Swiss sailing team leads Globaltech Formula 18 after two days
Long Beach, CA, United States (4E Sports) – After two days of intense competition, Billy Besson of Switzerland has taken the lead in the Globaltech Formula 18 World Championship, besting 118 other boats from 13 countries.
Besson, together with crew Jeremie Laguarrigue, garnered a string of 3-6-1-1-4-(7) for 15 points, one point ahead of France’s Olivier Backes and crew Matthieu Vandame.
“Long Beach is perfect for racing,” Besson said. “We like everything. When you’re first you want to stay in first”.
“We were trying to be as conservative as we could, staying in the middle as much as is possible on the trapezoid course. Primarily, this is windier than where we sail in Florida,” said Taylor Reiss, the highest-ranking American racer in the event after six of 15 races.
“But we’re not used to the waves. We sail in a bay back home,” said Reiss’crew Matthew Whitehead, referring to their U.S. Sailing Youth Worlds victory Long Beach recently.
The racers have struggled through winds with speed going up to 13 knots from the southwest with gusts of up to 15 knots, inflicting injuries to several racers.
John Bauldry of Michigan, whose boat Hot Pink was wrecked after crashing with rival Steve Rosenberg. Bauldry’s son Jacob was being checked for trauma to his nose and the back of his head.
Kelly Thompson, female crew for Canada’s Benoit Sonrel, left the race course for urgent care with a possible dislocated kneecap.
Now that the qualifying round is over, the fleet will be divided evenly into Gold and Silver groups for the last three days through Saturday in the first F18 Worlds ever contested in the USA. The schedule calls for three races each day, starting at noon, conditions permitting.
Meanwhile, Oman remains in the regatta but with a substitute skipper for Musab Al Hadi, whose right hand was severely cut in a collision early in Race 2 after he had won the first race Tuesday.