September 22, 2011
Shade was at a premium at Real Club Nautico Palma as the RC delayed the 12:30 starting time to allow for the breeze to fill. When we did finally head to the race course, we had 6-8 kts of wind out of the SSW and that was the most we would see all the day. In the first race, we established ourselves in the front group and seem to have good wheels when we have clear air and go where we want. We were slowly able to grind down a few of the boats around us and take an 8th place after shooting the line at the finish with 4-5 other boats, including a hard charging Samba team that found themselves mid-fleet after putting all their money on the left side that did not pay on the first beat.
Samba must have known that the left was eventually going to pay as by the time the 2nd race started, the pin end of the starting line was heavily favored, and it looked like there were some big port angles on the left side of the course. The decision was made on our boat to go left, but we decided to go “all-in” around 2 minutes until the start and try to win the pin. The time had arrived where we abandoned our philosophy of just staying in the hunt and sailing clean, to mixing it up with all the top teams and trying to go for it all. The result was either going to be us getting off the pin end clean and most likely leading at the top mark, or getting worked and relegated to the back half of the fleet. Once the starting gun went, we found ourselves basically head to wind and not moving with Argo directly to leeward blasting off and taking the race lead.
As we tacked to port and searched for a clean lane, the boat fell quiet as we knew we were in for a long race and that we would be utilizing our throwout earlier than we would have liked. After not being able to find a clean lane until half way up the first beat on the wrong side of the course, we rounded the first mark in DFL and had a good look at 28 spinnakers in front of us. In conditions that are not favorable for mounting comebacks, we did a good job of staying mentally tough and picking off some good teams to take a 20th. Currently we sit in 9th place overall with the top 5 still being in reach, and we now have to keep clean and have good races from here on to grab a spot on the podium. Samba is looking tough after taking another race win and they have some good speed around the race course.
Despite the tough 2nd race, we are having fun as a team and the apres’ racing scene at yacht club is great with all of the teams getting together for coldies and food. The Camper Volvo team is here prepping for the start of their race in a month or so, and tonight is the Camper party which the Melges 32 fleet is invited to. There will be a lot of teams that will have switched over into party mode after racing today…hopefully we are not one of them.
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