a twentieth place), had the pole line not popped, "we’d still be out there having British Red on a skewer" the Bronco crew said. Red was forced to retire as the damage meant an immediate haul out, and Red was DSQ for not giving Bronco room to keep clear – "the authors of their own misfortune" commented a witness in the jury room.  The live video missed it, but you can kind of see the incident at 0:57 in this clip.  Sailfastphoto’s Sara Proctor certainly didn’t, as you can see in this photo (and plenty more at her site).

Clearing up another story….There were several questions in the forum and talk at the bar here about the guy who ‘broke both his feet’ when the sheets wrapped around him yesterday…Martha Parker, who sailed with Peter on Arethusa clears that up in this short clip. what a winning smile this gal has, huh?):

I also had a chance to talk with Andy Lovell, whose Rougarou is 3 points out of first now that the throwout has kicked in.  Andy’s sailing with his brother and a generally phenomenal crew who are just having a blast here – they even caught the Saints game here at Candlestick on Monday night. 

The other story everyone is talking about is the Italians.  B-lin sailing swooped in and won the hearts of most of the St. Francis ladies within minutes, as only a crew full of bronze twenty-somethings from the Med can do.  They also earned the respect of the fleet, and as Clean mentioned yesterday, their passion is well-tempered with great discipline from some of the older Italian guard sailing on board.  While it would seem Luca Lalli is in an enviable position, he realizes he’s holding on by 3 points and against the toughest competition he’s ever seen.  He is determined not to get behind the Americans and stay in the top 10.  But it’s not easy, he says the level of the American teams is tremendous, with a much deeper fleet than in Italy.  

And the lead pack is just not easy to beat.  The only saving grace for B-Lin is that Bliksem now has two finishes in the twenties – but then again, every boat has at least one deep finish already, so truly anything can still happen, and probably will.  After six races, we are now more half-way through the regatta, with 10 total races scheduled.  The live tracking and video may be spotty, but it’s better than nothing!  Check it out at www.Melges32worlds.com or watch the thread for updates all day if the live feed isn’t working for you.
Results are here
-Paige Brooks