Well it was a difficult day on the water for us today. The wind was from the same direction (SE) as yesterday and built as we sailed out to the course to around 8-10 knots. We thought it might pick up more but during the first race it dropped down to around 6 knots. The first race we started at the pin and had a great start - but it was a general. Second start we were a bit farther up the line and didn't hold our lane long enough off the start. We tacked out but kept getting bounced around as other boats tacked on top of us. We ended up sailing too much in the middle of the course and tacking too much, rounding towards the back of the fleet. We had a good reach, managing to stay low and catch a boat. The downwind we went the wrong way however; the wind had decreased and the pressure across the course was uneven and patchy. The second upwind we headed back out into the pressure but my back decided to start acting up and I was in a lot of pain with the marginal trapezing conditions. Between races I stretched and this helped a bit. The wind was still very light and patchy.
For the second race we opted to start at the boat end with our classic strategy - hang out and come in super late and snag the hole directly under the RC. This is risky, because if the hole doesn't open up you are screwed, but if it does you are golden and have won the biased end. We were hanging out a bit far away from the RC, and had to politely ask a coachboat to move as we were actually racing (classic Canadian fashion - "Umm, excuse me, could you please let us past? Sorry, thank you!). We came in super late with speed and had the most amazing start ever - and it was a general recall! I'm sure we confused the RC with all our yelling. "Yes! Awesome start!" "NOOOOO let us go!" Anyways, we tried it again and of course it didn't work the second time. Headed out right and it was looking good until we came back into the top in second last. At least one boat came with us?! The rest of the race was just painful. Literally, my back was excruciating with the marginal trapeze conditions and choppy water. We caught some boats on the second beat but then lost them again on the downwind as some massive shifts came through.
Personally the day was extremely frustrating for me, as I have worked so hard on my fitness for so long and my back has not been an issue for most of the past year. I go running and do exercises every morning at 7.30 am while other people sleep just so that my back is nice and relaxed and my core muscles are activated. For some reason today just wasn't my day.
So after 6 races qualification is complete and the top 27 boats advance to Gold Fleet and the bottom 27 to Silver Fleet. We are unfortunately solidly in silver, which means we have officially NOT qualified for the 2012 Olympics.
Although not a total surprise given our results at every event so far this spring, it is still a huge disappointment to not realize our dream of representing Canada at the Olympics.
We are still in competition though, and there are four more days of racing! We will continue to try our hardest and learn from every race. There are 6 unqualified nations in the Women's Gold Fleet and 5 spots for the Olympics, so the excitement continues!
In the Men's fleet the Canadians Mike Leigh and Luke Ramsay have made Gold Fleet and qualified Canada for the Olympics! Congratulations to both of them, they have worked so hard and sailed great the last couple days.