Saturday, August 28, 2010

Maintaining control in 25-30k

Its no secret- you're only as strong as your weakest link.
Despite having the best equipment this season, its been my body that's been holding me back this summer. Our local fleet has really stepped it up since the North Americans last month and if you don't nail that last tack on the last beat, you can be assured someone will be there capitalizing on your own weakness.
That's exactly what happened Friday in the latest twilight series.
I had to listen to my body and slow down a bit making sure not to overdo anything I might not be able to undo. The doctors advice was to significantly cut back but with 2 races this week, I just had to just maintain and not over do it.
Race 1 started with a good start off the line and leading around the course.
There were some big gust to deal with but for the most part if you've got your equipment dialed in, it isn't too overwhelming- even in 25-30k and big seas.
I lowered by boom and had good control upwind, not getting stood up at all.
Most of the chop you can absorb with your legs- making sure to keep the sail over the center line of the board upwind and not letting it open up.
It was just on the last tack on the last beat that Besse snuck in there grabbing the bullet form me.
Race 2 started in 25-30k and Al, Besse and I got out to a good lead on course B. Heading downwind after the gybe mark got a bit hairy as Al just about blew up and collided with another yacht starting their sequence at the leeward mark.
I saw it all happening but with just a few board lengths between us there wasnt much I could do but let it unwind. I made the quick call to bear off and narrowly avoided a big collision. In the meantime 2 or 3 board snuck in there and got a decent rounding as I struggled to get back on course and finished 4th.
Race 3 saw Wells eagerly trying to make the windward mark despite understanding it and getting plastered up against Anita Rock. Somehow he made a comeback and squeezed me out for 3rd, again making a faster tack on the last beat. Besse took the bullet!
Race 4 saw some great pre- race tactics between Seth and I as I lured him into the windward spot just above me and drove him right over the line for an ocs. Meanwhile, Tom and David got out to a nice jump and maintained control around the course with great speed.
Race 5 was payback time as Seth was determined to drive me back in the fleet. I hung out near the shore till the last 20 seconds and did a dip start down the line with Seth in hot pursuit. I managed to out run him until the last seconds of the beat when he came down hard on me to windward. We were deeper than usual rounding in 5th and 6th so time for a comeback. I dug deep but the front of the pack had really extended their lead and not much chance.
Sometimes its a race against yourself while the other sailors prove to be obstacles around the course.
Taking 4th place, I think Ive got the series wrapped up with 2 more races to go over the next month so it looks like time for a break.
The radio silence probably means Im laying low and doing my best for a recovery- despite the torture of being off the water.

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