Saturday, June 28, 2008

Kiel Week 2008: Day 4

After the sky cleared yesterday evening, all the competitors were hoping for a day without rain. Unfortunately, I woke up at 5:30 a.m. to the sound of rain on my tent. As I was eating breakfast, it really started to pour down. The wind switched directions a few times, and then the rain started to slacken. It was pretty chilly on the beach rigging the gear!

As we sailed out, the offshore wind started to build and soon everyone was planing down to the course. However, the wind was again up and down to give us marginal planing conditions for the racing. On my way down to the course, I did a set of jibes to warm up. On my last one, the camber inducers on my sail didn’t rotate well, and I heard a tell-tale snap. Sure enough, one of my battens had broken. I sailed down to meet my coach, upset. There wasn’t any time to go back in, and the way that the batten had broken made it almost impossible to replace on the water anyway. However, due to the conditons, the batten didn’t slow me down as much as I thought.

Overall, I had one of the better days of my regatta. The course was again interesting and tricky with the shifty winds. The line was port-favored for the first race, and the puffs were coming down course right, making it the favored side. Needless to say, everyone started on port. I almost blew the start as I was too close to the pin and started to get crowded out. I ducked some boards and threw myself into a hole on the line. I was almost too late to get out early, but I ended up with a lucky spot of clear air, and I stayed there and was able to follow my plan to go right. Most everyone went really hard right almost to the corner. Many started planing, but as I like to play it safe in marginal air, I went daggerboard down. The small group I was with caught a lift in the middle of the course, and we rounded the windward mark first. My biggest problem with losing places is the downwind. Somehow I can’t seem to get deep enough in light air and end up losing ground, and that’s what happened to me. On the second upwind, the breeze had started to fill in. I started to plane and crossed some girls sailing with dagger down. I wasn’t sure if the gamble would work, so when I started to approach course left, I tacked back right and put the blade back down. It paid off and I was still holding my own around the second windward mark. I didn’t gain any places downwind, and went to the wrong side trying to stay in the puffs. However, I still finished well.

The second race I had a better start, again on port. The same tactics were favored but this time the wind had started to fill in. By the time most of the girls were almost to the windward mark, it was full planing conditions. I was still dagger down at that point, because I was too low to make a planing layline. I rounded and held my ground downwind. The second upwind was mostly planing, but there were a few light spots where I dropped my daggerboard. However, we started getting gusts of 18 + knots, so I began to plane again. I was fighting for control, partly because the gusts were so strong, I was dealing with the broken batten (which had finally split at the tip, distorting the camber of the sail), and I still have some technique issues. I lost one place due to speed problems. I did manage to hold ground downwind, even though the boat traffic had considerably increased. The tall ships were back to sailing around the outside of our course, and were coming too close, forcing sailors to tack or jibe to avoid them. The chop had once again become psychotic. On the final reach, everything started to get hyper in the gusts and the chop. I was flying but managed to finish strong. The wind had started to really build at that point, and the committee sent us in. While we were sailing in, the gusts became super strong, and for the rest of the afternoon and evening, it was blowing 25+ offshore.

The biggest surprise of the day was that I managed to have some of my best finishes with a broken batten! Check out the results here.

No comments:

Post a Comment