Larson weathers nature, wins J-22s

September 18, 1994|By Peter Baker | Peter Baker,Sun Staff Writer

Chris Larson of Annapolis capped the J-22 World Championships with a second-place finish yesterday to take first place in an event beset by poor racing conditions on Thursday and Friday.

After good sailing in preliminary races Tuesday and the first three races of the regatta on Wednesday, the race committee was unable to get off a race on the Chesapeake Bay off Annapolis the next two days.

"You can't do anything about what Mother Nature throws at you in these regattas," said Larson, whose finishes of 1-2-5-2 gave him a total of 9.75 points, five ahead of second-place finisher Peter Meredith of Texas.

Meredith finished yesterday's race a few feet ahead of Larson. Doug Clark, former U.S. Naval Academy sailing coach, finished third overall.

Because of the poor sailing conditions on Thursday and Friday, 18 sailors signed a petition asking the race committee to sail three races yesterday. The race committee declined, however, saying that the instructions for the regatta allowed only for the minimal number of races yesterday if the competition could not be completed by Friday.

"It was a long, slow week for everybody after Wednesday," regatta Chairman Melinda Berge said. "But the judges did the right thing today. They also were right not to race on Thursday and with the time limit call on Friday."

With Larson leading the fleet in the only race attempted Friday, the time limit expired four minutes before Larson crossed the finish line, and the result was not allowed.

"No one wanted to race in conditions that would make it a crap shoot," Berge said. "There were good conditions Tuesday and Wednesday, and today [yesterday] was good racing."

Winds were light, but steady yesterday.

After the preliminaries, the field of more than 75 boats was split into two fleets. Larson won the top-rated gold fleet.

Andrew Donald of Arnold swept the silver fleet by winning all four races. Donald fell into the silver fleet after a premature start in the last qualifying race on Tuesday.

"I have been to regattas all over the world," said ESPN sailing analyst Gary Jobson of Annapolis, who finished eighth in this event. "It is not uncommon to lose some days of racing to flat weather. But no matter how you slice it up, the best boats won this championship."

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