Audi Melges 32 European Event # 1 – Day 1 »
April 13, 2013
After a delay getting off the dock due to our provisions not arriving on time and having to run across the street to ensure we had enough food and water for the day, our team headed out the race course in a nice 8-11 kt SE wind. Up to this point in our practicing, the breeze had all been out the SW, so collecting new data on this direction was an important part of our pre-race routine.
With an eager fleet, and strong 1 kt current that was pushing towards the line, there were a few general recalls, and on the 4th attempt we were able to get off under a Z Flag start. Unfortunately for our team, in the previous general recall which was also under Z, we were nailed for being one of the boats over would carry a 20% penalty into the race (3 pts). I was a little suspect that we were over as our Velocitek was reading that we were 20+ meters from the line, but we were exposed on the line early and gave the RC a good look at our bow numbers for a long period of time before we dipped for the start.
As for the race, we got a clean start to leeward of the group and extended to the left side of the track. The fleet split early and as our pack got close to the left layline, we began to get headed with pressure and were able to tack and cross the boats from the right. With a few tacks at the top of the course and battling with the other boats from the left, we managed to get around the top mark in 3rd, and we took a 5th at the finish after losing 2 boats on the 2nd upwind, but a solid start to the regatta regardless.
With the current still ripping up the race course, which I am told is very unusual here, and a dying breeze, we were put under postponement for a good 3 hours. It was clear the RC was determined to get another race off, and after relocating the course closer to shore, a few clouds rolled in and brought some new breeze and we were able to get off another start at 4pm. With 2 more general recalls, the 3rd start was under a black flag. As was the theme for our team, we were again the most advanced with the boats around us, exposed near the committee boat and very close to the line with too much time to kill. With fear of being called over with a black flag, we pulled the plug and gybed out, took 3-4 transoms on port and started late at the boat.
With the way the fleet was pushing the line, I thought for a moment it was going to be another general and that we would be one of the few boats not called over. But as we crossed the line late, the RC came over the radio and announced, “All clear.” We were a bit deflated as starting in last is never a great outcome, but the team kept plugging away and we fought hard to get back in the game, caught a few shifts and round in 8th at the top mark.
At this point the breeze that had filled began to die again and it was a roll of the dice as to which side was going to pay, and being fast through the water was a priority. We were sticky at a few points on the 2nd upwind and last downwind, and compounded with a crowded leeward gate rounding we lost a few boats and took a 13th.
Despite a tough last result, it was not a bad day as we battled hard and were in the mix in both races, and we completed our goal of improving from when we started the day. Our items for improvement heading into day 2 are to minimize the unforced errors and to make our approaches to the starting line much later as we were consistently the most advanced boat on the starts, and working on more consistent speed up and down the course.
Day is forecast for a solid seabreeze to fill around noon which should provide for 3 solid races.
Check out some great photos from Carlo Borlenghi.
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