It was a difficult day on Weymouth's waters on day one at the Skandia Sail for Gold Regatta but Caleb Paine (USA) made it look easy with a massive win from Aleksey Selivanov (RUS) and Mark Andrews (GBR) in the only race sailed.
Racing didn't actually get under way until 16.30 as the early morning northerly clocked and dropped shortly after the fleet got away for race one at around 11.30. It was soon abandoned and after an hour wait the fleet was sent in only to be turned around just over an hour later as the forecast south-westerly filled in. The race was eventually started first time in 5-6 knots, only to drop on the first downwind to leave a complex and difficult race ahead. It picked up slightly for the final lap, and a second race was on the cards for a while, but then the race committee sent everyone home, which was a relief for many.
Caleb Paine (USA) found the best route up the first beat with lots of favourites struggling further back. He rounded ahead of Jonas Hogh-Christensen (DEN) and Michael Maier (CZE). There were lots of casualties on the first downwind as the pressure came in from the left and many of the leaders dropped like stones. Alexiy Selivanov (RUS) had a great downwind to round some way back from Paine and just ahead of Zach Railey (USA) and Maier.
Paine extended his lead over the next two laps and crossed the finish line a minute and a half ahead of second placed Selivanov. In fact Paine had finished before the second boat had even rounded the gate. Andrews crossed in third with Railey fourth. Ben Ainslie (GBR) had recovered from a poor first beat to finish fifth.
Paine said, “I think the first beat was just a matter of staying in more pressure. The current was kind of in the phase of switching and I didn't really know what to do, so I just played it safe and worked closer to the coast. And it ended up turning out pretty well.”
“The biggest gain was on the first downwind. There was a pressure line coming down on the right side of the course looking upwind and I gybed into that with all the other boats and then rounded the gate ahead and it was a lot easier from there.”
Paine comes to Weymouth fresh from the success of winning the last ISAF Sailing World Cup event in Medemblik. “I'm starting to put all the pieces together and eventually I will be firing on all cylinders all of the time instead of just two or three. I'm looking forward to it and glad to see the progress is heading in the right direction.”
The forecast for Tuesday is for lots more wind, and rain. Skandia Sail for Gold continues until Saturday, when the medal race for the top 10 will be sailed.
Top 10 after race one
Event website: http://www.skandiasailforgoldregatta.co.uk