Saturday, January 19, 2008

Day 2 Bluewater regatta

This will go down as the NOT REGATTA- or how not to race a regatta.
We were plagued by light winds again today- really light winds...variable 4-10knots and weeds- plenty of weeds. I could go on about all the things that went wrong but at the end of the day you can only blame yourself as everyone else had to deal with the same conditions.
The wind never really materialized and the 24 board fleet was marginally planning most of the races and by the 4th race, barely 1/2 the fleet finished.
It really takes a good race committee to know when there are "suitable conditions" adequate for formula racing. Our class rules are quite vague about what is suitable and leaves it to the discretion of the race director. Most race directors come from a sailing background and dont realize the formula class needs planning conditions to have fair racing. Today the last race started with the majority of the fleet sitting on the line not planning. In cases like that its best to abandon the race all together and wait for wind. If it never materializes then fine- we dont race, as its not fair and a tue test in the formula class to be shlogging around the course.
I truly believe its the racers job to educate the race director and we are all guilty of that.
One more thing- be nice to the race committee and mark boats. They are all volunteers. Thank them and even buy them a beer at the end of the day. They are making your fun!
As for some details on racing.
Race 1- I made myself a great hole to leeward on the starting line with 10 seconds to go but then couldn't accelerate and get planning and poof it was gone and so was the fleet as I waddled on the line struggling to get going.
In light air, getting clear air is king.
After that it was just catch up and backing down to get the weeds off my fin.
The leaders stayed to the left side in the breeze but somehow I managed to find myself on the right side wonderinng how I got there. When in doubt- keep an eye on the fleet and dont sperate too much.
Race 2- again struggling to get off the line. I couldnt quite find the groove up wind with the 2007 F2 board and was never on pace. Off the breeze though it flew and I was able to catch up some and finsih around 7th- 4 or 5 places where i should have been.
Race 3- After a quick lunch, it was evident port tack was working well off the line but with such a short starting line it was risky to start on port. Nonetheless I went for it getting a great start just below Micah but the abandoned the race 5 seconds after starting as most of the fleet was over early. After a quick restart I was back in the game rounding in 4th but lost the battle with Fernando and ended up 5th. He had the 2008 F2 board which seemed to have better angle upwind.

Finally after a bit of a break we stated race 4 in 6 knots of breeze. By the middle of the first leg I stopped planning and never regained my composure and sailed in frustrated knowing that I wouldnt be able to learn much on this race.
More photos I promise as they become available....
Sunday looks windy and a chance at redemption.

1 comment:

Vincent. said...

Hi, Steve.

So I'll make a couple of comments on light air races....

First, Micah and Jimmy ended-up winning in the light air that day, as well as next day in higher winds. They planed consistently throughout all four races, even though they are heavyweights.

Planing in very light air is a skillset that is somewhat different from going fast in medium and high wind. It certainly shows more of a "step" difference because at the edge some are planing, some are not. But I do not think that is is any less noble of a skill than high wind control.

For instance for race 4, at least the first 5 racers planed around without issues (i.e. more than 90% of the time planing). I was one of them, and to achieve that I trimmed my sail for light air 5 minutes before the start. I also had a bit of luck as I was trialing a board that day that was good in light air. But I also pumped my hart out, stayed alert about board trim, gusts, dodged weeds, and jumped 10-15 times to clear the fin without stopping. I ended-up peeling the skin of my hands and finishing the race with my limbs shaking of exhaustion.

So, the question is: is this a representative skillset and was it fair to reward the efforts by counting this race?

I worked hard in that race and that was my best finish. I detected the puffs and stayed on the windier side of the course. All first 5 finishers stayed on that side.
Looking back at it after a couple of day, I still I feel I earned it. But of course, as they say, it is IMHO!

(Note I have been in other races where I slogged around the whole day while one single guy planed the whole course. The races counted and I though it was fair. That person was the fastest that day!).

Anyways, it was nice to see you Steve and overall it was a nice event. I hope to sail with you again in the Midwinters, with consistent winds and warm temperatures!

Best regards.
Vincent.