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Again star of Star Class, Reynolds leads Nautica


Former world champion Star Class sailor Mark Reynolds has shown on the Chesapeake Bay this week why he has been selected to sail for the United States for the fourth time in the Olympics this fall in Sydney, Australia.

After five days of racing, the Californian was at the front of the fleet of 112 racing yachts in the Nautica 2000 Star Class World Championship when lack of wind delayed the final race yesterday.

With an international of array world champions and Olympic medalists against him, Reynolds, world Star Class champion in 1995, has produced the form that clinched him and partner Magnus Liljedahl, from Miami, the Sydney slot against 16 U.S. teams in a San Francisco Bay sail-off last month.

Reynolds won a gold medal in Spain in 1992, a silver medal in South Korea 1988 and was sixth in Savannah in 1996.

The week-long regatta - the first time the Star Class world championship has been held on the Chesapeake Bay since 1951 - will decide the final six national slots for the Sydney Olympics, where Star Class sailors from 17 countries will compete for medals.

In second place yesterday were the Canadian pair of RossMacdonald and Kai Bjorn.

One surprise has been Annapolis resident Gavin Brady, a veteran of big-boat racing who has shown an impressive turn of speed in his 22-foot two-man racer.

Brady was a tactician aboard Chessie Racing, Baltimorean George Collins' entry into the 1997-98 Whitbread Round The World Race, and a strategist with Paul Cayard's AmericaOne campaign for the America's Cup in his native Auckland, New Zealand.

Currently lying third in the world championship here, Brady and Kiwi crewmate Jamie Gale have secured a slot for New Zealand in Sydney, although they have been sailing the Star Class only for three months.

"The hard thing for us was early this week, when we were trying to sail conservatively," he said. "To be assured of an Olympic spot, we just needed to be in the top 20. Now we are seeing just how well we can do. We feel very relaxed."

The Nautica 2000 regatta, which has attracted teams from 28 countries, has been supported by the Baltimore-Washington coalition hoping to become host to the 2012 Olympics.

"It demonstrates that the Baltimore-Washington area can put on a Olympic-caliber event," said Jim Capron, co-chairman of the regatta and one of two U.S. sailing judges selected for Sydney.

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