Monday, May 2, 2011

Lessons from the Berkeley circle

Its been 2 weeks already since the first Calcup in Berkeley.
A but fuzzy on the specifics but I do recall a few valuable lessons.

The first is- its not how well you do, but how well you recover.
After the first race, I looked down to see my harness bar collapsed.
Game over? Not so fast.
With with quick improvising, I was able to secure some line from the RC, make a few hitches and be ready for race 2.
If you're on a mission- don't let anything stop you!

The second big lesson was to race as if there's no discard.
Because if you're tied at the end of a series, its the sailor with the lower discard that breaks the tie breaker under the RRS and appendix b.

We started off with 2 general recalls and then under a blag flag. I didnt push it and got buried at the start of the first race. I footed to get clear air but it was a quick first beat with all the fleet going left on starboard tack. Xavier tacked first jumping into the lead. Digging my way back through the fleet, my speed and angle felt fast but there's only so many opportunities to gain on a short course- even moreso if you're underpowered and behind. In most cases, its a parade to the favored side. Xavier, Steve and Thomas took the top 3 with Al and Chris just behind an me in 6th.

Race 2 saw Thomas foot right over the top of me with amazing speed off the line. I couldn't hang and got rolled. Although I had better angle I couldn't use it when I needed it. Luckily Xavier tacked early for the top mark and had to double tack. Thomas was out to a strong lead but Chirs and Al were in striking distance- I just needed them to make a mistake. Not a chance. They sailed perfect to the finish without letting up. 4th place

Race 3 saw the breeze build more to get the 9.5 powered up. Chris and I swapped positions at every mark and me just getting the final move to take 2nd. When you really want something. you've got to fight for it. I was out of the harness downwind pumping to make the bottom mark and jumping around to make the last tack just a bit quicker. Xavier sailed fast not letting up one bit to take the bullet. Thomas, unfortunately wore himself out too soon and took a big catapult around the first windward mark and never recovered.

Race 4 & 5 saw the breeze bump up to 18-22k. The 9.5/67cm fin felt at its best in the short steep Berkeley circle chop. I still didnt have the speed of Xavier but was able to hang onto 2nd both races. Comparatively against the rest of the fleet my speed and angle were really good as I got out of some tight situations. In this fleet, you've really got to be aggressive and not leave any opportunity for the fleet behind to catch up. This means shutting the door at the leeward mark and not letting anyone get in a lane above you. I almost let S3 sneak in as I recalled from previous races- if you give him an inch, he'll take a foot.
Now just to find a way to step it up a notch....

At the end of the day it was Xavier taking the regatta with me in 2nd and Steve and Chirs tied for 3rd. The tie breaker goes to the sailor with the better discard.
Race like it counts!

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