Youth Olympics RSA team update

Grand Stand Sailing

Grandstand Sailing

UPDATE 21 August – 17h00

No wind today so all racing cancelled.

Rob Holden reports

Our teams were due to sail on the course directly in front of the spectator stands, but as the wind was shifty racing was postponed. As the crown numbers increased, the RO decided to oblige the crowd even though the conditions were not ideal. We went out in 5 knots that had by then settled between 35 and 60 degrees and the Race officer got the boys off to a clean start. The sailors had to be awake and concentrate hard to stay in phase, and if they missed a shift they lost in a big way.

Calvin Gibbs was successful at this and worked his way up to a brilliant 4th position before the wind died and the dreaded 3 horns sounded. The girls got off to a clean start as well even though the wind was only 3 knots at the time of their start. Megan Robertson had a good start, but her boat speed was not quite there to capitalise on the start and she was mid-to-lower end of the fleet when the wind went away.

Back ashore it did not look like there would be any further sailing, but at about 14h20 the breeze came up to a nice consistent 6 knots with a manageable 20 degree oscillation in it, so back onto the water we went. Again the boys got off to a good start with Calvin getting a reasonable start, but he battled to find and keep the phase and his form of the abandoned race although he managed to stay in touch with the top 10 and finished in a very credible 15th. By the time the second race started the wind was down to 3 knots again, and dying, making conditions very challenging. Calvin battled especially up the top third of the first beat, finishing in 23rd.

Megan had a really tough day. We seemed to have solved her starting problem and she was on the line for both starts, but she was over sheeting terribly, and with the Byte if you over sheet the boat sails sideways and slowly. She finished both races in last place and was not happy on the way home. At least now we have identified the main problems that have developed and we had a chat about it, so now she has to implement the changes.

We were up early today (20 August) and all rearing to go. The mood was not great, but we were all keen to get out there and see if we could improve on the previous day. As soon as we arrived we saw that the conditions were much better than the previous day. We were on course B which is the course that has less wind and more shifts and is further away. When I got to the course I measured 8 knots with a reasonably steady North Easter, but by the time the girls started the average was down to 5 knots with a lot more swing in it. The girls started with a general recall, but got away the second time under the ‘U’ flag. Megan had a not so bad start and sailed up the first beat with much better boat speed, but was still battling with her strategy in the conditions. The wind held with 5 knots through the race and Megan managed a 28th. She was looking so much better than the previous day.

Race 2 for the day started with another General and Megan again managed a good start making some really good decisions up the first beat, but her downwind tactics let her down a bit as did the wind, and the girls ended up finishing that race in 3-4 knots with difficult shifts. Megan again finished 28th, but this was not a true indication of how she had sailed as she could easily have finished 19th if not for a couple of bad decisions on the reach and downwind legs

Calvin had a good start to the first race of the day. We had decided that the other boats were affecting his strategy too much so we agreed that he should concentrate on his strategy and only deviate if it was absolutely necessary. He stuck to this, but still did really well on the first two thirds of the beat only to fall back on the top third. Later at the end of the last race I managed to go to the top mark where he was battling and saw that the wind was bending a lot in the area of the mark – so he needed to stay off the lay line till the last minute. We will try this tomorrow and see how it goes.

Calvin really sailed well today, but made some key mistakes that cost him big. With this fleet and these conditions a small mistake is very expensive and Calvin found this out as he ended the day with a 16; 25 and 22.
At the end of today the discard kicked in pushing Megan down to 30th and Calvin to 24th, but we will keep working at improving these positions. There is only 1 race scheduled for tomorrow so hopefully we can get back early and have some much needed rest.