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40 teams participate at 470 North Americans

470 North American Championships - 40 teams participate at 470 North Americans
SAN FRANCISCO, CA. USA-(13-8-2005) With Bay View Boat Club, South Beach Yacht Club and the Bay Area Association of Disabled Sailors as hosts, the 470 class kicked off the first-ever North American championships in San Francisco Bay yesterday, with 40 teams registered by the start of the practice race and opening ceremonies featuring a band as crazy as only Baghdad-by-the-Bay could produce.

The racing has only been practice so far, with sailors remarking upon the puffy conditions, flat water and less-than-balmy temperatures that are common in this race area south of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and north of San Francisco International Airport. Windspeeds ranged 10 to 12 knots, gusting above 15 and continuing to build into the late afternoon. Currents will be flooding north to south across the course but will be relatively light during the four days of official racing, not exceeding 1.3 knots. Playing the puffs and localized shifts will be key to success here. The Bulgarian team was honored with the first capsize in the puffs, unable to quite keep their boat under the spinnaker during a leeward mark rounding. Several teams continued to work on the hard during the practice race, making final adjustments, and a few boats opted to practice in the heavier winds and sea conditions of the central Bay where the 470 Worlds will take place next week.

The large crop of new talent on the US team will be exciting to watch, with eyes on Anderson-Mitterling/Hughes (who just finished third at the US Nationals in Santa Cruz), McNay/Biehl (fourth-place menís team in Santa Cruz), Maxwell/Manard (second-place womanís team in Santa Cruz), 1988 Olympic gold medalist Allison Jolly and several others. Argentina and Russia have both sent ISAF-ranked top 10 boats (Conte/De La Fuente and Berezkin/Zybin, respectively). Japan, which sent a large team, is coming out of the US Nationals in Santa Cruz having captured first place (Kazuto/Shouichi), second (Matsunaga/Veho) and ninth (Ijima/Kato).

Source: Paul V. Oliva

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