The 2001 Micronesian Open took place this past week on the beautiful island

of Saipan, off the coast of Guam. Warm weather, gusty winds, and beautiful water

made for some awesome racing conditions to battle it out in the first event

of the season.

A select few of the worlds best came to battle it out for the event including

the 2000 World Champion Kevin Pritchard. Pritchard had just came in from a promotional

tour that took him from Germany to the Island of Margarita finally arriving

the day of the competition just in time for the battle. After an equipment failure

in the first race, the champ was out to make it known that he is ready to defend

his title by winning the next few races.

The race was not a walk in the park for Pritchard as his rivals were breathing

down his neck the entire event. Hot on his heals was fellow Gaastra riders Phil

McGain and brother of Kevin, Matt Pritchard, both putting in solid performances.

Matt Pritchard was just getting back up to speed after a devastating ankle injury

and looked impressive on the water. Jimmy Diaz had surprisingly good speed and

was putting on a good performance as well as the French Champion Antoine Albeau.

The racing was tight and the conditions were challenging. Each race had several

different leaders before the final victor would prevail. In the end Kevin Pritchard

took the title in a narrow victory over McGain, Diaz, Albeau, and Matt Pritchard.

Kevin Pritchard

"I was pretty excited to come out on top. It seems like Phil had a little

more speed than I did, but I just managed to get the roll. It is always hard

after putting so much energy into something like winning last year and then

to go out and compete again is not so easy. I am glad to get this win under

my belt and keep the momentum alive."

Phil McGain

"This was a good event. We had seven races and everyone was up to speed.

I thought that I was going to take it, but being over early in race number 5

took me out of the hunt. Beautiful sailing here nonetheless and will be back

next year!"

Matt Pritchard

"It felt really good to be out on the race course again. It is good

to know that I haven t missed too much speed after being out of action for most

of the season, and now I am keeping up with the Champ. I now know that I am

100 percent confident that I can start winning again."