Racing in Monday's breeze: mixing it up through the leeward gate
Yesterday two races were held for the women in light, shifty offshore northwest wind, a direction we've seen most here in Kerteminde. I learned a few valuable lessons about transitions from pointing and pumping conditions to daggerboard down railing conditions in the shifty breeze. The wind was mainly light but bigger puffs were coming through, and when the wind was lighter it was a better tactic to sail up the center of the course and play the shifts. However, when it the breeze came up, it was better to pick a side of the course and keep blasting as fast as possible with the blade down. It's hard to keep this board moving due to its weight and size, so in railing conditions it pays off to stay in the most pressure you can find and keep the board moving as fast as possible.
My first race was one of the better races of my career. I hit all the shifts correctly and worked extremely hard pumping. The committee shortened the course, as the wind dropped significantly, and we finished on the reach. During the second race, the wind picked up. Unfortunately I tried the same tactics, which put me pretty deep in the fleet, but definitely taught me a new skill. Today is our rest day and the end of the qualifying series, after which the two fleets are split into gold and blue according to finish. I'm in the blue fleet, which will be the easier fleet, which means good racing and education too.
In the top 10 women, the first place sailor is my Polish teammate, Maja Dziarnowska. This is her first full year on the Polish National Team, and she has learned to work very hard with excellent coaching, and has improved by leaps and bounds. This is her best result by far at a Worlds, and very promising for her career especially since she is only 20 years old. The next Polish sailor is 2007 World Champion Zofia Klepacka, in 8th place. The Chinese are also having a notable event, with 2 sailors so far in the top 10 (3rd and 4th) and a huge team of 16 sailors here. Veterans Alessandra Sensini (ITA) and Jessica Crisp (AUS) are in 5th and 7th places respectively. All the teams have been working extremely hard, and the windy conditions backed with yesterday's shifty breeze means that the leaderboard is a good representative of the fleet's talent.
Tomorrow we begin the final round. The forecast is showing marginal to light wind for the remainder of the event, which should mix up the results!
Bob and Ben on the coach boat with Gebi