Jof Heathcote reports from Sorrento in Australia.
Today was the most demanding day I’ve had on a boat. I am totally shattered. It nudged up to a bit over 20 knots by the last race, and the shallow water made it quite bumpy and very tricky.
The day started badly finding my small rudder foil had succumbed to the Australian heat, and then carried on from there when I broke the vang about 30 seconds into race 4. Fortunately I was on the yellow course so I made a quick dash to shore to replace the offending bit of string.
I was back together for race 5 which went along in much the same way as race 6.
I started well and clear, got into a reasonable position up the first beat, then made gains on the boats around me during the downwind. I then suffered up the second beat with not enough height and people around going better once it was a bit spread out. I kept the rig above the boat (apart from one half capsize in race 6) and was generally pretty good downwind; fast and deep, definitely making more gains on the way to the finish.
There was a fair bit of carnage on the course with breakages and plenty of swimmers in the bottom half of the runs.
I was taking a bit of strain for race 7 which probably contributed to falling in at the first tack, and subsequently having some wand issues. By the time I was back up and running I was quite far back in the fleet, the benefit then being that I was going a bit quicker than the boats around me and so spent the rest of the race going forwards through the fleet.
The downwind today was really mental. I won’t be able to do it justice with a proper description. By the end of race 7 it took a big effort to summon the concentration to get the boat back to the beach. (Beam reach, steep chop, more than 20 knots).
Results for the day were DNF; 13; 15; 17 which seems like a fair reflection.
So target one of gold fleet qualification is done.
We get on with the next bit tomorrow. Judging by the last worlds, the level is going to go up by several notches then.
ED. To put this performance in perspective, Overall Jof is just 1 place behind America’s Cup helmsman Dean Barker.