Day 1 of the Elevstrom /Zellerbach regatta at the St Francis saw the formula fleet waiting ashore as the dinghies made their way around the double windward leeward course in the light breeze. Finally at 1 pm with the breeze up to 10-15k and most of the fleet on their 10.0's in expectation of the building breeze, race 1 started with Xavier Felet taking the lead after the first tack. I managed to keep in tow until we got too far to the right and into the flood. I noticed Eric had tacked back early and was working the shore where the flood tide was less brutal. I tacked but Xavier was quick to follow and soon overtook me with just a bit better speed. As it happen, we both got the advantage over Eric as his port tack approach to the windward mark left him just shy of the mark and he had to double tack. Xavier took a commanding lead and never looked back despite some pressure and local tactics from me.
Race 2 saw similar conditions with Xavier in front and me just behind leading the rest of the pack. Off the breeze, we both overstood the bottom mark and let the fleet catch up. This time I didnt let the pressure off and waited for Xavier to make any mistake so that I could capitalize on it. On the final downwind run, it looked like Xavier was overstanding the bottom mark again so this time, I gybed for the finish with my line just barely making the finish boat. I stayed out of the harness, digging deep and pumping the sail to go as deep as I could and managed to get the bullet!
That's more like it!
Race 3 saw the breeze up to 18-22k with building chop. I made my approach to the starting line making sure I had speed but this time pulled the trigger a few seconds early and was OSC. I quickly gybed around and restarted on port tack committing myself right side while the rest of the fleet- except for Soheil made the way to the shore. I rounded just behind the pack with the Xavier, Soheil, Al. Tom and Chris all getting the jump downwind. Slowly over the next 3 legs I was able to pick all but 2 of them off with some better tactics around the course. Downwind, I picked up 1 board by calling a better layline. Upwind, I got another by heading the right side with more pressure and hiking hard and gaining on the boards to leeward. Finally at the windward mark, I was able to play my cards just right and squeeze off Eric with a fast rounding as he tacked at the mark while my port tack approach got me out of there quickly. With 1 last leg to go, I knew I had better speed and was catching up with Al but didn't quite have enough time to move into 2nd.
So it stands after 3 races, Xavier sits in front with 4 points, myself in 3nd with 6 points and Eric closely behind with 10.
Sundays breeze looks lighter and hopefully a chance to mix it up again.
Thanks to Eric Simpson for the photos- check out his gallery @ pressure-drop.us