Friday, April 9, 2004

2004 Friday April 9- SF

Breeze had been dying from the mid afternoon but still strong at 15-20k with some gust higher in mid 20's. 18 boards on start line for first race of season. I rigged 11.0 with most on same or 10.0. First start was a general recall with most of the fleet over early. Next start I opted for mid line start and got off smoothly with a lane and clear air. I was able to keep my lane and a few boards and to dive below me as I had better angle. I tacked on layline just behind Seth but at windward mark there was big hole and 30-degree shift. Seth and I fell off plane and had to tack back to make the mark and most of the fleet coming in behind us did the same thing, as it was a lumpy mess. Steve Sylvester over-stood and came by with speed and completely avoided the whole mess and went on to win the race. I struggled to get around the windward mark and find some wind to escape but at that time I was already deep in 7th. I kept this position to the end just behind Jean.
Next race breeze was up again and fog coming in strong. I opted for mid line start as most of the fleet was crowded at mark B. Unfortunately I miscalculated the ebb and pulled the trigger a few seconds too early and was called OCS. I ducked back down to clear myself and just ended up going for speed to the right corner. There was a big hole again at the top mark as most boards came off a plane and had a double tack. I got stuck again but managed to escape with a group of boards with C-Rad just ahead of me. He had a wide rounding at the leeward mark and I took advantage of it by sneaking in there and getting my nose up and climbing on him. We tacked at the same time and I was able to beat him out on the finish line…another deep finish in 8th but a decent comeback. In the top of the fleet was Seth, Steve, Mike Percy, and Bill Wier.
The 3rd race, my hands were beginning to numb up and I couldn't feel my fingertips. The fog was coming on strong and calling the lay-lines became a whole adventure in itself. I got a clean start with a clear lane and I avoided making the same mistake at the top mark again as I sailed well past the layline and came down with speed as lot of guys who tacked early got stuck again. I gybed immediately after the windward mark to get back out into the breeze. Jason Voss, Bill Wier and myself all caught the gust at the same time and rode it down to the middle. Bill was just in front of me and I think both Jason and I were waiting for him to gybe, as we couldn't see the leeward mark. I opted to go a few board lengths further as I still didn't see the mark. It was a little too far and I ended up coming in reaching to the bottom mark. Jason was stay in front of me to the finish and I ended up 3rd.
The RC said the next race would be the final of the day as things were getting pretty fluky and the fleet was spreading out. Seth, Steve, Bill and I all rounded the top mark and managed to escape from the rest of the fleet. At the leeward mark, Steve had moment where it looked like he was going to go in and I tried to slip in to windward of him. I got in there as Bill was just in front of us heading toward the city front. Bill tacked and had to duck us as he was on port. Steve and I tacked at the same time but he got going just a second or so before me to leeward and held on to get second place behind Seth. I kept my lane and was able to squeeze Bill out as he lost some ground ducking us.
That put me in 4th place for the night behind Seth, Steve and Bill. A few minor mistakes pushed me back in the first 2 races and some close racing made it exciting in the last 2 races. I'm glad I had the 11.0 as it saved me a few times in the light stuff but Steve S still proved it's possible to win on a 10.0 in those conditions. The North team faired quite well with 4 out of the top 5 spots.