by Jodie Bakewell-White
Hamish Pepper and Carl Williams have had a mixed start to the 2008 Star World Championship in Miami and sit in 32nd place due to a black flag in race two. Now at the mid-way point in the six race series the kiwis have just recorded their best result with a 3rd in race three which has just concluded on Biscayne Bay.
If Pepper and Williams sail well in race four they are likely to climb up the standings as the one discard allowed for the series comes into effect following the next race.
Miami produced a 7-15 knot sea breeze for racing on day three and Pepper and Williams came off the line well and held their position to finish 3rd in the one race of the day.
“After Pepsi [Pepper] launched us off the line with a great start just down from the Committee Boat we were able to get straight into phase with the shifts and had clear lanes for the whole race - which makes it so much easier!” said Williams after the race.
“It was a battle of the Gold Stars [previous Star World champions] today with us, Rohart (FRA) and Scheidt (BRA) fighting it out the whole way around for the win. These guys finished on the podium with us at 2006 Worlds, 2006 North Americans, 2007 Pre Olympics so it was familiar battle grounds again today.
“It was great to see the 8187 boat going so strong against all the other Olympic hopefuls, another tick in the box for boat speed! Now we need to focus a little harder on clearing the rust out in the boat handling department, but if that's our biggest problem then at this stage we should be pretty happy.”
Carl Williams describes how the pair was one of 25 boats black flagged on day two: “The Race Committee were very keen to get the racing underway so the third attempt to start the race was signalled with the dreaded Black Flag in order to calm the fleet down.
“We were positioned at the middle of the line and with 30 seconds to go it was obvious that we were close so we decided to sacrifice the start and bear away to avoid being over, but what this does is place you under other boats not being so cautious. The gun went and the race was under way with the Race Committee signalling some boats had been seen over (Individual Recall).
“As we rounded the top mark and started the reach to the offset buoy the white board displaying the black flagged boats had a big 87 (our bow #) in the top right corner, a quick check that yes our bow # is 87 and we sailed off the course to head home. We were one of 25 other boats Black flagged, and in that a lot of the real top contenders which was really the only consolation.
“Overall the boat felt really good. This is a big goal here in Miami to line this boat up against the World and help us confirm that she is the boat of choice for the Olympics. You never like sailing home early but it’s important to keep the big picture in mind of why we are here. A different story for some of the other countries who are still trying to qualify for the Olympics, a Black flag has cost them dearly.”
A rest day is scheduled for tomorrow with another three races remaining. The regatta concludes on Miami on Thursday afternoon (early Friday morning New Zealand time).
2008 Star World Championship (104 boats)
Top Five Standings after three races
1st – MacCausland & Murphy USA – 27 points (15, 4, 8)
2nd – Murray & Palfrey AUS – 27 points (11, 11, 5)
3rd – Negri & Viale ITA – 31 points (3, 3, 25)
4th – Suzuki & Wada JPN – 34 points (9, 15, 10)
5th – Medalblatt & Strube USA – 40 points (2, 6, 32)
32nd – Pepper & Williams NZL – 120 points (12, 105/BFD, 3)
2008 Star World Championships