Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Weymouth shows racers its classic conditions on Day 2 of Sail for Gold Regatta

Weymouth showed its true colors yesterday with the rough conditions it is well-known for. After an hour's delay for very light wind, misty clouds moved in, rain began to fall, the temperature dropped, and the breeze picked up.

The women had the first start, and we left the beach in very marginal conditions. After a few minutes, the wind built to planing conditions, and we had one general recall before the first race. I didn't have a very good race because although I have decent board speed and tactical skills, I had a second-row start, and once the fleet is ahead, it is impossible to catch up. Starts are difficult here as the line is fairly short and the fleet is very aggressive.

After the first race, the wind shifted right significantly and picked up to 20-25 knots, and rain squalls cycled through. The committee had to move the course and experienced a lot of difficulty with keeping the marks and the boat anchored. The process took about two hours and in the meantime, we were all freezing, wet, and getting tired sailing around in big breeze. Not only were the girls out, but the mens' fleets were called out too early as well. They waited with us as the course was reset.

The second race I pulled off a better start, and sailed better overall. I went course right, while most of the fleet went left. Even though this can be a dangerous tactic, I wanted to try it because the water on the right side was much flatter than the left, which was crazy from boat traffic, wind, and seawall backwash. It ended up working out, and I had a 2/3 fleet finish, which is more normal for me.

This is a difficult regatta for me as it is a peak regatta for the entire fleet, along with the RS:X Worlds in a couple of weeks. All the younger sailors on European teams have improved a lot this season with full time coaching and training camps, and the experienced sailors are extremely tuned up. However, I am making some improvements and learning a lot with Mike Gebhardt coaching me, and results will come in the future. The US Sailing Team is making steady improvement with its support of the sailors, and we will have more help in the next two seasons.

Team USA dinner - we have a big group here!

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