Friday, August 1, 2008

Nowhere to go but up!

Leba, Poland - July 31, 2008 - The morning of Day Two at the Allegro Cup arrived in Leba with the promise of another clear, hot day. Expecting another day of light wind, I worked out in the morning, running on the beach and doing lots of pushups. I then took my Lenovo laptop down to the waterfront to do some work. As I was sitting there, the wind began to fill in and it soon built to about eight knots. I could see that people were rigging in anticipation and I went to prepare my sail. I was excited and expecting a good day …but … just about everything bad that can happen, including some rookie mistakes, did happen. Looking on the bright side, I did get the chance to dial-in my borrowed equipment more and have the opportunity to correct mistakes.

Because I had been out running during the skippers’ meeting (I’m actually not sure if they even had one or not) I thought the girls had the second start. However, when I brought all my equipment down from the campsite, I saw our flag up. I was late. So I missed the first start. Scratch that race! I was still confident that I could do really well in the second race. I was all set to have a great start, and had accelerated to almost full speed to go down the line. However, a few girls in front of me were still going slow, and I tried to hit the brakes, but I was too late. My reaction time was a little off from too much RS:X sailing, and I overtook and fouled a girl, causing us to both fall. It took almost five minutes to untangle the equipment! She informed me that she was going to file a protest! I finished the race but didn’t make the time limit, so another DNF.

My third and fourth races saw me sailing more the way I wanted to. On the third start I was a little more conservative than usual, starting under most of the fleet, but I got out from under the girls with clean air. My upwind pointing was suffering but my speed was OK. I finally got my 9.5 RS:X sail dialed in during this race. During the fourth race, I had a really great start. I was so early that I thought I was OCS, because the committee hailed someone. In the heavier wind (it maxed out at around 12 knots) I was actually competitive speed-wise. I had a great race and made some really clean laylines and mark roundings.

I came in more than a little mad about how the day had gone. I was sure I had two DNF’s, a protest to take care of, and an OCS. However, the results showed my last start had been clean and almost perfect! The girl who started on top of me had gotten the OCS.

After de-rigging, I went down to the protest tent. I wasn’t sure if I had broken rule 16 or not (overtaking) because of the manner in which I had run into the girl, but this turned out not to matter after all. The protest was determined to be invalid because the girl hadn’t informed the race committee of her intent to protest! She was a little upset, but I understood exactly how she felt.

Overall it was a very interesting day, fraught with mishaps, but I expect to be fighting hard to get back into the game tomorrow. There’s nowhere to go but up, and I am looking forward to getting there.


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