Wind keeps most in port

Md. sailors' luck no better

Cronin's crew, Hall lose ground

Danish pair's car kills pedestrian

Sailing

Athens 2004

August 17, 2004|By Candus Thomson | Candus Thomson,SUN STAFF

ATHENS - It was quiet yesterday at the Olympic Sailing Center. Too quiet.

With weather postponing all but two of the races, there were just 41 boats on the water rather than the full complement of 133.

The Meltemi - shifting, gusting winds of 10 knots to 25 knots - set up shop in the Saronic Gulf for a second day, turning sailboats into knuckleballs floating here and there. The only sound along the waterfront was of flags snapping in the wind and waves slapping idle hulls.

Race officials only used the course closest to shore that has been designated for the Yngling and Finn classes. Races in the Europe, Laser, 49er and 470 classes were tentatively pushed back to today.

Meanwhile, two members of the Danish sailing team were involved in a fatal accident Sunday night when their car struck a tour guide from Jamaica as he crossed a busy six-lane street near the sailing venue.

Niklas Holm and Claus Olesen, who sail in the Star class, were questioned and released. Holm, who spent the night at a police station, was released by a court after being charged with manslaughter and speeding.

The two sailors are scheduled to begin competition on Saturday, but a team spokesman said he did not know if they would.

Maryland sailors fell further out of medal contention in the unfamiliar conditions.

The wind and waves hurt the U.S. Yngling team right at the start of the first race when skipper Carol Cronin was forced to decide whether to foul one competitor or T-bone another.

"The wind shifted and we got squeezed out with nowhere to go. I chose fouling," said Cronin, a Maryland native. "We had to tack back and do a 720 [-degree penalty turn]."

After clearing the line, she was a minute behind and reached the first mark in last place. Attempts by Cronin, Liz Filter (Stevensville) and Nancy Haberland (Annapolis) to move up were unsuccessful. The highest position they could muster was 15th.

They finished the race ahead of last-place Paula Lewin of Bermuda but 4 minutes, 48 seconds behind race winner Kristin Wagner of Germany.

Although weary from the constant battering, Cronin's crew regrouped in the second race and finished 10th, but slipped two positions in the corrected standings to tie for 11th overall.

"This is the most breeze we've sailed in, ever, so it's a learning process," Cronin said. "Conditions should improve later in the week - lighter air and flatter water. ... We're going to be better."

In the first Finn race, Christensen Hoegh of Denmark started stong and led the entire race, finishing 41 seconds ahead of Spain's Rafael Trujillo. Despite capsizing once, Guillaume Florent of France finished third.

Kevin Hall of Bowie struggled early in the race and was near the back of the 25-boat fleet. He managed to finish 16th, 4:46 behind the winner.

Hall never got untracked in the second race and finished 14th. He is in 14th place overall with five races to go.

Today is the first of two rest days for the Finn and Ygnling teams. Racing resumes tomorrow, with the second rest day Friday.

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