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Attrition

posted Jun 16, 2011, 7:31 PM by Ryan Verret   [ updated Jun 18, 2011, 5:47 AM by Steve Piche ]
16 boats lined up on day one... and only 4 finished day two. 

Today more stories emerged about yesterday's carnage, and why some of the sailors were understandably a bit hesitant to head out this morning. We heard about a dislocated shoulder on Luke McAllum, crew for Salva Vida, when his chicken line interfered with what would have otherwise been a perfectly normal capsize. We also learned that Miguel Pumarejo, crew for Yost Auto, suffered from a gash on each leg when an inconsiderate daggerboard slowed his forward somersault from a pitchpoling Nacra 20. Together these cuts required 26 stitches and several hours in the hospital.

So it was with much trepidation that the teams with working boats listened to the forecast at the skipper's meeting, which called for even higher winds than on day one. The only consolation was a slightly less confused sea state. After some deliberation, only Ruff Rider, Sailboat Shop, Monkey Business, Quiksilver, TCDYC, and Yo Baby! lined up. These teams all got away cleanly through the tumbling surf, but Sailboat Shop quickly returned, skipper Mike Rohrer aggravating a pinched nerve in his back. Was it worth avoiding a DNS?

Yo Baby! hung on with the F18s as long as they could, but mechanical issues caused them to return to the beach just before the Port Aransas pass. This left 4 F18s to duke it out for the remainder of the day. Race favorite Ruff Rider with skipper John Tomko and crew Ian Billings pressed hard from the start, jib reaching along at 18 knots and slowly pulling away from the other boats. Conditions gradually built beyond 20, with puffs exceeding 25 knots. In these hairy conditions, teams Quiksilver, TCDYC, and Monkey Business fought hard for second place, or a first should Ruff Rider make a single mistake.

An ill-timed pitchpole on Quiksilver broke their spinnaker pole and a few battens, causing them to drop back, but even worse, preventing them from launching their kite with the other boats. Monkey Business popped their chute first, and this proved to be the deciding move in the race for second as they rolled TCDYC and quickly cut their distance to the finish, driving down to the beach. GT300 founder and Monkey Business skipper Steve Piche later grinned from ear to ear when recounting this experience. The winds moderated to below 15 knots for the first time in the race as the boats approached the finish: Ruff Rider first, Monkey Business second, TCDYC third, and Quicksilver fourth... out of sixteen!

Conditions for tomorrow are more of the same, 15-18 knots, with gusts to 25. Fortunately, the sailors have only 60 miles to cover. This has a number of racers who sat out the second leg itching to get back in it. Zhik 1 is still working on their boards and hull, and give themselves better than a 50% chance of making it to the leg three start. Team Chums has also done a bit of fiberglass work, and plan to be back in full force. Zhik 2, after taking a break today, will also be back to provide some hot F20 carbon racing action! Skipper Michael Yost is searching the Gulf coast bars for replacement crew, so he should have the big, yellow Yost Auto I20 back on the beach for day three. And last but not least, Mike Rohrer on Team Sailboat Shop has been popping pain pills, and plans to give it another go tomorrow. 

We'll have SPOT tracking, live coverage, and a whole lot more at GT300.com, so tune in!


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