Monday, September 14, 2009

Formula worlds day 1

The first day of the worlds didn't start off quite as I expected but
then again things never do!
At the mornings skippers meeting, the 2 fleet qualifying round was switched to a 80 board single fleet start. This puts a huge emphasis on starts as recovering in a 80 board fleet is much harder as the mid fleet traffic is tough to get around.

We started off the day with a 1-1/2 hour postponent untill the onshore breeze filled in. By the first start, the wind was in the low to mid teens but 1 general recall pulled the fleet back again for another try. Most were on their 12.0s as the breeze built more. I managed a decent start near the pin in relatively clear air and made my first tack just shy of the port layline when I heard a BIG CARBON CRACK and my sail cave in. Immediately I knew my boom had broken- not anywhere where I had made the previous 3 reinforcements on the wide custom tail but just a few inches back from where it fits into the back of the boom arm.
I made the slow painful sail back in (cursing myself for shotty workmanship and something totally preventable) but once ashore, tried not to think about it anymore and focus my energy on the next race. I put the new back end on the 12.3 but realized I'd be better off with the 11.0 the next race in the building breeze. Sure enough by race 2 the wind was up to 18-20k and a decent onshore chop. 1 more general recall saved me but the next start I was well below a few guys and eating dirty air the first beat up. I tacked early to find a lane and was fighting my way up the middle of the fleet. Downwind I gained a few boards by sailing deeper and faster but lost them again upwind as I rounded just behind a big pack and couldn't manage to keep a lane upwind and had to tack earlier than I wanted. By the top mark things were really heating up with some decent swell. Just as I tacked on the layline my sail bagged bagged out. Not another breakdown I thought but this time it was only the back pully that ripped out from the back of my boom. I managed to sail the final downwind with a very baggy sail but not loose anyone.
I guess it could have been worse as I managed to finish mid fleet in 41st.
Race 3 saw some major clouds moving in from the land which killed the onshore breeze but not before we managed the start. I actually headed out early as I wanted to be fully prepared and in control this time around. I tested the line with BRA 999 and got some line sights. By 30 secs to the start I saw a huge mid line sag and just went for it starting 2-3 board lengths above the guys around me and managed a great start. 1 minute later, the RC abandoned the race as the wind
almost shut down completely.
As I put the day behind me, I realize you"re only as good as you can recover. So here's to the next 5 days and making some better luck for myself!


Jaime said...

Hey Steve

That is one tough way to start a worlds. I really appreciate your attitude! I know my own horrible weakness at dealing with bad breaks is very common and you diametrically oppossed attitude is very rare. Good luck and keep us posted.


G-42 said...

Good luck Steve - that's an awfully big fleet to push through a short start line.