Sunday, June 28, 2009

Learning to foot for speed in the flood

Sunday's course racing provided a building breeze and sunny skies with 15-20k by the 12:00 first start off the St. Francis Y.C.
We ran 3 triple windward leeward courses for plenty of upwind downwind racing in a building flood tide.
Racing was tight between 2nd and 5th- changing back and forth with CRad, Wells and myself all trading spots in most of the races.Thanks to Shawn Davis for the photos- more at his website.

In front, it was Al who took 3 bullets with amazing speed and no mistakes all day.
I learned so much about my VMG in the course of the day, that my upwind style changed completely by the last race. By running the sail a bit flatter than normal and much longer harness lines, I was able to really go from a pinching set up to a footing set up- which worked so much better in the flood tide and flat water.
Ben was dominating with this set up but he was left hung to dry at the windward mark- which was set just inside the windline and left the heavyweights watching the light guys pump away.
I struggled in my first 2 starts to get a lane off the line on starboard and maintain my position going into the seawall. After the first tack, the positions were pretty much set, baring any major mistake. Al and CRad both had great speed and found themselves in the top 2 positions. Wells- who is fresh on the F4 fin program- really stepped up the pace and was there at every mark rounding.
Photo credit: Shawn Davis
Race 1 started with a few guys on port tack and the rest on starboard. I was 1-2 seconds late pulling the trigger and fought for a lane. I ducked down taking some sterns to try to get to the wall first but was in 5th by the time we got the the top mark- set in a big hole. The fleet sat parked- exiting in pretty much the same order they came in.
A quick downwind and upwind saw the parade to the middle and we ended up in the same scenario- parked at the top mark. This time I saw Wells- escape by sailing deep around the mark and getting the a puff that wasn't even available 20 feet away.
Another quick down and up and I found myself in the same position, taking the rounding wide and keeping in the wind and catching up from 5th to 3rd on thet rounding.
Race 2 saw the wind build to 18-20k. A few more port tackers on the line this time with Ben and Al pushing the top mark again. I got screwed at the top mark in what can only be described as a hole from hell as the top 4 guys sailed away and I never got back in the game.

photo credit: Sergei Zavarin
Race 3 was run at 1:30 with the gust coming in a bit stronger.
Most of the fleet was well powered on the 10's.
I decided port was the way to go and got off the line well and had to match Ben's speed low angle in order not to get rolled. The difference was amazing as both our VMGs proved very fast upwind. At the top mark, CRad, Wells, Ben and I all came in hot just behind Al.
The lightweights escaped and got back to the breeze. 2 more upwind and down winds saw me putting everything I had to stay in the game with Wells and CRad and finally got the best of them on the last upwind by footing for speed with better VMG as the big puffs came down the course.
I managed to pass CRad on the last downwind and get off a better gybe and get going sooner to finish the last race in 2nd.
With Al clearly ahead taking all 3 bullets, it was a 1 point difference between 2nd and 4th with me getting the short end of the stick in 4th. Sometimes, that's how racing goes.
Overall, still happy with performance and new technique in the flood tide.
A huge round of thanks to the St. Francis Y.C for providing the resources and facilities to run 2 great days of racing on the city front. The race management is world class!

Almost forgot about Friday night racing at the club a few days ago.

Adam got some good video.

No comments: