Saturday’s calcup saw some great racing off the Berkeley pier with Xavier Ferlet joining the SF fleet again for 5 races in 15-20k. The big breeze and fog that the city front saw never made its way down the Bay as Berkeley experienced sunny skies in a relative mild breeze. I held off on taking the 10.7 with the big forecast and was relatively well matched with the rest of the fleet on our 10.0m rigs.
I got a feel for the course and tested the line finding the boat end favored in what would become a drag race from the start. Those that started further down the line never really got a chance to recover with out the benefit of some extraordinary speed- which Xavier seemed to have. Sylvester, on the other hand, showed some brilliant moments upwind holding his own and even climbing with the new 9.0m north warp.
It’s good to know your own strengths and weaknesses but even better to know your opponents. Part of racing is trying to maximize your own strengths but also taking advantage of your opponent’s weakness.
After 5 races, it was becoming apparent that Xavier had plenty of strengths and not too many weaknesses. He lead at almost every mark, taking 5 bullets in the process. His speed and angle were just a touch better than mine so all I could do try to make my starts perfect, roundings as efficient as possible and of course not make any mistakes of my own for the rest of the fleet to take advantage of.
Sure enough, the pressure was on with Eric and Sylvester showing some great moments but never getting closer than 3rd. I held onto 2nd each race- almost getting the last one from Xavier as we crossed the finish line overlapped.
With a windward leeward course and mandatory upwind gate on the 2nd upwind and a clearly favored left side of the course, there wasn’t too many options for tactics. In situations like this, you need to take advantage of anything you can get. Eric and I had a few close situations were it all came down to who could tack fastest and get going again on the new tack. Other times, especially when there’s traffic you can set up a pick if you can think 2 or 3 steps ahead.
A few kites were racing with us on Saturday and Chip showed some great potential maintaining his position upwind in the fleet of boards and even getting ahead of me in race 3. It’s great to see the 2 fleets mixing it up together.
Even better to see is all the juniors racing this year with Marion, Saba, and the Lundquist brothers all getting more experience under their belts.
For all of Saturdays races, I used the 10.0 2010 north warp and kashy 70 cm xs fin