It was a light air day at the Florida Masters with temperatures in the mid 70’s and wind out of the south at 5-10. I did a quick video of the grounds while people were rigging seen here. I also admired some of the other travel setups including some enclosed trailers and another sprinter van set up as an RV with the boat riding on the (low) roof.
46 standards and 19 radial launched and sailed south to the inlet and out onto the ocean. There were some large swells at time and when you were at the bottom – there were times you couldn’t see the tops of the sailboats at bottom of the other side of the swell. The lumpy conditions, wind swinging 50 degrees and the current pushing us down the course made for some challenging racing.
In the first race I had an ok start down by the boat and made my way out to the right side of the course. I hadn’t quite figured out how to make the boat go in the lumps and found myself midfleet at the top mark. At the bottom mark we had a course change to shorten the course and this time I banged the left side of the course mostly to get in clear air. It worked out great and I was 7th at the top mark and I held that to the finish.
In the second race I started mid-line and this time worked my way all the way out to the left. I caught up to the Radials who started 7 minutes ahead of us and rounded 5th or 6th. Downwind I played the right side of the course and was 2nd around the right gate and again decided to go out to the left. With the wind down a little bit and maybe a little more current further from shore on the left – it didn’t pay for me and I dropped 10 spots to the folks who played the right more and finished 12 at the shortened upwind finish.
In the 3rd race I had an atrocious start and had nothing but bad air anywhere I looked upwind. I think I was ahead of only a few boats at the top mark. Downwind I played the right side of the course, caught some puffs and passed quite a few boats. Upwind I played the middle right and passed another 10+ boats. On the final downwind I passed another boat to finish 20th.
I was happy with my sailing that I was having good speed especially upwind. I just need to get a little more consistent and work on starting to start out in a good position. After 3 races I’m in 12th overall and 2nd Apprentice.
A couple general observations – I was sailing with the Mk2 sail and in the light and lumpy conditions I found the looser outhaul gave me better pointing and power through the waves upwind. Today also highlighted for me how important it was to have clear lanes of wind. As big as the swells were – they blocked the wind – so it seemed as if only the top of the sail was always in the wind and so it made an even bigger difference without a clear lane of wind.
Following racing I did a quick run down the river front and cleaned up for a nice dinner at the club.