Tuesday, October 1, 2002

2002 Olympic Pre-Trials

2000 trials

October 25th-I arrived at the US Sailing center in Marin county several days before the event so that I could become familiar with the site as well tune up against my competition. My first observation was that this was going to be a light and shifty regatta. After a few hours of tuning it was apparent that the lighter sailors had a real advantage in the light wind. This is because they can rail the board sooner –by hanging their weight off the rig and plane upwind. But on the other hand, I had a good advantage of strength and leverage with my height. I was able to get some good video of myself sailing upwind as our coach Pierre was filming in a boat behind us. Later that night we analyzed the video and found what worked and what didn’t. My light wind sailing skills were improving but I had a lot of work to before I could get to the top of the fleet in these conditions.

Race1: light winds 6-8 knots and shifty. A thunderstorm was moving in from the south. At start, I didn’t have sail trimmed correctly and suffered by not getting off in front row. I kept sailing to the left side, thinking it was favored but now I realized in the light stuff, clear air is more important! Somehow I never managed to get back into hunt and finished 5th.

Race 2: After a brief rainsquall, the R.C. started the next race. I had a much better start and got off the line clean. I choose the left side, which was the right thing to do since the first shift was coming from the left. Immediately I tacked over and was in good position rounding the top mark. The gains made by the shifty winds were very apparent with the positions changing on each leg. The next upwind leg, I had the unfortunate experience of sailing on a lift that kept going. It became apparent that Id sailed myself into the corner and had to sail the on the lay line for 10 minutes…not the right choice in this race. Again finished 5th
Race 3: wind is up a bit from previous races at 8-14 knots, still shifty. I get off the line good and into clear air thinking life is good. I round top mark in the top bunch but somehow got out finessed downwind and slip back to 5th. It is becoming apparent that I’m right behind the top 3 guys but still making some stupid mistakes and finding myself stuck in 5th place. I give it my all the last up wind and am able to slip back into 4th by catching the last upwind shift at the top mark. Smart sailing! Still I’m off the pace...hope it blows tomorrow!
Race 4: I’m just a few points out of 4th and only a few more out of 3rd. Wind is like yesterday, light and shifty, nothing over 12k! Good start and play the shifts upwind to the right side where I’m able to round in the top bunch again. I hold my position strong and finish 4th.

Race 5: Things are really starting to lighten up. The wind must have been at 8 knots and really hot. They give us a 30 min break in between races but to no avail. The heat is taking its toll. I start off strong but wasn’t able to hold my momentum through out the race and struggle to finish in 5th place again.
Race 6:Exhausted from the previous 2 races in non planning winds, I was hoping they would call it a day but the R.C. ran another race I started cleanly at the pin end and got to the breeze on the left hand side first and tacked and was a clear shot to the first mark in the breeze. I rounded 1st and kept going strong downwind with the fleet on my tail. At the downwind gate, I had the choice of going left or right. I choose the right side. Wrong decision as I got stuck in a hole and let the top 4 guys sail by me. Somehow I manage to stay in 5th. A lot of up and downs this race.This was the end of the regatta as the wind never materialized on Sunday.
Overall impression-A lot of work to do especially in the light air. This would be a good tune up for the World Championship next month in Thailand

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