Park leads after first day of Lightning regatta

SAILING

June 04, 1991|By Nancy Noyes | Nancy Noyes,Special to The Sun

Light, shifty winds from the east-northeast combined with a raging ebb current yesterday to make the first day of the 16th biennial Lightning World Championship Regatta especially challenging for the 39 three-person teams assembled at the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis for five to six days of competition.

Michigan sailor Colin Park, a former Lightning North American Champion, leads.

"I thought that with these kinds of conditions we were very fortunate to get in any racing at all," said Regatta chairman Simeon Coxe, as he discussed the first race in an expected series of six that will run through Friday.

In winds that ranged from about 6 knots down to nearly nothing, Ohio sailor Matt Fisher led the pack through most of the race, but fell to ninth when he sailed out to the right side of the course during the final 1.5-mile leg of the day's nine-mile Olympic-course race.

Ecuadorean Juan Santos was second, and Jim Crane of Darien, Conn., was third.

Among those racing at SSA in the classic Sparkman & Stevens-designed 19-foot sloops this year are sailors from the United States, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Finland and Puerto Rico.

A U.S. fleet plays host to the Lightning Worlds every six years, and this year the event has been organized by SSA, Lightning Fleet 329 and the Dixie District of the International Lightning Class Association in Annapolis for the first time in the class' 53-year history.

Lightning World Championship Regatta results -- 1. US 14384, Colin Park; 2. EC 11928, Juan Santos; 3. US 14455, Jim Crane; 4. US 11739, Keith Taboada; 5. US 14285, Robert Ruhlman.

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