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May 13, 2010

Day 1 of the Europeans got underway with a very light 6-8 mph seabreeze and very flat seas.  After a very conservative start with a port end favor, we found ourselves in the top 5 closely behind the leaders in Race 1.  We quickly reminded ourselves however, that when racing in the Melges 32 Class in both the states and in Europe that the slightest mistakes will cost you big.  We had a minor issue during the set with our tack line which resulted in a shrimp and us getting rolled by the boat behind us once we got underway. Not only did we lose one boat, but it also affected our positioning for the leeward mark which was well down the track.  We struggled to regain our form and took a 8th place in the first race, dropping a few from our position at the first top mark.

Race 2 started with similar conditions, but would finish with a 40 degree shift to the right as the sw gradient breeze began to take over.  After another good start with good speed with the boats around us, we found ourselves poked out with the lead boats on the left.  Halfway up the beat however, the boats on the right who we had forced to tack and had in our back pocket, were showing huge lifts and were easily crossing by the time we tacked over. The breeze slowly decreased, with the runs turning into a follow the leader type situation with the Samba team near the back of the pack.  Assuming the breeze was going to continue clock right and increase, we legged it out the right on side on the last upwind, hooked into some nice pressure and were able to pick off a few boats, hold on the next downwind and take a 9th place.  Not a great finish, but we felt ok knowing we had good speed, but were victims of a tough shift.

The last race the committee managed to set a starting line that was not reachable on starboard tack.  Recognizing this early, we set up 3-4 boats from the pin and immediately tacked at the gun, putting us across the rest of the fleet and in good position.  After shifty battles in 10-12 kts of wind, we finished in 4th place behind Red, Brontolo and B-Lin.

Overall a frustrating day due to the fact we were going well, but did not have the solid results to show for it. The forecast tomorrow is calling for similar light winds along with a heavy dousing of rain, followed by sunnier weather and a good chance of the Mistral showing up for Saturday and Sunday. At this stage we are going to need all of the races we can get to stay in contention.

Very unofficial, somewhat of a guess on the results from where we were –

1). Red (UK)

2). High Life (UK)

3). B.Linsailing.com (Italy)

4). Brontolo (Italy)

5). Teasing Machine (France)

6). Samba Pa Ti

Check out the official website for official results and photos. We are off to another lengthy dinner, tonight it sounds like plenty of pizza, pasta and even more vino. Standing by in Cagliari getting ready for Day 2.

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