The 22nd running of the Calema midwinter championship started with some major wind yesterday in Merritt Island, Florida. Competitors arrived for a 9am white flag with 10-15 knots on the course and by the 4th race things really heated up to gust to the mid 20's - quite a change from recent years where racers were glad to see anything over 10 knots.
There are several classes represented at the regatta giving the chance for the seasoned professional to compete against the weekend warrior. What other sport gives you the chance to compete against the likes of Tiger Woods and even get his advise on rigging?
The action started early for the formula fleet with Antione Albeau taking 4 bullets in the first day of racing. Micha Buzianis followed closely behind with Jimmi, Jesper and Gonzo all pushing hard for the top 5. There was a bit of a gap between the pros and the rest of the seasoned amateur fleet but still a good fight going in with lots of intense racing to be found. The Brazilians are always well represented with a fleet of decent sailors- and this year was no different- I constantly found myself surrounded by a pack of south american sailors giving me dirty air.
As for my own race things got better throughout the day with my scores improving from the low 20's down to around 10th or 11th in the last windy race. I found myself still struggling to hold my lane upwind and losing places because of this. I have not been able to dial in a good fin yet this season to keep the upwind pace. Yesterday I tried out a Debocheit R17 soft -- 68 cm fin with 5 degrees of forward rake- a bit of improvement but I think when your racing at the top you need to have equipment that will not under perform your sailing skills. Im going to beg borrow or steal something today to try out a new fin in order to find out the problem in my program. It looks like another windy day for Saturday as the trees are already moving and white caps are on the water. 2 more days of racing and more chances to move up in the fleet.
Daily results can be found at www.calema.com I will try to post some phots and a more detailed race report from my view at the end of today- stay tuned!
Check here for day 2's report