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Ultra 30 - Portsmouth Grand Prix Day 1

by Andrew Preece 3 Jul 1999 20:25 BST

TEAM DBS MASTERS THE BLAST

DEFENDING CHAMPION RUSSELL PETERS WINS TWO HIGH WIND RACES TO LEAD PORTSMOUTH GRAND PRIX WITH TWO RACES SAILED

Russell Peters underlined his dominance of the Ultra 30 class with two impressive survival-conditions wins on the first day of racing of Round 2 of the Hoya Vision Care Ultra 30 Grand Prix. Every one of the six boats except DBS and Star Alliance capsized at some point as 25-30 knot winds blew through The Solent whipping up an awkward sea that tested the skills of even the most experienced Ultra 30 sailors. Peters had suffered damage to his mast early in the day and was worried during both races that his mast might fall down - his eight crew, all suspended from the mast on trapezes, were jerked three feet vertically by the trapeze wires as the mast was waving around upwind.

But in the end none of the other teams could exert sufficient pressure on the defending champion to seriously threaten Peters' lead though the crew of United Airlines bravely hoisted the only gennaker of the day to blast into the lead of Race 2 only to lose two places trying to get it back down again. Meanwhile Rob Greenhalgh, who had led Race 2 in Team David McLean for two laps, was overhauled by a faster DBS. 'We capsized just before the start of the first race and spent the whole race upside down. I tried to do a two-sail gybe which probably wasn't a particularly good idea in 30 knots,' said Greenhalgh. 'And we tore the spinnaker, broke most of the battens in the mainsail and filled the hull of the boat up with water which wasn't too quick when we finally got back into action.'

Peters was happy to have been able to overhaul by David McLean by sheer speed without hoisting a kite and though the wind was stronger than he would have been comfortable with, the crew of DBS were planning to try to set. 'If we'd been second going round the top mark for the last time we'd have set a kite but it was marginal conditions and I wasn't that keen about doing it,' said Peters. Racing resumes tommorrow off Southsea seafront with four races in forecast lighter winds which should favour the chasing pack. 'We suspect we're good at both ends of the range and not quite so good in the middle. That's why we wanted to do three races today,' said Russell Peters who was the only one of the six skippers to vote against postponing Race 3 until Sunday.

Results after Day One (Two Races):

Boat              Helm             R1 pts R2 pts pos pts
--------------------------------------------------------
DBS               Russel Peters     1  6   1  6    1  12
STAR ALLIANCE     Kevin Sproul      2  5   3  4    2   9
TEAM DAVID McLEAN Rob Greenhalgh   DNS 1   2  5    3=  6
UNITED AIRLINES   Mark Rushall      4  3   4  3    3=  6
TEAM HOYA         Eddie Warden Owen 3  4   6  1    5   5
TEAM GUL          Jim Hunt         DNS 1   5  2    6   3

Ultra 30 Website: www.ultra30.com

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