John Burnham and Peter Rugg open gap in IOD Worlds
John Burnham and Peter Rugg consolidated their lead in the standings on day two of the 2021 International One Design World Championship in the Great Sound yesterday.
The defending champions posted a 1-4 record on the day to stretch their advantage at the top of the pecking order from two to eight points after four races in the ten-race series.
Burnham and Rugg, of the Fisher’s Island fleet, coped reasonably well in a game of snakes of ladders caused by light and extremely unstable wind that swung the compass as much as 30 degrees, resulting in five course changes, a lengthy delay between races and abandonment to the start of the second race.
The pair started the day on the front foot after pipping rival Tom Fremont-Smith, of North East Harbour I, in an intense tacking duel on the final beat to the windward finish line in the opening race.
Fremont-Smith appeared to be in control on starboard.
However, Burnham and Rugg benefited from a shift on the left side coming in on port, which gave them just enough momentum to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
“We stayed close with Tom and just tried to keep a little bit of separation so if there’s a good wind shift for us maybe we gain,” Burnham told The Royal Gazette. “Right at the end we got some wind and he didn’t.”
The two boats swapped the lead multiple times in what was essentially a match race between them at the front of the pack.
“We passed them twice going downwind,” Fremont-Smith said. “We led at the bottom mark and I thought I had them pinned. But then he sailed from underneath us, which is hard to do.”
Urban Ristorp, of Sweden 1, finished third to round off the top three in the opening race.
Leif Skorge, of Norway, won the second race, with the right side of the course again the favoured side as the shifty breezes continued to take their toll on the fleet.
Fremont-Smith posted a second straight second while Ronny Friberg, of Sweden 2, finished third.
Leaders Burnham and Rugg got on the wrong side of a big shift on the right side of the racetrack coming off the start line and had to settle for fourth, their worst score to date.
“The guys that went right right off the start just got launched,” Burnham said.
“We had a good start but we were going the wrong way and couldn’t quite get over there.
“We were happy with what happened at the end with the fourth because in a regatta this tough that’s a keeper.”
Fremont-Smith and his team-mates made the biggest gain in the standings, jumping five places from seventh to second.
“We hit a right hand shift both races and had a good day out there,” he said. “We’re very pleased but it’s a lot of regatta left.”
As for the trying conditions, the American added: “It’s always tricky out there and pre-race manoeuvres are key.
“We had a lot of time prior to races to get out there see what the wind was doing and just when you thought there it was going to be a lefty, the righty came in so it was very shifty.”
Among the those that struggled in the unstable breeze was Bermuda’s Patrick Cooper, who posted a 6-9 record on the day to slip from second to sixth in the standings.
“We kept playing the left or getting pushed out to the left and the right was where all the big gains were,” Cooper said.
Racing continues today.