Skipper Ken Read of Baltimore-based Chessie Racing took a one-point lead over defending America's Cup winner Russell Coutts after the first day's competition of the inaugural 1D48 Chesapeake Grand Prix yesterday.
Chessie Racing, which had finished second to Coutts in the first two of three races in the Outer Harbor, gained an opportunity to take the lead when Coutts' boat, Numbers, fouled Chessie at the Committee Boat end of the starting line of the third race.
Read, aboard Chessie, retained right of way when he luffed to maintain position. The tactic forced Coutts to narrowly miss Chessie, sustaining a two-point penalty.
Until the foul, Numbers was in first place in the Henri Lloyd Day competition. Coutts and company took advantage of the favored side of the course, on a day with light and shifty winds, to take and hold early leads.
"We sailed well today, though I wish we had Russell's [asymmetrical] spinnaker," said Read, referring to Numbers' superior off-wind performance.
A fleet of six One Design, 48-foot boats were entered on a day with a southeasterly breeze of 7-11 knots, in a race with top-notch sailors with credentials from America's Cup, Olympics and the Whitbread Round the World Race.
Former Baltimore investment banker George Collins, who led the Chesapeake-based Chessie Racing syndicate in last year's Whitbread, heads the Chessie entry.
The races resume today in the Outer Harbor. Awards will be presented at 5 p.m. at the Baltimore Waterfront Festival Sailabration event.
Pub Date: 4/29/99