Saturday, 15 September 2007

Victory At Sea

Okay, so if yesterday I was feeling incredibly rusty, today we were firing on nearly all cylinders. What a difference a day makes.

The first race was started in light air. All eyes were on a cold front that was sure to wipe away the rain and bring loads of breeze. We did a good job of collecting all the intel we could on when and what would happen, and went with it. The first leg, we got off to a really solid start. You can't win the race at the start, but you sure can lose it. We had a sail issue that cost us a bunch while we were in very good shape, but got through it to make it into the break. Down the run, we played it about as well as anyone, gaining ground on the boats behind and tightening things up with the boats ahead. At the leeward mark, we chose to go the right way and made some good gains. About halfway up the beat, the cold front hit. Windspeed went from 9 to 20mph in about one minute. It was NUTS, but we were ready for it. The run down to the finish was crazy, with the wind topping out at over 40mph. It was all on to bring the boat over the line without wiping out, but we did it and finished a very creditable 6th.

After a couple of hours waiting for the wind to die down, we lined up for race 5. Minutes before the start, we had a fairly bad issue with the jib, and had to start a few critical moments late. I positioned us on the right side, but couldn't commit to it as much as I would have liked because of our late start, and we got ourselves back into the game. Down the first run, we did well not to wipe out, and stayed in good shape. The final beat was good for us, as we got within sniffing distance of the lead. A few more boatlengths to the good here and there would have gotten us into the elite group, but we couldn't quite get all the way there. We sailed a safe run in 30mph winds to get across the line safely in 11th.

Our team is suffering a bit from some "we don't sail enough" issues, but today was a world apart from yesterday's fiasco. Now we are playing the game and can sail with the best when we are there. The talent level in the fllet is quite high and it's gratifying to learn that at least some of the magic is still there despite a long layoff. We had a really solid day amongst a lot of craziness and it feels really good.

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