SAN DIEGO—Olympic hopefuls Robbie Daniel and crew Hunter Stunzi of Florida suffered a setback Friday on the first day of Tornado catamaran competition in US Olympic Trials West as the favorites, 2004 Athens silver medalists John Lovell, New Orleans, and Charlie Ogletree, Kemah, Tex., led the way with two first places and a second in three races.
Daniel and Stunzi had posted a second and a third and were running well on the second upwind leg in Race 3 when their jib halyard snapped, forcing them to drop out. Barring further bad luck, they’ll be able to discard the last-place result as their allotted throwout after five of seven races. Meantime, Enrique Figueroa and Jorge Hernandez of Puerto Rico, who won the U.S. Nationals earlier this week, were in second place with a 1-3-2 score line.
The day, featuring a light morning rain prior to sailing, launched the first of three weekends of US Sailing Olympic Pre-Trial events for 8 of the 11 Olympic classes in Southern California. The Tornados are being hosted by San Diego Yacht Club.
The Tornados raced three times around a 1.8-mile windward-leeward race course on the open ocean three miles south of the city. Figueroa and Hernandez won the first race in a gentle 6 knots of breeze, but as the wind built to 12 through the afternoon Lovell and Ogletree took command.
“I like 15 knots,” Ogletree said, “but I don’t think we’re going to see that here.”
Racing continues Saturday and Sunday, starting at noon each day, conditions permitting.
Next weekend (Oct. 20-22) the 49ers will be at Southwestern YC in San Diego, the Finns at Newport Harbor YC and the Stars at California YC in Marina del Rey. The spectacle will finish Oct. 26-29 with four days of racing for the men’s and women’s 470s at the US Sailing Center in Long Beach and the men’s and women’s RS:X—the new Olympic sailboard—just down the street at Alamitos Bay YC.
A year from now the same venues in San Diego, Newport Beach, Long Beach and Marina del Rey will host the formal Olympic Trials to select the one boat in eight of the 11 classes that will represent the United States in the 2008 Olympic sailing at Qingdao, China in 2008.
Pre-Trials for the other three Olympic classes—Laser, Laser Radial and Yngling, plus 2.4mR, Sonar and SKUD-18 for disabled sailors—are under way at Newport, R.I. this weekend.
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