Saturday, May 21, 2011

heavy air rapture

If Friday evenings onslaught of heavy air racing is any indication what will happen today- then bring it on! We started the 3rd Friday night series of the year under what waterhound described as "a cauldron of frothing foam and 25 knot gusts." Easy for him to say as he was on the race deck doing race committee for the evening.
In all actuality it was blowing 15-30k with some huge swell coming in the Bay and a 2-3k ebb tide to stir things up even more. In races like these, its easy to wear yourself out so you've got to maintain control at all times and not let the conditions get the better of you. Even so I was barely hanging on- hoping to duck out after 4 races and take my throwout while sitting the last race out. Not a chance as I went down hard in race 4 at the gybe mark just barely avoiding CRAD.
Race 1 started and I got a nice jump on the fleet. I wasnt in my usual position winning the B buoy but rather down the line a bit in order to get some more control in the hairy conditions. I overstood the top mark and let CRAD slip in and chased him down the rest of the downwind and upwind leg only to finish a close 2nd while he took the bullet.
Race 2 started with Seth showing up and taking control from the get go. Although hes still doesnt have the angle I had, his transitions and speed more than made up for it as he took the bullet in race 2 while CRAD rounded the leeward mark just in front if me. I stalled and tried to pick and lane outpointing him but no luck, so I put the hammer down and drove below him- determined to get past him before the finish. Sure enough, I just got past him as we approached the sea wall to tack and got the quicker transition to take 2nd. Nothing like a little adrenaline to get you going!
Race 3 saw the wind up even more to the upper 20's and although the course was flattening out, it still made for some very challenging conditions. I made the mistake again of overstanding the top mark again and gave Seth some extra breathing room. Unfortunately for him, he sailed some extra distance on the downwind rounding A and then back to B while I sailed the correct course just around B. In the lead, I approached the leeward mark with caution as it was my race to loose. I weaved my way through the big boats who were starting their series off the GGYC and made it around without incident to take the bullet while Seth and the trailing fleet got caught up in a hairy rounding forcing some sailors in the water.
One more race, I thought to myself as I tried to calculate the points in my head to see what I would need to stay in 2nd or even more to 1st for the night. I guess I got a little bit too ahead of myself as I went down hard around the A buoy as CRAD and I gybed overlapped and I went down at the last second to avoid a collision. The ebb was so strong at that point and I could hardly get around the mark. Ouch 6th place. Time to dig deep for the last race.
Thomas jumped back on his formula gear and was in the hunt battling it out against Seth while Tom Purcell sailed a brillant race showing what it takes. I was sitting deep in 5th just behind Al and knew I had to pull everything out on the last leg as we were overlapped. I got the better tack and just got the horn in front of Al as we crossed the line overlapped. Talk about tight racing!
That was good enough to take 2nd after beating CRAD on the tiebreaker. Remembering from last week's racing- every point counts while racing boards.

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