by Graeme Willcox & Andrew Tarboton
The final day of racing dawned with the ‘peler wind’, the name the locals call the northerly wind, blowing. The RC had scheduled and early start for the Lasers with an 08h30 start. We were sharing the same course with them as well as the 470’s and FX fleets, so we were scheduled for an 11h00 start.
The earlier classes got some good racing in the morning and by the time we launched the ‘peler wind’ was dying so we expected it to switch round to the southerly (Ora). This happened at the end of the FX second race as we reached the race area. It looked good for a while as the thermal wind starts to fill in. But it then got patchy again, and this was the pattern for the day. Lots of pressure differences and switches.
The first race was started off such a port biassed line that you couldn’t cross it on starboard. At 10 seconds to go we had an Aussie boat t-bone us and spin us round. This put paid to the port tack start I had lined up. So with the Aussie doing turns and in trying to get back into the race, the one sided beat left us little option to get back. The rest of the race was a fight back and we ended up 31st.
The second start was again a port tack affair with everyone having to be on port to cross the line. We were well on our transit, and still had boats well advanced on the line, which we thought were over, but when looking at the results came away with a clean start? This again left us with work to do to get back into it. We made some good gains on the first lap only to have them undone on a big switch on the second beat leaving us to follow the pack down the last run into 38th position.
The last race of the day was run in a dying southerly. We got off the line well and held the front row for most of the beat only to get forced to tack off by a starboard boat. This left us having to work back into the pack. Near the top of the beat a big right hand shift came through and buried those of us not on the right hand layline. It was such a big switch that some boats came into the weather mark with their kites up. This then left the fleet following each other around a skew course trying to pick off boats ahead. We ended this frustrating day with a 37th, dropping us down to 35th place overall.
These sorts of regattas are difficult and those millimetres which the other teams gain on us in a tack or gybe translate into boat lengths very quickly on a nip and tuck course like the ones we were sailing on.
We had some goals coming into the regatta, more process goals like getting off the line cleanly and executing tacks and gybes well. It is easy to get down heartened with the results, but as the only 49er team here who are not full time professionals we need to keep our end goal in sight and go back to the UK and work on the highlighted weakness and come back to the Delta Lloyd regatta at the end of the month stronger.