In the silver fleet, I'm finally finding my groove. My results are a tribute to progress: jumping forward, falling back, but in general putting new knowledge to good use. Yesterday I posted a 14th and a 6th in marginal conditions. I'm quite proud of the 14th, as it came after I saved my own race. I was slow to accelerate off the start, and had to tack out and go to the wrong side to get clear air. I rounded the windward mark almost last. However, I had two really strong downwind legs and caught half the fleet. The next race, I knew where to go. My start was excellent, as I had more space on the line and got out from under the fleet early in clear air. I dedicated my start to my Polish coach, Romek, as it was exactly the way he has taught me. and my speed was good with the daggerboard down. I consistently gained places and had a strong finish through the slalom.
Today my results were really upside down...I posted a 3rd and a 19th. The third was fantastic as it shows what I can do when I race well. Our entire race was light planing conditions, with an unusual north wind. Big gusts were coming down the course, and racing today was all about finding the pressure. Racing well is all about performing each individual portion of a race well, and I managed to piece together a good race. My start was great, and I got out into clear air. My speed was good in the flat water, and I hit the shifts and pressure right on the first two upwind legs. Pretty soon I was ahead of the pack by a long ways....which felt great!
Racing at the front of the fleet seems easy when you've gotten there, but it's really tough to work your way up from the back. The wind was more fluky at the start of the second race, and I wasn't clean off the line. I had tried for a planing start when most of the girls were daggerboard down. I was forced to go daggerboard down for a while, and because there were so many holes, never got out of that mode into planing. I chose the wrong side on the first beat, and was constantly fighting with the others to get ahead. The result is a testament to a bad start and first upwind leg. At least I'm showing improvement. We have one race tomorrow, and then the World Championships end for yet another year.