September 16, 2011
Frost warnings have been issued in Minnesota, the leaves are turning color and my 2.5 yr old daughter Lily is talking about sledding and Santa Claus. Wtf. Where did summer go? Did it even happen? I remember something about a few brats and cold beers on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, but the inside of airplanes, hotels and marinas seem to be a lot more prevalent. Fall is usually time to put a wrap on the sailing season, catch your breath and start planning for the following year, but with a few more regattas drifting later into the calendar, the time to kick back and watch some football on Sundays will have to wait a few more weeks.
Our E Scow team just returned from the E Scow Nationals in Torch Lake, MI where we scratched and clawed our way to a tough 6th place. From the first start, we felt like a Packer Fan at an institution of higher learning; frustrated that we could not keep up with everyone around us, and wondering if 11am was too early for our first beer. We were too aggressive on the starting line when we shouldn’t have been, and not aggressive enough around the race course when needed. To me, a lot of this comes down to spending quality time in the boat and having good boat speed. Yes, sailing a lot is good, but quality sailing in the boats you race is most important. And going for an extra speed edge with untested rig settings can sometimes be a good thing, but in a one design class where the settings are pretty much universally known and used, straying from that model is not the best idea unless you know for certain it will work. Set it, forget it, and go sailing. Watching Chris Jewett and his team get the inches they needed, work out of tight spots and basically do no wrong was a sign of a team that was relaxed, having fun and not worrying about a turn or two on their shrouds. Overall, it was a very fun event and sailing on Torch Lake is an experience I will never forget, and the size of our bonfires will be hard to match. Making smores with a 20 ft stick is harder than it seems.
After venturing back through the Upper Peninsula and over the top of Lake Michigan back to Minnesota, it was home for a few a days and back to the airport to depart for Palma. The Melges 32 Worlds begin on the 20th, and it is time to hit the reset button and get mentally focused for another grueling event. Two days of Pre-Worlds and 5 days of racing are scheduled at the Worlds, and with the World’s best teams prepping for this event since last year, it is going to be a full street fight at every start and mark rounding.
Our team on Shakedown (Sick Trix) is hoping to build on our 4th place finish at the Copa del Rey which took place in Palma in early August. We are still a relatively new team, and when compared to some of the other 32 programs we are kind of the Bad News Bears when it comes to our preparation and amenities. Teams like Samba, Bliksem, B-Lin, Argo, and several others have arrived early, some by private jet, to get ample speed testing and allow for last minute sail selection that will be optimized for the forecast. On our team, we have a few guerrillas up front that can get the kite up and down, we have stock Quantum sails, and when we head to the Pre-Worlds starting line on Saturday, we are going to do our best to take down the Yankees of the 32 fleet. At the very least, we will make our presence known.
Stay tuned for reports from Palma.
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