Benn Smith and Campbell Patton make decent starts out west
Benn Smith and Campbell Patton made encouraging starts to the Laser North American Championships in San Francisco yesterday.
Smith placed nineteenth and fourth, and Patton seventh and 20th in the opening two races of the ten-race series in the Laser Standard class.
Only four points separates eleventh-placed Smith from thirteenth-placed Patton in the 24-boat fleet.
Things might have panned out even better for Smith had he not suffered a damaged rigging in the opening race, which resulted in the loss of precious ground on the racecourse.
Smith and Patton are competing against each other in a three-event qualifier for the right to represent Bermuda in the Laser class at the inaugural Junior Pan American Games to be held in Cali, Colombia, from September 9 to 19.
The pair are being accompanied in San Francisco by compatriot Nicole Stovell.
The female sailor is competing in the Laser Radial class, whose results were not published at press time.
Meanwhile, Ford McCann, of the United States, topped the Laser Standard class after the opening two races.
The championships feature 125 sailors from eight countries and are being hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club until Sunday.
The event, which is also comprises the Laser 4.7 class, was delayed a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This is the pinnacle event in North America each year for Laser sailors and we didn't want to offer a less than stellar experience," Tracy Usher, the regatta chairwoman, said. "This delay allows us to prepare for a time when the uncertainties of the pandemic have passed and we can safely enjoy a fair fight on the water that draws top-notch competitors from all corners of North America."
Racing continues today with the race committee aiming to complete three races.