December 3, 2011
There was a buzz around the Bahia Mar Hotel and Marina as the forecast that was calling for 20-25 and gusts higher had clearly arrived judging by the bent over palm trees and flags standing vertical. The annual tradition of take a junior sailing on the Saturday of the Gold Cup was ditched out of concern for the juniors…not a bad idea considering we talked about implementing the buddy system on our boat. Most boats pushed back their dock-off time back 45 minutes to save the sails and limit damage to the boats in the 6-8 ft pounding waves, and as we made our way to the race course the boats that decided to try practicing with their spinnakers quickly ended up on their sides. Our team on Volpe knew we needed to sharpen up our program if we were going to sail clean and hang with a red hot team on Warpath.
The RC set the starting/finish line a few hundred yards off the beach just south of Ft. Lauderdale, so if you had an issue getting the kite down at the leeward mark or finish, you would need to sort it out quickly or it wouldn’t be long before you were watching the races from a nice spot on the sand. After the conclusion of the first race and a hard fought battle with Warpath and Samba, we watched as the talented group on Samba had a drop go bad, shrimped their kite and did some damage to their mainsail and wind instruments at the top of the mast. After a few close calls ourselves yesterday, we knew the dangers well of putting the kite in the water. Samba had to retire for the day, and we would later learn that Warpath was OCS and did not return to clear themselves turning our 3rd into a 2nd.
The remainder of the day, we stuck to our gameplan of starting in a clear area at the boat end of the line, sailing fast upwind and down, and getting the kite back into the boat without error to round out the day with a 2, 4, 4. When we dropped the kite for the final time and headed in for the day, there was a sense of relief as our white knuckled downwind rides were finished without any majors, and the only concern for the remainder of the day was navigating the hotel lobby through a sea of excited people who looked like they had just been let out of a Bernie Mac show. The forecast is for the same breeze as today and our hope headed into the final day with 2 races remaining is that Warpath will falter, and we will be able to continue our trend of solid finishes. Full results.
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