In an about face in weather from the rest of the week – wind is what we got on Wednesday with winds in the upper teens and gusts into the lower twenties. Slightly overcast skies with temperatures in the lower 70’s. Having sailed in light air all week and most of 2016 – I wasn’t well prepared for these conditions. My goal would be to just get around the course and salvage as much as I could.
In the first race I had an ok but not stellar start. I made my way out to the right of the course and I moved the boat ok, but was a few rows back. Towards the top it was clear the left was coming in better and I was in the back quarter around the top mark. On the reach to the offset I lost my hand hold on the mainsheet and ended up capsizing to windward as what remained of the fleet sailed by.
I continued the race sailing conservative downwind to keep the boat under me and managed to pick off a few boats on the next two legs. At the final jibe mark to the finish I messed up the timing of my duck and thwacked the boom on my head to add a little injury to insult. I’d have a bruise for the next several days.
At that point it was clear I wasn’t competing and I decided to get home and save some time-off for later in the year. And to finish it up – my dolly broke as I recovered the boat on the beach. Thankfully the ride home was uneventful including an overnight stop in Florence SC.
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Following an off day between sailing where I worked remotely from an airbnb I arrived at Sarasota Sailing Squadron late last night. Sarasota Sailing Squadron is on the point of an island jutting into a wide bay making it a great sailing venue. There is plenty of beach launching and the sailing area is less than a mile from the launch.
The day started with a bit of a haze and no wind. Temperatures in the low 70’s. Even before the skippers’ meeting we were postponed ashore where we would wait for 1 1/2 hours. The wind finally started to pick up, we went out and a race was started in 5-6 knots of breeze. That ended up being the best of the breeze as it got very light during. The wind was out of the South West and there was a little current from left to right at the bottom of the course.
I had a good start and focused on keeping a clear lane of wind and trying not to duck too many boats on port tack. I did well on that first beat and rounded the first mark in 5th. Downwind I lost one boat and on the 2nd upwind I didn’t stay in phase as well as I could have and lost a few more boats. The final 3 legs of the race were pretty brutal. It was a LONG race not moving very fast and the Radial fleet behind us wouldn’t finish in the time limited. I ended up with a 12 in the 49-boat fleet.
After waiting for a little another race was started in a little bit more wind. This time I started at the boat and had a good start on the front line. I would sail almost to the left layline and was only crossed ahead by two boats. At the top mark I was caught by a few boats on the right and was top 10 around the mark. I continued to focus on clear air both up and down wind and held my position around the course as the 13th boat over the line – I would be 11th after OCS boats were taken into account.
By the 3rd race the wind had picked up a little more – now 8 and sometimes just over 10. Where I could find pressure and make the boat go in light air – pretty much everyone could make the boat go in this wind and it would be a lot harder with the fleet clumped up a lot more around the course. I had a good start, but got pinned to the left side and missed some shifts coming back the other way. I was probably in the low 30s around the first mark. Downwind I stayed in the middle of the course and was playing the shifts better to keep the boat moving fast towards the mark. I picked off a few boats. On the 2nd upwind I played the shifts and tried to keep my air clear and picked up some more places. On the final run I gained a few and lost a few – again playing the middle of the course. I finished 19th.
That put me in 12th overall – which sounds familiar as that’s how I finished the last regatta. Back onshore we put boats away, cleaned up and there was a nice seafood dinner at the club.
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