Friday, August 15, 2003

2003 SF Classic

SF Classic course racing Day 1: 18-24k gusty conditions with strong ebb outside and more breeze outside.
Race 1:Starting line was boat end favored but right side of course was significantly favored. I won start at boat end but sailed too far left towards the beach. Majority of fleet either started off on starboard and tacked immediately or port tacked and ducked the fleet at the start. Either way, the guys that went right first got to the upwind mark earlier than Bill and I who sailed to the left first. I immediate gybed around the windward mark and got back out to the middle where the breeze was. Coming into the bottom mark in good position I took my gybe a little too tight and wiped out, losing 4-5 boards in the process, UHHH not a good way to start regatta. Finished 8th
Race 2: Same strategy except don't fall at leeward mark rounding! Another decent start at boat end but just lost the jump to Percy who squeezed me out 10 seconds before the start. There was big knock 1 min before the start leaving a significant gap at the boat. Except for those who came in high. Most of fleet was down at middle of line. I was able to tack back to port 30 seconds after the start and worked my way up to a decent rounding in 2nd with Mike Z, Brian and Ben hot on my trail. We all caught a puff and rode it as far as we could downwind when we has to gybe at shore. Rob and Bill rounded behind us but gybed immediately after mark and also caught big breeze outside and caught us all at the leeward mark. I was looking golden coming into mark 4th but again blew gybe and fell in. Mentally I didn't have it together. I was doubting my gybes and thus I ended up falling. It really takes a lot of confidence to not think about your gybes and to just do it. Obviously I need a little bit more work in this department. I again finished pretty deep in 10th place after almost having 4th in my pocket.
Race 3: Determined to do better, I jumped gun 2-3 seconds early and was called over early and has to restart. I was sailing through all the bad air of the fleet but still managed to dig a 10th place. Not bad for starting last!
Race 4: Good start at the boat and immediately tacked over to right side. Rounded top mark in top 5 but got stuck in a hole downwind close to shore with Ben. You defiantly have to keep your eyes open and be constantly looking around to see where the wind is. Good bottom rounding but upwind lost speed battle with Ben as he footed to middle and passed me at finish line, I should have tacked sooner to fetch the pin end of the line.
Conclusion: Be more aware of laylines. I could have gained 1 or more spots in race 1 and 4 if I called the layline better.
Day 2 SF Classic: Breeze was building early in the day and it looked like it might be a windy race. At the start we had 18-20k in strong ebb. I chose 9.0 and r14 fin. My start was at mid line...a bit too conservative as I t wasn't able to hold my lane upwind with the guys above me starting to foot off in the ebb. I was forced to really dive down and lost out immediately. First tack outside the bride I fell and spend 20-30 sec uphauling...seemed like forever as 5 or 6 boards sailed by. Outside the gate near red nun there was really big swell with 3 knot ebb going out! Alan and I rounded mark together and but collided on tack. Anytime you can avoid collision do it. This is the fundamental rule of fair sailing. Avoid collisions even if you think you have the right of way. You can get thrown out in the protest room if you fail to avoid a collision even if you are right to begin with.
Next we sailed down to Presidio shoal where breeze was lighter and fleet came together again. Like most of the fleet, I had to gybe 2 or 3 timed to get down to the mark in strong ebb. Back upwind to Nun and down to Anita. Breeze was light on inside and those who stayed in middle for longest gained the most. Once I rounded Anita with Jean and David, we has nice reach across the bay to Harding where wind was completely dead and leaders were struggling to round in ebb tide. I had a close situation as I tried to cross a ferry coming upwind and the ebb pushing me downwind. Luckily I made it around but struggled to get around the mark as I tried the butterfly pump to go straight downwind. Once again the fleet came together and we struggled to round mark for good 2-3 minutes. A lot of the guys behind us never rounded and dropped out at this point. Those who escaped caught a puff and rode it down below Alcatrez. I rounded above just behind Jean and came to the next mark 20 seconds behind David. From there it, the fleet was spread out and it was hard to make any significant gains, I maintained my position and finished with a time of 1 hour, 18 min and 32 sec. finishing 11th overall. A little off the pace from the leaders but I had UN Challenge to prove myself.
Back upwind I chose to come back up the city front in the stronger breeze. This proved to be a pretty good plan as I was always powered up but with out anybody really close to me I wasn't able to judge my speed. My time back to the finish was 50 min. 12 sec- 9th overall just 11 seconds behind Brian. If just would have made a few of those tacks a bit faster. Next time!the starting line I would have been in 3rd overall. But it doesn't matter what could have happed, only who crosses the line in front of you.

Day 3 SF Classic, Course racing: Longer course with 12 pm start time. Breeze was starting to build but still in the low to mid teems at start of race 1. I went out with 10.9 and started at boat again with Mike Z just below me. We sailed to left side and tacked 200 meters from the shore as breeze was dying. Again those who went right had a little more breeze but Mike and I rounded in top 5. Good downwind leg but lost David Wells and Mike Percy upwind as they sailed with better speed than me. 10.9 was getting to be pretty big!Race 2: I switched to 9.8 and was a little slow off the line with R12 fin and getting to the windward mark but managed to make it up by staying in the breeze downwind and gaining a few boards who went inside. I rounded bottom mark in 4th and held my own to finish.

Race 3: Early to start line and had to come down line with speed but Fernando was there coming up into me. Not enough time to react on my part and we both went in the water. The force of my catapult broke my harness so I was out for the race. Not what I was looking for but I now had my throw out! I sailed in and switched to my R14 fin and got my back up harness

Race 4: Everybody early for the start and numbers were called by the RC. I thought for sure I was over but since I was having such a shitty regatta I decided to keep going and just sail. Fortunately I was not over early as I realized when I came in later. I got to top mark in decent condition. The short upwind leg don't allow for a lot of tactical decision but rather emphasized speed and quick maneuvers. Downwind there were some hairy situations with the red and white ferry as well as a close encounter with Jean in the steep chop. Upwind Ben got me again as he had much better speed. I was hoping for one more race because I knew I was just a few points behind several people and I could move up a few spots with a top 3 finish.Conclusion: Good racing at top of the fleet but still making many mistakes that put me out of contention. Without the 2 falls at the leeward mark and the mishap on the starting line I would have been in 3rd overall. But it doesn't matter what could have happed, only who crosses the line in front of you!

Friday, August 1, 2003

2003 Friday August 1- SF

Everybody's been gearing up for classic next week sailing a lot and tonight we had a big crowd on the starting line. In contrast the last few Friday night races; tonight's tide was a strong ebb! The best strategy is to start at midline and go for speed. It took me the first 2 races to figure this out as Ben was off the line and to the layline first in the first couple of races when he started down by the pin end.
The first race I started off with my 9.8 but came in and switched to my 10.9 and had better speed downwind getting through the light stuff. Knowing what equipment to use is sometimes just as important as going the right way. Another big thing with the ebb tide was overstanding the windward mark. Chris Radkowski seemed to be the first to tack to the layline and got lifted up with the strong inside ebb. By the last race, I nailed the start, was the first to tack on the layline and got the windward mark first. If at first you don't succeed, keep trying and never repeat the same mistake more than once!