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Tom Fremont-Smith gives IOD Worlds leaders something to think about

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Bermuda’s Patrick Cooper (10) battles it out at the front of the fleet with eventual winner Ronny Friberg, of Sweden, in yesterday’s first race at the International One Design World Championship in the Great Sound (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Sweden’s Ronny Friberg (2) and Phil Kennedy (16) and Nick Schoeder (20), of the United States, battle for position heading upwind at the 2021 International One Design World Championship in the Great Sound yesterday (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
John Burnham and Peter Rugg, of Fisher’s Island fleet, still top the leaderboard after six races at the 2021 International One Design World Championship (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

The battle at the top of the leaderboard intensified on day three of the International One Design World Championship in the Great Sound yesterday.

Tom Fremont-Smith posted a 3-1 record, the best of the day, to narrow the gap on leaders and defending champions John Burnham and Peter Rugg from eight to three points with four races to go.

“It was a good day but again you got to take it one race at a time,” Fremont-Smith, of the North East Harbour I fleet, told The Royal Gazette.

“We are just six races in and we got four more, so there’s a lot of movement that can still happen.”

The American helmsman praised his crew Peter Ill, Rob Van Alen, Alison Gingerich and Will Welles for a job well done.

“My crew absolutely got me around the course today,” he added. “Those guys were the MVPs.”

Fremont-Smith and crew made up considerable ground to place third in the first race.

“We made some mistakes early in the first race,” he added. “We were pretty deep in ninth and we were able to claw back and salvage a third.”

Peter McCausland, of Nantucket fleet, and Ronny Friberg, of Sweden II, swapped the lead in the first race before the latter surged ahead for good rounding the bottom right leeward gate.

Bermuda’s Patrick Cooper pushed Friberg hard the rest of the way but ultimately had to settle for second.

The second race also saw multiple lead changes between McCausland, Cooper, Friberg and Fremont-Smith before the latter surged ahead the end of the second beat and then kept the chasing pack behind in his wake the rest of the way.

“The second beat of the second race is what won the race, and that was all my crew,” Fremont-Smith said.

Cooper was in second heading up the third beat to the windward finish but lost momentum having to duck away from Burnham and Urban Ristorp, of Sweden I, who had right of way on starboard.

Burnham and Rugg, of Fisher’s Island fleet, took full advantage as they crossed in second behind Fremont-Smith while Ristorp pipped Cooper right at the line for third.

“We were in second place all the way around to the last weather leg and we lost two boats on the last weather leg,” Cooper said.

“We went out right and Tom Fremont-Smith banged the left and caught a really great shift out there and crossed in front of everybody.

“Burnham and Ristorp came in the mix and we were watching Fremont-Smith when we should’ve been watching them.”

As for his second place showing in the first race, Cooper said: “We absolutely lucked out in the first race to come back and get a second out of it.

“We had a terrible start and actually got pushed into a really good shift. A great left shift and then it switched and then we got a really good right shift.

“The boat was going really well. The guys had it dialled in and I can’t thank my crew enough.”

Cooper, who is competing with crew Martin Siese, Andrew Butterworth and Bill McNiven, jumped three places in the overall standings from sixth to third.

“We want to be in the top three but it’s going to come down to sailing well because nothing is going to be giving to you,” he said.

Burnham and Rugg remain in pole position in the overall standings but have their work cut out with the charging Fremont-Smith in hot pursuit.

“The regatta is absolutely wide open,” Burnham said. “There is no margin for error and everybody is sailing better as the week goes on.”

Racing continues today.

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Published September 16, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated September 15, 2021 at 11:13 pm)

Tom Fremont-Smith gives IOD Worlds leaders something to think about

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