Friday, January 28, 2011

Jan. 28 - Day 5

We had 3 races today in a puffy shifty NW breeze. It was extremely cold on the water today and it was a long day of sailing. We launched at 11 and tuned up with Sanni and Tina. We started our first race just after 12. We had a good start but had to tack and clear our air after a couple minutes on starboard. We headed off on port with a group of boats. The fleet was pretty evenly split; and the breeze was rather confusing with big cold puffs coming in from the right and warmer light air from the left. We rounded in about 12th and the wind lightened up for most of the rest of the race. The second upwind the wind went really fluky and we didn't protect left enough, losing a few boats near the top of the course.

The second race the wind came in quite strong from the right again and after the first race and discussions with our coaches we decided the left side was a safer option. We had a brilliant start and powered off on starboard tack. The fleet headed all the way out past the lay-line, in fact past the gybe mark before tacking. We came back into the top mark on a close reach and rounded in 5th. The first downwind was a bit crazy - the breeze was on and had shifted left making the first part of the downwind quite tight. The entire fleet was together and people were just continuously pumping the spinnaker - by the bottom mark I wasn't sure my arms would be able to take down the spinnaker. The second upwind we headed left again but had slipped back in the fleet and struggled to find clean air. The breeze softened up again and we finished in light and fluky stuff having been passed by most of the fleet.

The third race was mostly a test of focus. We didn't have a great start as the boat above us started way early (they must be OCS in this race) and sailed over us. We were forced to tack out and struggled to find a lane the whole upwind. The wind was up and down, the course very choppy and with the sun low in the sky it was as struggle to see the puffs/shifts coming. Then on the second upwind the women's and men's fleets got all tangled up and it was very confusing. By the time we finished the race we were just tired and hungry, as it was after 5 pm.

So ends Miami OCR for us this year. Tomorrow the top ten boats in each fleet will compete in the medal races, including our good friends Tina and Sanni (GER 61).

Although it is not reflected in our results, we have improved leaps and bounds over the past year. We have consistently gotten good starts in this event, and have managed to round the mark in a top 10 position in four of the nine races. Our boat speed and ability to point upwind is on pace with the rest of the boats. Our major area of focus for the next few months will be on our reaching and downwind speed and boat handling coming into mark roundings.

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