Saturday, January 17, 2009

North Americans Championships Day 1...or how to avoid the weeds

3 races were run today in light to medium conditions with close to 30 formula racers on the Biscayne Bay in the lee of downtown Miami.
In sunny warm conditions, racers faced a oscillating offshore breeze but more challenging was avoiding the weeds in the water. It was obvious when you got them as your angle would go right out the door.
How long to justify keep going was the question everybody was asking themselves.
There wasn't much chance to change equipment once racing got underway so the decision was to rig for the lulls with the 11.8 North and 72-2xxs kashy fin on the gaastra vapor board. The Maui sails weren't an option as I only had a 11.0 and 10.0 sails.
The first race was run with the RC setting a very short line that was hardly layable on starboard tack. Combine that with a lull just before the start and half the fleet was stuck not planning on the line. I barely escaped the chaos squeezing through the mess of boards but suffered with weeds the whole upwind having to back down several times to clear my fin. By the time I rounded the top mark, I was deep but sailed smart the rest of the race to catch a few boards and finish 6th. Up in front was Gonzolo with a sizable lead but Sherman caught up enough to take the bullet, sailing smart and in the shifts downwind.
For the 2nd race, I decided to start things off right and got off the line at the pin with good speed and angle. Halfway up the first beat, I tacked with Sherman and Gonzo, playing the shifts back to the right side of the course, It looked good as we were getting knocked all the way over and talked, lifted to the mark. I rounded with Diaz hot on my tail but immediately gybed over to stay in the wind. Sherman went down hard hitting something in the water but held on making an equally impressive recovery back onto his board in no time at all!
Jimmi and I crossed tacks again at the bottom of the course but sailed to opposite corners again for the 2nd upwind leg. This time, I had the advantage going to the right side of the course with Sherman and Gonzo again while Diaz tried his chances on the left corner. Sylvester was pushing up there with moments of brilliance but got edged out downwind with only a 11.0 while the rest of us had power in our 12.0's. I held onto 3rd edging out Jimmi by 20 seconds at the finish with Sylvester rounding out the top 5. Gonzo took the gun with Sherman following closely behind.
Finally the 3rd race was run in lighter conditions with more holes around the course and just 1 lap signaled by the RC. I got off the line well again but missed the first shift and was out of phase while the 3 leaders took advantage of the oscillating breeze. In the mix was Kern and Sylvester but I couldn't get past them with just 1 upwind opportunity. It was Diaz taking the bullet on the last race, sailing very smart and taking advantage of every opportunity- redeeming himself with his first win of the day.

Despite some scoring issues at the end of the day, it seems Gonzolo is in first with 1 bullet, Sherman in 2nd with one win under his belt Diaz in 3rd,- winning the final race, Kern in 4th and Bodner in 5th. So it seems after the first day of racing, the South Americans are clearly ahead in the North American Championship
Sundays forecast does not look impressive at all with all reports indicating 5-10k.


James Douglass said...

Any idea what Sherman hit in the water? Hopefully nothing cute and endangered like a sea turtle.

Good luck and hope you get some wind Sunday.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve
You're light wind training in NL is paying off - good racing!