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Patrick Cooper makes steady start in IOD Worlds

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The racing rounding the windward mark during yesterday’s opening day of the 2021 IOD World Championships in the Great Sound (Photograph by Colin Thompson).
Racing fleet head downwind during yesterday’s opening day of the 2021 IOD World Championship in the Great Sound. (Photograph by Colin Thompson)
Racing fleet rounding the windward mark during yesterday’s opening day of the IOD World Championship in the Great Sound (Photograph by Colin Thompson).
Racing fleet swap boats between races during the opening day of the IOD World Championships in the Great Sound yesterday (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

Bermuda’s Patrick Cooper made a promising start in his bid for a maiden International One Design World Championship title in the Great Sound yesterday.

The multiple national IOD champion posted a first and fourth in the opening two races of the ten-race series.

That left him second in the overall standings, two points adrift of leaders and defending champions John Burnham and Peter Rugg, of the Fishers Island fleet.

“We came out really well and got a first in the first race, which was fantastic,” Cooper, who is competing with crew Martin Siese, Bill McNiven and Andrew Butterworth, told The Royal Gazette.

“Second race we were over at the start and had to go back around and pick our way back through the fleet and ended up with a fourth.”

The local team coped reasonably well connecting the dots around the racetrack in the light and shifty conditions.

“It was tricky out there; the wind was all over the place,” Cooper added.

“The shifts were huge. They were swinging 40-50 degrees plus there were pressure differences and you needed to get both.

“The crew was fantastic. Things are looking good and looking forward to the next few days of racing.”

Cooper and crew got their tactics spot-on in the first race, which they won convincingly to seize early momentum.

Their gamble to stay in the middle of the course after the fleet split on the first beat paid off as they grasped the lead for good three quarters up the windward leg.

“We started maybe quarter way down the line from the committee boat and sort of tacked out, did a bit of port and then came back on starboard and sort of played the middle and it worked out for us,” Cooper said.

However, Cooper’s team suffered a massive setback at the start of the second race having been judged to have crossed the start line early.

It was an error that all but cost them the early lead in the standings.

“I didn’t think we were over early,” Cooper added. “I knew we had a boat beneath us and we didn’t have room to get down. We tried as much as we could to get down and actually when the gun went off we were ducking. I thought we were fine but the race committee said we were over.”

After finishing second behind Cooper in the first race, Burnham and Rugg went one better with victory in the second to top the standings and get their title defence off to a solid start.

“Patrick had our number in the first race and we were ahead in the second nicely and almost threw it away,” Burnham said.

The champions led the fleet around the first weather mark but were passed by rival Nick Schoeder heading up the second beat.

However, Schoeder’s lead was short-lived as Burnham quickly gybed into the fresher breeze on his rival’s port side early on the run to the bottom mark and gradually pulled away for good.

“We were able to get on Nick’s air and that was the move,” Burnham added. “That got the race back for us after kind of throwing it away on the second beat.”

Burnham and Rugg are gunning for a fourth IOD world title and first in Bermuda.

“It’s fantastic to be back in Bermuda,” Burnham said. “It’s just great to have the whole class back together and to have the chance to have a regatta.

“We would like to win but it’s really hard to win this championship. We will just keep doing our best and hopefully the chips will fall in the right direction.

“It’s a great way to start but it could be changeable out there. We saw a lot of big shifts and we were fortunate.”

Charlton Rugg, the son of co-helmsman Peter, and Jennifer Parsons and son Oliver are the remaining members of the defending champion’s team.

Meanwhile, North East Harbor Maine skipper Schoeder posted a fifth and second to end the day third overall, two points behind Bermuda’s Cooper.

Racing continues today.

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Published September 13, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated September 13, 2021 at 7:56 am)

Patrick Cooper makes steady start in IOD Worlds

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