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Conversations within the sport of sailing - Chris Larson
It is often said how sailing is unique as a sport, where the opportunity is readiliy available to compete against the very best in the sport. Occassionally we get the chance to chat with them too.
(April 28, 2009) The 2009 J/24 World Championship, hosted by Annapolis Yacht Club, has 82 entries from eighteen countries, with racing to occur May 4-8. The fleet includes five former J/24 World Champions together with five North American champions; a four-time European champion; two South American and five US Midwinter Champions. Among the past World Champions competing is Chris Larson, whose victory was back in 1996 (Porto Rotundo, Italy). Scuttlebutt checked in with Chris for an update:
How long has it been since you seriously competed in the class?
The last time I competed in a J/24 World Championship was 1998 in San Francisco, CA (finishing third).
Getting back in it... just like riding a bike? Has much changed?
Well, Iíll have to say there has been quite a bit of rust rubbed off over the past week. The J/24 is very ďold schoolĒ by having to sail upwind inside of the genoa all of the time. Itís taken me about 2 or 3 days to remember that trick. Not too much has changed with sailing the boat other than the implementation of a Kevlar genoa which just took effect in March.
What are the normal conditions this time of year for the Chesapeake, and is that what you are anticipating?
The beginning of May is a funny time here in Annapolis. In the past, this week is usually a transition period from early spring to late spring. However, this year has been much cooler than normal. The water temperature is only 58 degrees, even though it has risen 5 degrees in the last 7 days.
Typically we see fewer strong fronts pushing though the Mid-Atlantic region offering predominately lighter winds. Itís a famous saying here, ďIf you donít like the weather, just wait a minute and it will change.Ē I would expect to see at least 3 of the 5 days under 12kts.
Who are the favorites, and who are the sleepers?
You would have to consider any of the past World Champions, Andrea Casale, Mauricio Santa Cruz, Anthony Kotoun as front runners as well Tim Healy and Will Wells. Peter Levesque could be a sleeper due to his performance this past weekend at the Annapolis NOOD (Pete was winning until a ZFP in the last race).
Who are you sailing with for the Worlds?
I have a fantastic team this year. Iím lucky enough to have 6-time J/24 World Champion, Moose McClintock calling tactics, Dave Hughes in the cockpit, Steve Frazier in the middle, and Curtis Florence on the bow. Itíll be a treat to sail with these guys for the next 2 weeks.
Event website: http://www.j24worldchampionship2009.com
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