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.

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