Barring the unforeseen happening today or tomorrow, Ken Read of Portsmouth, R.I., appears to have a lock on the J/24 World Championship.
After four races in the six-race series, Read has finished 1-2-1-6. Oddly enough, his closest competitor at this stage of the regatta, Jim Brady of Annapolis, has finished 2-39-5-2 and stood in fifth place pending protests after yesterday's two races.
"It looks like Brady is the main competitor," Read said. "With a throw-out, he is right there. But that is no great surprise."
Skippers in this regatta are allowed to eliminate their worst race. If Brady were to eliminate his 39th-place finish on Monday, he would move into second with nine points.
The most that current second- and third-place skippers -- Dave Curtis of Marblehead, Mass., and Steve Schmidt of Portsmouth, R.I. -- could improve would be to 23 and 19 points, respectively.
But if yesterday's racing was any indication of possible calamities lurking on the Chesapeake Bay race course, the unforeseen could happen.
Larry Klein of San Diego finished second in the first race and then had to withdraw from the second after multiple collisions at a turning mark. John Wright of Pennsylvania had to withdraw from the regatta after being dismasted in the first race, and at some turning marks the action was more like bumper cars than sailboat racing.
"It was a lot breezier than we were expecting," said Read, who estimated winds to be from 8 knots to the mid-teens. "And two long races like that take a lot out of you, both physically and emotionally."
In the second race, Read's boat hit the weather mark and after taking a penalty turn the regatta leader found himself in his worst position of the week. "But then we got back on track to finish sixth," Read said, "and that is still a keeper."
Chris Larson of Annapolis won the second race yesterday, but was saddled with 82 points in yesterday's first race after an early start.