The notorious Meltemi wind that howls out of the Athens hills put a little too much air into the sailing regatta yesterday.
So much so that at least 30 boats capsized and the courses looked more like nautical demolition derbies. There also was scattered equipment damage, but no reports of injuries.
"It was full survival," said Europe class sailor Meg Galliard of Pelham, N.Y. "You're just trying to stay in control."
She did. A lot of others didn't.
"They were tough conditions," said 470 skipper Paul Foerster of Rockwall, Tex., a four-time Olympian. "There were a lot of people turning over. We were just happy to finish. It was just totally different than anyone had seen."
Foerster and crew Kevin Burnham of Miami were lucky -- their 15-foot boat swamped, but didn't turn over, as a nasty combination of the offshore wind and a swell made for a surly Saronic Gulf. Foerster and Burnham moved up a spot to second overall with finishes of second and 15th. Both are former silver medalists.
Blowing through the amphitheater of hills around Athens, Meltemi means "air with no route" and it's a confused flow by the time it hits the Saronic Gulf south of the city. The wind shifted 65 degrees in 30 minutes early in the afternoon on the course closest to central Athens, where the Finns and Ynglings sailed.
It also was cruel to American Kevin Hall and New Zealander Dean Barker in the Finn class, where it took three attempts in the shifting wind to get in the first of two races.
Barker, the hard-luck skipper in Team New Zealand's America's Cup loss last year, led around the first two marks in the first race before the Meltemi and the sea breeze collided, canceling each other and leaving the boats bobbing in the chop. That led to the first abandonment, with Hall in third place.
Hall was leading at the first mark after the first restart, but a severe wind shift forced the race committee to abandon it.
"The racing was very exciting, but I would have rather kept the first two races we started today," said Hall, of Bowie, who finished 13th and 17th to drop to 13th overall. Barker moved up to fourth by finishing seventh and 11th.
Alexei Alipov missed just one target in two days, finishing with a perfect final round on a blustery day to win the gold in trap shooting and tie two Olympic records. He shot all 50 targets in qualifying, then made his perfect run in the final, which was even more impressive, given steady winds more than 20 mph and even stiffer gusts.
"The final was difficult," he said. "The other shooters missed some shots due to the wind. But I didn't worry about it."
Italy's Giovanni Pellielo won the silver in trap, finishing three points behind Alipov. Adam Vella of Australia took the bronze with a 145.
Olena Kostevych, from Ukraine, won the 10-meter air pistol, needing a shoot-off to beat Jasna Sekaric of Serbia and Montenegro.
Libby Callahan of Upper Marlboro was 30th. The former D.C. police officer, 52, is the oldest U.S. athlete competing here. Teammate Rebecca Snyder was tied for 16th.
American and Ukrainian archers won the first Olympic competitions to be held in Panathinaiko Stadium since the marble facility hosted the first modern Games in 1896.
Jennifer Nichols defeated Rina Dewi Puspitasari of Indonesia, and Tetyana Berezhna beat Greece's Fotini Vavatsi in the opening matches of the women's tournament.
Bhutan's Tshering Chhoden, seeded 54th, upset No. 11 seed Lin Sang of China.
Venus Williams overpowered Melinda Czink of Hungary, 6-1, 6-2, and Andy Roddick made his Olympic debut with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) victory over Flavio Saretta of Brazil.
Justine Henin-Hardenne beat Barbora Strycova, 6-3, 6-4.
Also making a first Summer Games appearance: Martina Navratilova, 47. She and Lisa Raymond beat Yuliya Beygelzimer and Tetyana Perebiynis of Ukraine, 6-0, 6-2.
Poland stunned Serbia and Montenegro with a 25-21, 25-17, 25-16 victory to start the men's preliminaries.
Another favorite fell when the Netherlands outlasted Russia in three sets. Host Greece beat Tunisia in front of a loud crowd of 8,200 at the 14,000-seat Peace and Friendship Stadium.
Tony Azevedo scored three goals, including the last-second clincher for the United States in an 8-7 victory over Croatia.
The Americans called a timeout with eight seconds left in regulation, then ran down the clock until Azevedo powered in the winner from the left side at the buzzer.
Hungary opened its Olympic title defense with a 6-4 win over Serbia and Montenegro on three unanswered goals in the last quarter.
Lisa Fernandez allowed one hit and the United States dominated Australia, blowing out the two-time bronze medalist, 10-0, in a game called after five innings because the Australians were too far behind.
Earlier, Jennifer Spediacci pitched a shutout into the fifth inning, and Italy hung on to stun China, a medal favorite, 7-5.
Japan completed the second day of the judo competition with a total of three gold medals.
Matato Uchishiba took Japan's third gold medal with a victory in the men's 145 pounds. Yuki Yokosawa failed to make it 4 for 4 with a loss to China's Xian Dongmei in the women's 114-pound division.
Cuba, one of the favorites in the Olympic tournament, defeated Australia, 4-1. Adiel Palma pitched eight shutout innings to pick up the win, giving up just two hits.
Japan's 12-0 rout of Italy was halted after seven innings because of the mercy rule. The Netherlands beat Greece, 11-0.
Britain's Tracey Hallam defeated former world champion and Sydney silver medalist Camilla Martin of Denmark, 11-2, 5-11, 13-10, in the second round.
Timea Nagy of Hungary defended her Olympic epee title, beating France's Laura Flessel-Colovic, 15-10.
American Kamara James lost her opening match to Tatiana Logounova of Russia, 15-11.