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Melges 32 Worlds – Solid First Day »

September 21, 2011

The saying goes that you cannot win a regatta in the first day, but you can lose it.  Keeping this on the forefront of our game plan for day 1 of the Melges 32 Worlds, we tried to keep our sailing as clean as possible and let our speed do the work both up and downwind.  After fighting hard for a 12th in a first race, and having an easier time with our 4th in second race, we currently sit fifth overall and 10 pts off the lead.  If we can say we are still in the hunt headed into the last day, we should be in good shape.

One odd feature about this event is the on the water umpiring system that implemented by ISAF.  Not only is it very confusing and took about an hour to explain at the competitors briefing, but the umps have a ton of control of what is happening on the race course compared to what we are used to.  Normally they will serve an ancillary role and witness an event so they can better make a decision in the protest room, but at this event they been given the power to penalize on the spot and really change the outcome of the race with whistle and a red flag.   If someone fouls you, instead of simply protesting them you now have to first fly a yellow flag and appeal to the umpires and wait for a call on their part.  It is a lot like the umpiring system in match racing, with the main difference being that the umps have to watch 29 teams sailing within inches of each other instead of just two.

In the 2nd race we found ourselves hearing whistles and a red flag pointed at us when we got too close on a gybe just outside the finish and went from a very good chance at 2nd place to a 4th.  It was a mistake on our part when we didn’t leave enough room as we gybed from port to starboard, but we also had an umpire following us the entire downwind leg seeming very eager to make a call.  With the entire protest process being out of the competitors hands, it will be important for us recognize where the umpires are and step off the gas and sail clean when they are around.

Samba was tough on day 1, and in the 2nd race they shot out to a huge lead by taking advantage of the right side that paid huge.  There is still a ton of racing racing left and with the difference from the front of the fleet to the back being so close, it will not be hard for a team to have a great day, followed by a tough one.  We are looking to battle hard again and keep in the hunt after day 2. Forecast is for lighter breeze than day one. Results here.


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