Yesterday was my first medal race in a Grade 1 World Cup event. My results from the previous day just squeaked me into 10th place overall, earning me a spot in the race.
I had a small amount of practice when I participated in the medal race in Puck, Poland back in May, but this was on a bit of a different scale. The course was windward-leeward with three laps and a slalom finish with two jibe marks. Medal race courses are usually quite close to shore to allow for spectators, and ours was near the seawall in the Kiel Olympiazentrum harbor. There was a lot of boat traffic both above and below the course, with coach boats, spectator sailboats, and also cruising sailboats hanging around. The weather was again spectacular, with a light, gusty breeze and clear, sunny skies.
I was all set to win the medal race, but as it went I didn't have such a spectacular performance. It all began at the start, when both Carolina and I got rolled by a fast girl. We had to tack out which slowed us down. My strength right now lies not so much with boardspeed, but with tactics in shifty breeze. However, our short course called for one tactic: go left to the better pressure, and go fast. I was keeping up well but made the next mistake on the leeward gate, going to the wrong side. After that I was a bit behind but was still holding the speed, when I unfortunately fouled another girl and had to do a circle. At any rate, it was a good experience for learning what not to do, and it was an honor to be in the race.
Afterwards, I packed up the gear. I delivered my board to some British sailors going to Weymouth, and loaded the quiver in the Polish trailer. My Polish coach, Romek, was having a frustrating afternoon. One kid's complete set of equipment was stolen in all the confusion of packing. Then, a strap broke and hit him in the eye, cutting his eyebrow (now he is walking around with a black eye as well). However, after about an extra hour and a half of waiting (and getting pizza with the guys) we were finally able to take off with the motorboat. I was riding in the van with four other guys, and pretty soon they were all playing video games, harassing each other, or snoring. The van smelled like stinky feet, but it was nice to be with them. I am now back in Sopot waiting to go home tomorrow.