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posted Jun 15, 2011, 8:26 PM by Ryan Verret   [ updated Jun 15, 2011, 9:14 PM ]

That about sums up today's first leg. The race started in no less than 16 knots, and built throughout the day. Before the boats left the beach, the wind claimed its first victim, Team Dallas, blowing their traveler right off the track, sending bearings flying into the sand. While many argue that the traveler should be bolted to the center of the beam in these boats, those people clearly haven't ever reached up the Texas coast, where the traveler is your only hope of avoiding a pitchpole or capsize. 

Not long after the start, Team Zhik 1 on their Nacra F20 Carbon had to return to the beach with a blown spinnaker pole, which they jury rigged before heading back out. Today must not have been a lucky day for F20C poles, because the other F20C in the race, Team Zhik 2, also finished the day never having run their chute, folding their pole shortly after the start. Team Zhik 1's luck did not improve as they either struck something in the water which caused their daggerboard and hull to spilt (see above pic.), or the board exploded under pressure to the same end. At any rate, they had to turn around and head upwind, flying the damaged hull so that it would not take on too much water. Second casualty of the day, and most boats hadn't yet reached the halfway point. 

Many capsizes, pitchpoles, and turtles later, teams started arriving at the beach. The official results aren't yet posted, but this is the order of arrival on the beach:

1. Ruff Rider
2. Sailboat Shop
3. Zhik 3
4. Monkey Business
5. Zhik 2
6. Team Chums
7. Team Quiksilver
8. Yost
9. Cat Alley
11. Yo Baby!
12. Jack Flash
13. Salva Vida
14. Poison Girl

While the second place F18, Team Sailboat Shop, did not arrive until 23 minutes after Team Ruff Rider, we learned that they were owed more than 20 minutes of redress as they stood by while Team Chums struggled to right their boat earlier in the day. We also learned that Chris Holt, crew on Sailboat Shop, didn't get out on the wire once the entire day, instead choosing a more conservative approach, which obviously payed dividends in not only VMG, but also by not capsizing once the entire day. 

All the stories haven't yet made their way out, but a few other notables from the race:
  • Ruff Rider had nothing but praise for their C2. It obviously served them well, first to arrive at the beach, but five-time GT300 winner John Tomko also probably had some role in this feat. 
  • Zhik 3 was the first Inter 20 and the third boat to the beach, but day 1 took its toll, and they are retiring.
  • Monkey Business skipper Steve Piche still hasn't learned to avoid the boom after all these years, and he showed up on the beach with blood streaming down his face.
  • Zhik 2 lost their pole, as mentioned above, but they have a second one and plan to be back tomorrow, good as new. 
  • Team Quiksilver capsized 5 times, including two on their approach to the finish, costing them well over 20 minutes.
  • Team Jack Flash somehow lost a daggerboard, and is out. 
  • TCDYC lost their pole, along with their SPOT tracker!
  • Team Cat Alley, on their massive ARC22 with its 40 foot mast, pitchpoled going dead downwind when hit by a gust. The boat immediately turtled, breaking their spin pole, all the battens, and the rear crossbeam! Their race is over.
  • Team Dallas is repairing their traveler, and plans to start tomorrow good as new.
  • Zhik 1 is out for the GT, but hopes to have their board and hull repaired in time for the Dash on Saturday. Good luck with the fiberglass!
With several boats retiring, tomorrow's starting line will be much shorter. The leg 2 forecast is for much of the same, as Corpus Christi plans to deliver the high winds for which it is known. Also, the internet only gets better as you move North up the coast, so the live video streaming of the start should be excellent, and all the SPOT tracking issues have been sorted, so everyone watching on the internet should certainly have a good show. Until then!