19 August 2009

Worlds Day 3, NAs race day 1: Shotness

Shot. Busted. Beat. Done.

Two races scheduled for today starting at noon.

Results here , live & replay tracking here.

First race was 2 hours long, started in 12-16kts and ended up at 20-25, maybe more. We were totally busted. Finished the race in a bit of survival mode, looked at each other, had a snack, and evaluated the situation. I suggested to Gareth that we at least sail down and start the next race and see how we go. He looked at me like I was crazy, so we went in. Which was in and of itself a 45 minute beat in what seemed to us to be building wind for 2/3 of the time. I felt bad for skipping the second race but there were already 15 or more boats on the beach by the time we arrived. In fact, out of maybe 60 starters in the fleet, only 25 either started or finished the second race. There were several broken or bent masts, and probably a few broken spirits.

We were 49th. No capsizes, no swearing, no injuries, and nothing serious to be fixed on the boat. Other than too many ropes that have to be managed. Plus we got a hot shower and a beer when we got back while others were slogging away on the race course.

Here's how it went down:

* Our biggest problem was fitness and gear shifting when the wind built. We tuned up before the race in about 12-14 knots or so, and although the start was lousy, managed to get a lane and get going. The plan was to go right as that's the pro-forma thing to do here, but although we felt reasonably fast (esp. given our inexperience), we wound up on the outside of a left shift and rounded not very well. As the wind built I never changed the rake, which is the main gear change for more wind. As a result we were super over powered, beating ourselves up & getting tired, and not going fast. Plus, I think we did not have the board up enough. As far as numbers & tactics go, yeah, we weren't doing that for about half of the race.

* Second was hoists. There is no getting around the fact that I do not pull up the spinnaker very fast. This is slow on mark roundings. You don't want to be wallowing around going downwind trying to hoist the kite, it's much better to have the crew on the wire and try to pass some boats. Realized sailing out (super beautiful scenic sail past Alcatraz, by the way) that if you hit the spin halyard cleat with your foot the wrong way, it uncleats. So I need to observe foot placement discipline.

* Second beat we picked up a nice left shift and passed maybe 10-15 boats, but had a really hard time hoisting and staying high enough on the reach to the jibe mark. Short answer: lift up the board! When wire-running downwind, want board down to keep crew on wire as you try to slide low, but trying to hit the reach mark were just totally overpowered. And the main hits the spin sheets so can't go out.

* Jibing, I am not rotating the spinnaker enough, plus I need to do something with the sheet so it doesn't wrap on the end of the boom. Very slow & dangerous...

* Third beat, is when I started envisioning the cold beer & hot shower back on land. This is when we were just done by being overpowered.

* Apparently there was a run after that. My memory is not so clear... Very interesting criss-crossing other boats both down wind and upwind while reaching along. That would be a spectacular collision.

* Slog to the finish, trying to hike but not doing a very good job of it. Not sure why I didn't feel the need to depower -- some complex about not wanting to put my head in the boat and adjust it. Not like I can see anything else anyway going upwind, so what's the problem?

* Goals for tonight: after taco bar and beer at the club, we are sacked out. Gareth is already asleep.

* Goals for tomorrow: less time messing around with boat, get out there, get numbers for the beats, stay 'in-tune', pull up spinnaker quickly, rotate well on jibes, and have a good start. How hard could it be?

Apparently this was an average day. At least we are getting what we came for!

No comments: