Friday, August 6, 2004

2004 Friday night- Aug 6

Things were looking better tonight as I was finally starting to get in the groove upwind. Once again, I forgot my racing watch so I was counting down in my head and miscalculated the start a few times!

I rigged a 10.0 with a new r13 68 cm fin. This seems to be able to hold me better off the line where before I just had to get my own lane.

First race, I decided to start low on the line for speed and broke out in front of the pack. There was an individual recall flag up and I was sure it was me but I found out after the race it wasn't! I got to the layline first and tacked over just behind Bill Weir. Downwind I was catching up to him but didn't get there in time as he rounded a in front of me at the leeward mark and I finished in 2nd place.

2nd race- the wind was starting to pick up some and was a solid 18-20k. I decided to start down low again, but this time, I blew it with my countdown in my head…or else the RC was off by a few seconds! Anyways, I didn't get the jump like I did before and struggled off the line as the fleet got a lift above me. I knew this would be my throw out right away but I continued on in the middle of the pack. Racing is still pretty tight here as most of the guys are fast but slower on their transitions and calling the laylines. Finish 10th

Race 3- back in the hunt with a clean start near "B" with Bill Weir just above me. I was able to hold him off as he usually just sails over me with speed but with this new fin, I had much better angle. Again, it was me in 2nd trailing Bill around the course and finishing in 2nd! I had some good gybes after practicing all week and never really struggled at all in this race!

Race 4- Another close race with the wind picking up above 20k. I started on near the pack again, knowing I would be able to hold a lane in close quarters. I got off smoothly with David just on my tail for 3rd and Bill in front of me for 1st. We rounded the top mark in that order and all caught a nice puff towards the beach. Bill gybed first with David and I just on his tail. We sailed course "c" with another 2 important gybes in front of the club. No room for mistakes. I kept the pace up and finished in 2nd again.
Race 5- Final race of the night with David and I close for points going into 2nd! The wind really came up this last race and I moved my boom down a bit to get more control. I got off the line smooth and rounded the top mark in 3rd but had a big group right behind me. I made my first gybe near the beach but really blew the 2nd one as I carved slow and lost Jean and Eric. At the leeward mark, there was a sailboat right in our path. Jean and Eric gybed early and were going seep into the mark, I went around the outside of the boat and came in with speed. Just at the rounding, Jean fell a few feet from the mark and I had a split second decision to thread the needle and go low. I decided to go for it and just missed Jean in the water by a few feet. David, who was just behind me, took the low road with speed and got a good jump on me for the last. He tacked early which I thought was a mistake as he wouldn't make the line and Eric and I continued towards the sea wall. David got a nice lift and made the pin end of the line just a few feet in front of me to tie me in points for the night . Unfortunately for me broke the tiebreaker as he had one bullet tonight. Again the lesson is..every point counts!

Friday, July 30, 2004

2004 US Nationals- SF

Tuesday Day 1 - started out slow this morning while the wind was still building but by the end of the 4th race I was feeling in form. I made several small mistakes that set me back but at the finish of Day 1, I am sitting in 15th. My goal is top 10 so I've got a few more guys to knock off before it's all over.
Race 1- I got out early to see that the right side of the course was favored but seemed to forget about it when I started at the pin end and headed off on starboard. I was the most leeward boat and got off and footed to the left side but the best thing to do was to tack midway up the beat and head back towards the mark. There was defiantly more pressure on the right so it paid off to do one tack and start on port. Jean did exactly this and seemed to beat me by just a few seconds in both races I met him. We are doing a qualification series where the 80 formula boards in the fleet are split up in 4 groups and race each other 3 times before the top of the fleet breaks off to the gold group and the bottom half, the silver fleet.
Downwind, I continued towards the beach and did one gybe to the leeward mark. Back upwind, it was kind of a parade towards the right side but as I found myself in the middle of the fleet and had a bit more speed so I was footing through the fleet and going for speed. Overall finish 8.
Race 2- Since I figured the right side was favored, I decided to try to get to the right side early by starting on port and get there as fast as I could…well me and the other 10 guys that started on port. I got taken down by the guy to windward of me who dropped his rig right in front of me. It was playing catch up from there and I ended up placing 10th well behind by usual pace.
Race 3 - Better start on starboard. Off the line clean and upwind well, holding my lane when it got windy. I was feeling a little underpowered in the light stuff especially with the new fin I put in that was geared more towards higher winds. At the leeward mark, I came together for the rounding with Chenda and Andreas who wounded inside and outside of me respectively. I was able to squeeze out from the middle and get ahead of them both for the upwind finish to finish again in 8th.
Race 4- The best start yet… off the line with speed and clear air. I tacked over immediately 30 seconds after the start and was in good position at the top mark in the top 6. Downwind I kept my position and worked my way up to the top mark again with everybody heading to the right side. It was here that we began to split as Jean got a nice lift from behind me and was able to fetch the windward mark and me having to double tack. Just as I began to round, and head off, I sheeted out and let my boom hit the mark- sending me flying over the front of the board. I had some decent downwind speed but where I caught up was in the final leg where I passed Chris Radkowski for another 8th place.
Overall, consistent, but still making a few mistakes that set me back. At least 3 more days of course racing. Tomorrows forecast looks for the same!

Day 2 Race 1- Not as much advantage to the right side as yesterday but I found myself being one of the first guys to tack over to get to the right side after starting on starboard. I put myself in decent position in the top 8 at the windward mark and managed to catch a few sailors on the next downwind and upwind legs. It's a matter of persistence and you take every inch you can get, Usually at this level, you have to wait for the guy in front of you to make a mistake. I was really pushing hard on the downwind, being the first to gybe at the layline and pumping hard as I got closer to the mark, rounding a head of a few close competitors. It was a lot of grinding upwind as I fount my way to the right side again and managed to keep my position of 6th to the finish.
Race 2- last qualifying race. I got another decent start ½ way down the line and fought to the left side of the course. Again, I was quick to tack and duck a few starboard tackers to get over to the left. Top mark I was 8th or 9th with some catching up to do. Downwind , I was going as deep as possible but a little slower as to avoid running out of room on starboard tack as we sailed towards the stfyc. At the leeward mark, I rounded just behind a group of sailors but fortunately 3 of them tacked giving me a clear lane to the right side. This really paid off as I followed Percy to the corner and caught the 3 guys going left. Bill Weir was hot on my tail downwind, catching up but I managed to hold him off till the finish line where I finished another 6th behind Percy.
Race 3- Gold Fleet! A lot different race here with no slackers and easy middle group. This level up here was tight. A group of 10 of us were packed tight at every mark rounding and little was given up. I did manage to have decent upwind once I got clear air and get better angle to get past Yugi on the last upwind leg. Downwind, I think we were all wound on our 10.0's and happy to hear that there would only be 1 gold fleet race today. I ended up 17th with room to improve. Still looking for a top 10 finish in the gold fleet to keep the points down, At the moment, my biggest competitors are Al, David Wells, and Jean Rathle! Look out!

Day 3
2 races today in windy conditions. I started off with 10.0 and 66 cm techtonics fin and was going well the first race but by the time the second race came, I was down to my 9.0 and 64 cm debocheit r14 fin. There is a lot of action in the gold fleet, some very close sailing just behind the top group of pros. I have been getting off the line a little slower than I wanted to and catching up to the point where I am sailing with the same group of sailors. I usually only get a chance to pass someone if they make a mistake and I can capitalize on in, otherwise, we're all sailing with such similar speeds, that its really hard to pass somebody.
I made some significant gains upwind, the second upwind leg of the first race y really climbing out from the leeward gate. I slowed down to let a group of sailors just in front of me take a wide rounding and then snuck in there, fully ready to climb up. I really gained a lot over the course of the 5 min upwind leg, working hard and hiking out. Overall I finished 16th.
The second race was really wound up and there wasn't much tactical decisions involved except to stay on your board! I was picking people off as they fell in front of me. The game plan for me was to sail as conservative as possible, holding my position around the course. It's a tough race between Al and I as we are tied with points again today and it looks like Friday will be a long distance race and it counts as 2 races. A good opportunity to move up.

Day 4
2 races today- 1 long distance and 1 course race. The long distance race started in the middle of the bay and went upwind for approx 1 mile and then downwind through 2 gates and down to Tresure island and back. I wanted to get a good start so I could get out in front. I started with a lot of speed towards the pin end of the line just above Rob Hartman. My upwind performance hadn't felt so good up to this point so I was just hoping to get out in clear air and not get start grinding off the line right away. I made it to the top mark in decent condition- probably in the top 15 and had a big pack on my tail the entire ride downwind. My downwind board speed felt pretty good as I was not letting anyone pass me. I tried to stay in the flood as much as I could downwind but want exactly using the same strategy back upwind as I failed to cover the boards behind me and the split up the middle and the city front. I would get my upwind board speed and angle were off by 2-3%. Usually over the upwind leg of a course race, I could compensate by this but in a long distance race, I couldn't exactly hide form my biggest weakness. My first mistake upwind was staying out in the middle of the bay where the opposing flood was the strongest. David Wells, who rounded behind me caught up made the first move to the inside as Al and I sailed towards the middle. I was a little pre-occupied with Al as he was my nearest competitor. If he beat me by just one position, it would count as 2 as the long distance race counted twice in the overall score. David slipped ahead of us but put a loose enough cover on us to control us. Meanwhile several other sailors sailed to the inside and also made significant gains. I lost around 5 boards from the bottom leg and worst of all 3 of the slipped in between Al and I as he then gained 6 points on me rather than 2. I don't know if he was aware what he was doing but it worked out to his advantage and it ultimately put him in a position where he could relax a little bit.

We had a hour break in between the long distance race and the next course race so I took the opportunity to relax and gain some composure. I didn't quite relize the wind had picked up so much and when out on my 10.0 again. Once I got to the starting line, the wind was up to a steady 20-25k. I was a bit overpowered but the was one postponement as the wind shifted and they reset the line. Luckily it backed off some but I was well lit the entire race. I managed to get off the line in decent shape as I ducked the entire fleet on port and sailed to the right side with 4 or 5 other sailors. The guys who got off the line clean on starboard came into the mark a bit sooner than the right side but I was near the top group and held my own downwind as other sailors in front of me took themselves out by getting tossed downwind. I tried to sail as conservatively as possible as too hold my position in the fleet. This was the best move as I want making too many gains on the guys in front of me except when the made a mistake. The good thing was I was infront of Al, which put me 5 points behind him at the end of the day.
Day 5
Final day with one course race in the gold fleet. The wind was light and the water flat with a 2-3 knot flood tide coming in. I rigged my 11.0 and deb R12 70 cm fin for the best light wind performance. I went out to the course about 30 min before the star to get an idea of where the wind was as there was still a lot of holes around the course. My initial reaction was the there was more pressure on the left side near the shore. That was also where there was the most opposing current as well. The game plan was to stay in the pressure no matter what. I had probably the worst start of the regatta. I got stuck on the line as the first row took off and left me struggling to get going. I immediately tacked off and got a lane with a big group of boards going to the right side. We were getting knocked the whole time so I knew we were going to the right side. I was deep so I decided to just foot through as much of the traffic as possible. Both Al and I carried it out as do we really overstood the windward mark and would have speed coming down on it in the opposing current. We tacked at the same time but I was able to get a nose out and really bag my sail out and hike out so I made it to the mark in one while Al got some of my bad air and had to foot and double tack to make it. I didn't look back as I was with Jimmy Diaz and Steve Sylvester going downwind. I saw the leaders going around the bottom mark and going back to the inside towards the pressure. Steve and I kept going midway up the beat and tacked over together. There was defiantly more pressure over there but we really had to foot in the flood tide to get to it. Steve tacked early as to get out of the flood and I kept going as Mike Z and Rob Hartman were over there getting a nice lift off the shore on port. This paid off for me as I left Steve behind and was right behind Mike Z. He managed to go pretty deep and make the bottom mark in one fetch but I was forced to gybe around 2x to get around the leeward mark to the last upwind. He tack on what he thought was the layline and I followed but really should have learned my lesson the first upwind as I overstood and it really paid off. As was obvious we both had to double tack to make the finish line as did Diaz just in front of us. If I just would have waited a an extra 10 board lengths I could have made it in one tack and caught them both. Nonetheless it was my best race for a 10th place finish. This was 5 spots in front of Al which tied us overall but he won the tie breaker on better finishes. An important lesson to remember is that every point counts in a long regatta.

Friday, July 23, 2004

2004 Friday July 23rd- SF

5 races tonight in light to medium winds (10-16k) with a ebb tide kicking in towards the end of the evening. I rigged my 11.0 and r12 debocheit m+ fin for the best light wind performance. One thing I notices right away was my upwind performance has gotten better since the nationals last week. I had our local board guru Mike Z put in a carbon shim in my fin box to ensure a better fit. This on top of some good upwind hiking was good enough to get me second behind Rob Hartman.
Race 1- started out near the 'B' and got off the line clean, rounding in the top 4 and immediately gybed to get out into the wind line. I sat there for a while waiting for the wind to fill and immediately started pumping to get up on a plane. I was able to sneak around a few people but Bill ended up staying in front of me to finish in 2nd.
Race 2- Much better off the line towards 'A' where there was more wind. I got off the line clean with clear air and immediately shot out in front of Rob where I was the first to call the layline. I tacked and Rob did as well a few board lengths below me but with the ebb he made it around first and it was staying in 2nd from there to the finish.
Race 3-I tried the same approach of starting further down the line just to get off with some speed and clear air. It seems in the light stuff this is the most important thing!
I was kind of guessing about the time as I forgot my watch but so I was a few seconds off the actual mark. Rob, and Al made it to the top mark before me and kept their position to the finish. I had to battle off the rest of the fleet to the finish where we had some tight racing. Jean was just in front of me on the last reach to the finish line and blew up 100m from the finish line letting Bill and I pass him. Thanks again Jean!
Race 4- Not quite the advantage on further down the line than before as a nice puff came through 30 sec before the start giving the guys on the inside a good lift before I got any of it! Anyways I knew this would be my throw out as I was already deep and not making good calls on the laylines giving up a few positions here and there. Overall 7th
Race 5- Last race of the night with the competition tight. I knew it would be tight with Bill and I so I had to give it everything I had. We were pretty tight going into the last mark and Bill tacked off to get to better air and came back just in front of me towards the finish line, plus he had the starboard advantage coming into the finsh. I had to slow down and duck him but since port was a better angle going across the line, I got him by just a few feet and tied on the overall for the night. Since I had better scores than he did, I won the tie breaker for 2nd.
Some things I learned tonight: clear air and speed in light air are very importantin the light to medium wind. Also coming in to the finish line on starboard does have its advantages but you cross the line almost parallel to the line to it so if you do it, its better to overstand and come in close to 'A' and immediately shoot the line.

Friday, April 9, 2004

2004 Friday April 9- SF

Breeze had been dying from the mid afternoon but still strong at 15-20k with some gust higher in mid 20's. 18 boards on start line for first race of season. I rigged 11.0 with most on same or 10.0. First start was a general recall with most of the fleet over early. Next start I opted for mid line start and got off smoothly with a lane and clear air. I was able to keep my lane and a few boards and to dive below me as I had better angle. I tacked on layline just behind Seth but at windward mark there was big hole and 30-degree shift. Seth and I fell off plane and had to tack back to make the mark and most of the fleet coming in behind us did the same thing, as it was a lumpy mess. Steve Sylvester over-stood and came by with speed and completely avoided the whole mess and went on to win the race. I struggled to get around the windward mark and find some wind to escape but at that time I was already deep in 7th. I kept this position to the end just behind Jean.
Next race breeze was up again and fog coming in strong. I opted for mid line start as most of the fleet was crowded at mark B. Unfortunately I miscalculated the ebb and pulled the trigger a few seconds too early and was called OCS. I ducked back down to clear myself and just ended up going for speed to the right corner. There was a big hole again at the top mark as most boards came off a plane and had a double tack. I got stuck again but managed to escape with a group of boards with C-Rad just ahead of me. He had a wide rounding at the leeward mark and I took advantage of it by sneaking in there and getting my nose up and climbing on him. We tacked at the same time and I was able to beat him out on the finish line…another deep finish in 8th but a decent comeback. In the top of the fleet was Seth, Steve, Mike Percy, and Bill Wier.
The 3rd race, my hands were beginning to numb up and I couldn't feel my fingertips. The fog was coming on strong and calling the lay-lines became a whole adventure in itself. I got a clean start with a clear lane and I avoided making the same mistake at the top mark again as I sailed well past the layline and came down with speed as lot of guys who tacked early got stuck again. I gybed immediately after the windward mark to get back out into the breeze. Jason Voss, Bill Wier and myself all caught the gust at the same time and rode it down to the middle. Bill was just in front of me and I think both Jason and I were waiting for him to gybe, as we couldn't see the leeward mark. I opted to go a few board lengths further as I still didn't see the mark. It was a little too far and I ended up coming in reaching to the bottom mark. Jason was stay in front of me to the finish and I ended up 3rd.
The RC said the next race would be the final of the day as things were getting pretty fluky and the fleet was spreading out. Seth, Steve, Bill and I all rounded the top mark and managed to escape from the rest of the fleet. At the leeward mark, Steve had moment where it looked like he was going to go in and I tried to slip in to windward of him. I got in there as Bill was just in front of us heading toward the city front. Bill tacked and had to duck us as he was on port. Steve and I tacked at the same time but he got going just a second or so before me to leeward and held on to get second place behind Seth. I kept my lane and was able to squeeze Bill out as he lost some ground ducking us.
That put me in 4th place for the night behind Seth, Steve and Bill. A few minor mistakes pushed me back in the first 2 races and some close racing made it exciting in the last 2 races. I'm glad I had the 11.0 as it saved me a few times in the light stuff but Steve S still proved it's possible to win on a 10.0 in those conditions. The North team faired quite well with 4 out of the top 5 spots.

Monday, March 1, 2004

2004 midwinters- Florida

Friday day 1 midwinters: 4 races today light winds building to 15-18 by race 4.

87 boards on line for formula fleet. I sailed 11.7 all 4 races with c3f 70 fin. The course was a double outer loop with a gybe mark just before the finish line to make things interesting. New fin felt really good but I was lacking and angle in the light stuff. By the last race I had much better angle perhaps because of the breeze perhaps because of more time sailing the fin.

Race 1: decent start off the line and continued to left side. A lot of guys started on port going immediately to right side. There was a fairly short upwind beat so first beat was tremdously important. Right side more favored with more wind and only one tack to deal with. Downwind I kept speed and continued to the to layline but once I rounded leeward mark I continued to right side and mistakenly sailed through starting line so I got a dsq. Otherwise a decent race just important to read sailing instructions.Race 2: Decent start on port and got over to the right side early. Good downwind but it got kind of light at the leeward mark and I really had trouble getting up on a plane after rounding. I lost quite a few boards here as the puff from behind came and several boards came planning past me. Upwind I made sure not to cross the line again and immediately tacked off the left side. It was still kind of light over on the left side and I got stuck in a few holes. Downwind I felt speed was there but gybed to early to the leeward mark and had to double gybe back in the light air, slow! Finish 28
Race 3: Better port line start and to the right early and looking really good but I tacked too early before the layline and thought I had enough room to come up but as a few more boards came and tacked to windward of me I wasn't able to make it and had to tack 2 more times to make it around. I made up some on the downwind and sailed smart upwind by squeezing around the pin end of the line and continuing to the right side on one tack. Finish 19.
Race 4: Breeze was up 18 by last race of the day. I stayed on 11.7 as it's got a lot of range and is faster on the downwind. A good start on starboard near the pin end with Seth a few board lengths below me. I was able to keep my lane and tacked over and rounded the top mark in the top 20. The top of the fleet is really competitive and board speed is amazingly similar! You just have to make fewer mistakes than the guy in front of you. I felt pretty fast in the breeze and held my position to the end finishing just 2 behind Seth as he snuck in front of Mike Z on the last leg.

Day 2 midwinters: the good wind continued with a 10-15 knot breeze from the southwest - a little shiftier than Friday but there wasn't as much tactics involved in today's racing as most. This was because we had a really short upwind leg and picking one side to go to was a 50/50 gamble. The breeze was really off and on with some major lulls and big puffs coming down the course.

I opted to go to the right side on both races partly because it was one less tack and I was hoping to get a land shift off the shore. Starting on port in a big fleet is somewhat dangerous - especially when there a big group of sailors coming both on port and starboard down the line.

I ended up ducking most of the starboard tackers and crossed the line at the mid to boat end in both races. In the second race a big lull came through 30 seconds before the start and my approach was really slowed down. I wasn't able to get off the line and got stuck in all the bad air and chop that was left in a second row start. Fortunately most of the fleet was in the same position as me and only a few of the top guys got off the line clean. I struggled to get my board moving to and finally got going to the right side. I tacked on what was the layline but as I got closer to the windward mark another big hole was present and I had to double tack to get around the top mark…really frustrating when your deep and things get worse!

I got around the mark and was able to gain a few boards downwind as I was now in the middle of the fleet and my speed was a little better than most of the other boards around me. I played the downwind layline a little cautious as I didn't wasn't to stall out going to deep to make it but there was a nice puff that allowed a few boards that gybed earlier to sneak in there and round just in front of me. Upwind I made sure not to make the mistake of going through the closed line and just cleared the pin and made it to the right side. It was pretty much a parade from there and I ended up in 28th.

There was a lot of waiting around between races as the race committee wasn't too organized but I think there were just waiting for the wind to fill in- which it never really seemed to do.The first race ended up being really similar to the second one but I was able to get off the line clean and bang the right corner. A few minor mistakes set me back a few places but overall my board speed and pointing was well. I finished 22nd a few back from where I was yesterday but felt good about the results.There was an attempt to do a 3rd race after 3 or 4 general recalls and most of the fleet took off continuing to race unaware that there was a general recall. I had the best start of the regatta and was one of guys who continued to race. I went around the course in the top 10 and was really excited when I finished 9th but my bubble was burst when I came in and Seth told me that the race didn't count. The race organized really did a poor job of notifying the racers of the general recall and should have properly informed us at the windward mark. This kept them form starting another race and everybody waited on the water for at least another hour. The wind eventually died and the called it a day.

Sunday day 3 midwinters:
The winds really took a while to fill in today and the RC waited to send our fleet out after all the other fleets had already had one or 2 races. It was still really gusty in the off shore breeze and the shifts were 20-30 degrees…making it an interesting day of racing.

We had a couple of general recalls as most of the fleet was pretty anxious to get off the line. I had my 11.7 and debocheit r12 fin. I really didn't have a chance to test out this fin before on the new board but the fin was my light air/flat water fin that worked last year. Unfortunately it didn't quite have the angle I needed and I lost a few boards on the upwind races today because of it. Otherwise it was a really good day of racing for me with a 14th and 15th place finishes.

Both races I started on port and headed to the right side of the course. I definantly had some luck near the top mark as I was just able to get around with the help of a little puff and a lot of pumping. Again the board speed felt good on the reaches and downwind but I lost 1 or 2 board I was a little cautious on the downwind lay-lines. In the first race I was in the top 10 most of the race until the last 100 meter leg where we all ran into a big hole and fell off a plane. A few board snuck in from behind with the breeze but I was able to pass a few as a well as I got up planning sooner than them. In this case it paid to be light!The second race was equally full of holes but I really had some good luck avoiding them. I played my lay-lines conservatively sailing past what I thought was going to take me to the mark and far enough to come planning in with some speed on top of the sailors who took in too tight. This let me get out in front with the top group and stay there. From then on it was really a parade around the course and I finished in 15th…much better than yesterdays mediocre results.Overall I finished 7th in the men's fleet and 20th overall which qualified me for the formula world championship! This was my real goal for the regatta and I made it.