Congressional Cup chairman Brian Donaldson was standing under an umbrella looking like an undertaker as the boats returned late Thursday afternoon.
"I'm tired of this," Donaldson said of the weather, "but I'm happy with the standings. It shows we have some good competition."
That was looking on the bright side of a gloomy day beset by more mechanical problems and capricious winds that permitted only one round of races and left five sailors tied for first with 2 wins and 1 loss each and the other five tied for last at 1-2.
The smiles along the dock were predictable. Australia's Colin Beashel, who lost a protest with Long Beach's Steve Flam Wednesday, stayed in the chase by sailing through a rain squall to his first win. He defeated defending champion Rod Davis of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club by a comfortable 16 seconds.
Dave Dellenbaugh of the Frostbite Yacht Club defeated his former skipper and two-time Congressional winner Dave Perry, while Ireland's Harold Cudmore and New Zealand's Chris Dickson joined Davis, Perry and Dellenbaugh in a first-place tie with decisive wins.
Davis survived protests of both his victories Wednesday but got himself into immediate trouble at the start on Thursday. With clear water, he steered too far below the line and let Beashel jump out to an eight-second lead at the gun, and Beashel managed to hold him off all the way.
The start of the next round, which Beashel was to lead off against Dellenbaugh, was delayed more than an hour when Beashel's crew had to repair a jammed jib halyard block at the top of the mast. Finally, after borrowing line and lead fishing sinkers from the press boat to lead a new halyard down through the mast, they were ready to sail, but by then the 10-15-knot winds were really getting tricky.
The course for the next race was rotated 95 degrees to the west, but after Beashel and Dellenbaugh started it shifted 45 more degrees to the northwest. Dellenbaugh was nearer the lift and rounded the weather mark about a minute ahead of Beashel, with his spinnaker flying--virtually an insurmountable lead--when the committee called it quits for the day at 4:45 p.m.
Dellenbaugh said: "What can you do? We were doing great, but it wasn't a great race for anybody else. Still, we felt like we sailed well."
Beashel: "Lucky for us, unlucky for them."
The abandonment was a blow to Italy's Flavio Scala, who had won his race from Canada's Terry McLaughlin earlier and was leading Dickson comfortably in the match just behind Beashel-Dellenbaugh.
"We did better than yesterday," Scala said, "but it could have been even better."
Dickson was pleased to be in the 2-1 tie. He said earlier that it took "about one day of racing" to recover from the jet lag, and "we felt a lot better today. We haven't led around the first mark yet, so we're happy to be in the hunt."