Well, day one of racing is done! We started on schedule this morning at 11.30 with the Women's start first and had 3 races starting in about 6 knots and finishing the last race in 10-12. We launched early and tuned up with the German and Polish girls. The first race we got off to a bit of a slow start; we had a decent start and headed out right. We didn't have a great lane and spent most of the beat sailing in dirty air. About a third from the top I decided we should tack back in to find some clean air. Somehow I had failed to see the large amount of wind coming down the course and we got caught on the wrong side of a 30 degree shift! Needless to say this was not good; and we rounded behind the fleet. We managed to catch up on the downwind and pull into second last. The second start we nearly missed after one of the Canadian coaches swung by and tuned us up upwind. We actually had a really good start, rolling the boat to leeward of us. Upwind we felt a bit overpowered and not fast until the second upwind when we kicked the centerboard up farther which made a huge difference. It was an okay race we finished just behind the fleet and quite a bit ahead of the last place boat. The third race we had a pretty good start and then slipped into the boat to leeward of us. We tacked out to clear our air and then tacked back. We were sailing right beside France 9 (a very fast team) and we were smoking! I don't think we've ever gone so fast upwind in a race. We kept pace with FRA 9 and crossed most of the fleet, tacking in front and heading back out right. We continued to go fast and stay with the french boat (it's amazing what a difference clean air makes!). We rounded the top mark in 5th!! Then we totally screwed up the spinnaker hoist and lost 6 boats but that's okay! Downwind we held our position and the second upwind we were wicked fast again. We passed 5 boats on the upwind; making good decisions and working the boat hard. The last downwind we sailed very well but we haven't quite figured out the tactics for approaching the bottom mark into the gate and we lost the 5 boats we had passed on the upwind. I'm not sure where we placed in this race, as some other teams dropped out due to gear failure etc. however we were very happy! Jen and I have been racing together for one year now, and today really felt like things came together on the race course for the first time. We know how to start, we managed to remain calm (mostly) and focus and communicate. Getting off the start line and being with the fleet upwind makes a huge difference, I find I can work the boat harder and better when I have other boats around to compare myself to. If I am forgetting to do something I am instantly reminded when I see a boat beside us do it first. So it was a great first day of racing, and we hope to continue the good sailing tomorrow!
The website for the event is http://i470na2011.sailspace.net/ results should be up soon.