The wind finally came up for the 3rd day of racing at the Alex Cavillica Blue water regatta run from the Shake a Leg sailing center in Coconut Grove, Florida. With 4 races already complete, it was a close call at the top of the fleet with Micah Buzianis and Jimmi Diaz battling it out for the top spots. Not far behind and with plenty of practice coming from the Worlds last month was Mathias BRA 5 with several races challenging for the top spot. Not far behind was locals Fernando Martinez and Ron Kern. Still stumbling after 6 weeks off the water I was finally able to find my groove today with a few races in the top 4 and 5.
More importantly this was the first chance to see the new gear for 2008. I got the chance to sail the new north warps and what a difference they had. The 11.8 and 11.0 felt lighter in the hands but really pulled well- especially at the low end. After todays racing in the high teens it was evident the 11.0 had much more top end as well in the upper end of the wind range.
Also present was some of the new 2008 formula boards. Ron and Steve were riding the new L8 from Mikes Lab and showed it really had much more bottom end than last years board and remains a threat in the breeze. You wont see alot of pro riders on this board as Mike builds them custom but all according to ISAF rules. Up next was the F2 FX6 Formula board. It seems an improvement form last seasons double breasted beast but still has many things going on with air pipes and adjustable cutouts. Vincent had the all the Exocet board which looks incredibly like the starboard 162 but very light. This could be an another impressive all around board but probably wont see alot of alot of riders on this board- especially here in the US.
As for the racing today, we had 4 more races in the high teens which saw Jimmi coming out on top in 3 of the races but was an incredibly mixed bag in terms of back and forth action on the course. With an offshore breeze, the wind was very gusty and shifty- especially near the top mark- set just off the shore line. The course again was filled with weeds making it an exercise of luck and skill to try to get around the course.
I had some of my best starts today - getting off the line on port tack and heading to the right side of the course. I felt a bit limited by the 2007 F2 board and now know why a lot of team riders choose other boards for last season. A very technical board indeed. With the new shipment of 08 boards alow to arrive only Fernando and Jimmi had the new boards to race with.
Thr racing was much tighter today with planning conditions around the whole course except for a few holes near the top mark. The best strategy was to avoid the weeds at all cost but easier said than done. I had to back down most legs to remove the weeds from my fin. Overall it paid to go right both upwind and downwind as thats where the pressure was.
At the end of the day, it was Jimmi coming out on top tied with Micah who finished 2nd on the tiebreaker. Further down the fleet I placed 6th- a bit of the game but nonetheless happy to be racing again with such a great group of sailors.
If I learned anything this regatta it was to improve on the small things every day.
For me that was my starts. By the 3rd day I was nailing them. Not much but an improvement form day 2 when I was getting crushed off the line in the light air.
Its back to SF for a month of work and training for me before heading back to Florida again for the midwinters and then back to Amsterdam again.