Thursday, June 9, 2011

Thur. June 9 - Day 4 S4G

Today we had a better day of racing. No equipment breakdowns or capsizing (at least while racing!). We had two races; the first in 12-15 the second in 15+ knots. The first race we had a not so great start and went left, as the wind was predicted to shift left. This was a mistake. We came back into the top third surrounded by really good teams so we thought it might be okay but then the whole fleet crossed in front! We had a good downwind and picked up several boats on the upwind. The last downwind we second-guessed the game plan and lost some boats. The next race we decided to set up early - none of this coming in late and starting second row. We found a hole and managed to defend it and had a wicked start. The pin was favored and the left was looking good for about 5 minutes. Then more pressure came down the right side. It was interesting to watch the race again on TracTrac you can see the boats on the right hand side just suddenly go faster. Although we finished at the back again in this race, it felt like a really good race. We made good tactical decisions, were paying attention to the wind and were very fast upwind. We also stuck to our game plan and had a good start. Tomorrow we will try and do it all again in the last two races before the medal race on Saturday.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wed June 8 - Day 3 S4G

Today we had two races in 18-25 knots from the SW. Let's start with the positives. We had a really good start in the first race, tacked out and had a clear lane. We were going wicked fast and looked really good. We didn't overstand the top layline and got pushed down by the current and had to tack back out, but all in all a solid upwind leg with us rounding in the 20's. The second race was similar; our start wasn't as great and our lane wasn't as clear but we had a really good first beat. We did not capsize upwind which I think is a first for us when racing in these sorts of conditions. Usually I get knocked off the boat by a large wave and lose my confidence on the trapeze and then it happens again; so I was very pleased that we did not do any of that today, as there were lots of big waves!

On the downside, we managed to rip not one but two spinnakers cleanly in half. The first one was on the first downwind of the first race after capsizing trying to avoid a leeward boat. (The kite got tangled on the spreaders and ripped). The second was our spare kite; and it got ripped on the first downwind of the second race when it wrapped itself around the jib out of a gybe. So not an ideal situation as we had to finish both races today under two sails. Not very fast but we did manage to finish them.

So it seems to be always something with us! My theory is we are just making new mistakes having solved ones we were making previously. As we all know, winning at sailboat racing is all about who makes the least amount of mistakes. Tomorrow we have two more races scheduled and 15-18 knots forecast so another day of windy sailing!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tue June 7 - S4G Day 2

Today we had 2 races in 15-18 knots. The first race we did not have a great start and then on the top reach the fairlead for the spinnaker barberhauler blew, so that was a bit messy. We finished the race but our downwind speed was not up to pace as a result. Between races we did some jury-rigging and that was good. The second race we had a second row start but tacked out and were doing quite well; rounding 20th at the windward mark. We lost boats on the reach and run and then picked some back up on the next windward. Unfortunately we capsized at the bottom of the last run and so got passed. A tiring and frustrating day. The wind trend was to the right, but the pin end of the starting line was biased. We were focussed on our gear instead of the wind and so we sailed the left side of the course each upwind leg. We managed to make it work for us, but could probably have done better if we could have evaluated the conditions more between races. There are 2 races scheduled tomorrow in similar breeze, hopefully we can put it together.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Mon June 6 - Skandia Sail for Gold Day 1

Hello everyone. Today was the first day of Skandia Sail for Gold. We took Friday off and then sailed short training sessions on Saturday and Sunday. Today we were scheduled to begin racing at 11 am but there was no wind. We were postponed on shore for several hours while the clouds and sun fought it out. Finally the sun won out and we got a tiny bit of wind. We launched somewhere between 2.30 and 3 pm and towed out to the race area. We tuned up with our new Russian training partners and started a race somewhere after 4 pm. We totally screwed up the start and had to do penalty turns off the line so it was not a brilliant start to the regatta! The wind was light and patchy (5-8 knots) with very choppy water and current pushing up the course. We were actually going quite fast in a straight line on both the upwind and downwind legs but just couldn't put it together tactically today. So we finished at the back of the pack in both races. We got off the water around 8 pm and home around 9. Tomorrow is another day and it is supposed to have good breeze so we are happy about that!

You can follow along with the regatta on the event website. There should be live tracking, video, pictures and twitter and facebook updates.

I have put some new pictures and some geeky videos in the photo album below so go take a look and let me know what you think.

Weymouth - Holland 2011

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Wed June 1 - Training in Weymouth

We had a solid 4 hour training session in Weymouth today. 8 - 10 knots from the West and it was actually sunny and not freezing cold, which was a nice change. Still not sure why I even brought shorts with me to Europe, as it never seems to be warm here!

We did some upwind tuning and tacking/crossing drills with the Russians. We struggled at the beginning of the day with getting back into light air sailing mode after so much breeze. The pressure was up and down a lot so it was tricky to keep the boat flat and going fast all the time. We had a good long downwind during which Jen and I had a good discussion about our downwind communication and then we joined in with some racing. The racing didn't go great but it was very good practice. We had terrible starts which didn't help our upwind speed as we kept getting stuck in dirty air. The downwinds improved a lot over 3 races and we were working well together. After the races we did some more upwind tacking with the Russians and worked on our roll tacks. I kept getting stuck on the centreboard so Bunny advised crossing farther back in the boat. This helped a lot but also puts my head and Jen's head very close together coming out of the tack. We are both flinging ourselves through the boat to get across quickly; I am facing backwards and Jen is facing forwards so I foresee a head clunking at some stage in the future!

Tomorrow the forecast is for lighter winds which will be good practice as we haven't trained in light winds in awhile now.