Matt Struble Holds Early Lead at A Class North Americans

Published on September 12th, 2016

Newport, RI (September 12, 2016) – After several hours of postponement on the opening day of the 2016 Zhik A Class North American Championship, competitors headed out to the race course on Narragansett Bay, north of the Newport Bridge and Gould Island, just south of the marina at New England Boatworks (NEB).

After a long downwind sail out, sailors were once again were postponed, waiting for steady breeze. Patience seemed to be the name of the game for both the competitors and the Race Committee. The unseasonably brisk air made the wait seem even longer.

The first race was finally underway close to five o’clock with a pleasant breeze of 9-14 knots and bay chop. The race leaders played the left side of the course, the side closest to the shore and it was current North American Champion, Matt Struble (San Diego), who lead around the track, followed closely by former North American Champion and local favorite, Lars Guck. Ken Marshack and Woody Cope (Tampa) were the top finishers in the Classic Division (non-foiling) placing an impressive 9th and 10th overall.

It seemed doubtful to many that the Race Committee would run a second race at such a late hour, but the breeze was up and Race Committee fired off a second race. The fleet for Race 2 atrophied considerably due to a number of breakdowns, increasing wind speed and decreasing temperature as the sun lowered in the sky.

Again it was Struble and Guck who arrived first and second at the windward mark and maintained their positions through to the finish. Bora Gulari (Detroit), fresh from the Nacra 17 event at the Rio Olympics, seemed to find his stride and maintained third position throughout the race, followed closely by Canadian Larry Woods (Burlington, ON).

As the temperature dropped, wind differentials across the course became more apparent, noticeably affecting speeds on the downwind legs. Matt Struble, however, increased his pace, extending what had been a narrow gap to a minute and half lead over Guck. Guck also maintained a 30 second lead over the next two finishers – Gulari and Woods. Ken Marshack lead the Classic Division finishing 12th place overall.

Only traces of the pink and purple sunset remained as the first sailors arrived back in Newport harbor close to 7:30 pm. Racing continues to Thursday, September 15.

Top 5 Overall Day 1 (provisional)

1. Matt Struble – 1, 1 (2 pts.)
2. Lars Guck – 2, 2 ( 4 pts.)
3. Bora Gulari – 5, 3 ( 8 pts.)
4. Bailey White – 4, 6 (10 pts.)
5. Bob Hodges – 3, 8 (11 pts.)

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