28 August 2009

"One More Night"

Today is the second last day of the worlds, and we are flying out tomorrow night at midnight. One race today, later start at 1.30pm due to reduced wind, and one race tomorrow.

Yesterday was a light day, with racing not starring until 1.30pm and boats having to be towed out to the starting area-- it's a long tow!

The first race was one of our best, and the second race was one of our worst, full of unforced errors by the skipper (that would be me). Due to the light wind and the fact that our dacron jib has been repaired with a piece of webbing on the leech, we took our new, never-before-used, mylar jib. Very sexy.

Race 1 started in about 10 knots with a 1.5 mile beat. I don't recall what our plan was, but we ended up blowing the start and had to tack and clear to the right, taking a lot of sterns. We must have been sailing pretty well as we ended up lifting above the rabbit. I think we had much improved boatspeed against the fleet, and we were working very hard to keep moving fast without giving up too much leeward distance. Certainly the new jib helped... We rounded in a big middle pack, managed to successfully set the kite & execute our maneuvers, and even could figure out the lifted tack. Short of calling the favored end wrong on the reaching finish & giving up one boat, we had a great race and finished 40th. Imagine if we had a front row start... w.r.t. the finish, we finish through a gate to leeward and then reach on port to the finish. We followed the fleet up to the windward end of the line, but it would have been faster to reach straight to the middle -- less distance & faster speed too.

Gareth and I worked well as a team that race, no doubt the fact that we were not physically at our limits really helped. Gareth was really great at giving info so we could cut through the fleet on port at the start.

For the second race, I managed to blow that start as well. Still setting up too early but not pulling the trigger until it's too late & other boats are giving us bad air. Mike Martin setup to leeward of us, reminds me of the old adage, if you don't know who the marshmallow is, it's you... For those who don't know, the marshmallow is the bad/slow sailor you like to start next to who makes it easy to sail past/over/under/faster than into clear air.

The plan for this race was go right for reduced flood current. In retrospect this was wrong, the play was go for velocity which by now was finally starting to increase, and the pattern is that it gets strongest between Alcatraz & Treasure Island first... that is the left. So we rounded in the bottom third, with a not very great run... In fact there was a huge hole at the leeward gate & I managed to do a very bad mark rounding, forced outside, and giving up 10 boats or so. We did work left here, out of necessity, but that meant we went up the port layline through the boats reaching down. Awesome. Managed to touch a boat at the jibe, so that was a 720. More boats passed. I think we may have salvaged something on the beat, again coming up through the port layline with boats bearing down on us with spinnakers up -- awesome again. This time I miced on the offset mark while setting up controls for the down wind (ram off, trap twings off, vang off, board up a touch), and we touched the offset mark. So... 360, see you other boats later. All the time the breeze was slowly building, and I was getting a little bit tired & making bad decisions. For the last beat, it had filled right in to 15-18, and although I had dropped the rig back a bit on the run in anticipation, it wasn't quite enough. Gareth made the call for us to drop back more, which was a great idea, as we were now zooming along, and this helped us catch some tail-end boats from the right due to good speed.

Unfortunately, with the tide I mis-called the layline for the finish, had to throw in an extra two tacks. Twice. The second time I tacked right in front of a ducking port-tacker and fouled him. This was as he was trying to duck us & cross another starboard tacker, who was fouled. We crossed the line, jibed for the 720, capsized, finished the 720, and refinished, losing about another 6 boats, Total cluster. Total circles that race: 5. Awesome. And, the third boat insisted on protesting the second boat (the one I fouled), so they had to protest us, which meant hanging around at the club until 8pm and missing dinner with our hosts. The protest was thrown out because we did the 720s. Feeling bad about my shitty sailing, I gave the guys I fouled some rum. They are young guys who will know what to do with it.

My one main lesson from that race is to not try to make aggressive shortcuts when the downsides are so big with a large fleet. Instead, focus on getting a good lane for yourself, and setting up well ahead of time for roundings & finished. Net result, 79 or something stupid like that.

1 comment:

Craig said...

OK Doug - enough suspense!!! Give us the last day's update please!!!