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December 2, 2011

With breeze hovering in the 15-21 kt range on day 1 of the 2011 Melges 32 Gold Cup, our team on Volpe did well enough to stay in the hunt for the regatta sitting in 2nd place, but the feeling onboard as we returned to safe harbor at Bahia Mar was that we got away with one, and that we’ll need to be much cleaner on Day 2 with a forecast that is just as fresh, if not more.

While every team had their own issues that were topics of post-race debriefs, the rust that gathered from our team not sailing together since July was shown most at leeward marks where we needed to pull off a stellar spinnaker takedown at a high rate of speed.  On the last take-down of the day, the call was made for a leeward drop as we smoked into the gates on starboard gybe.  With a miscommunication on what type of drop we were doing from the team on the front of the boat to the back resulted in the spin sheet, tack line, and halyard getting blown at the same time, and instead of the kite collapsing and getting pulled into the boat, it filled a good 30-40 ft away and a moment or two of silence fell over the boat as we all knew this was not a good look.  Soon after we were on our side with the kite falling into the water and turning into shrimp net Forrest Gump would have been proud of.  Amazingly, we were able to get the kite back into the boat with some quickness, swap it out for our smaller backup kite before the top mark, and salvage a 6th place.  We got away with one.

The good news is that our upwinds were solid with good speed and tactics.  Ed Baird did a good job hitting some nice shifts and keeping us in clean areas and letting our boat speed go to work.  Warpath was on fire today posting 3 bullets and our hope is that we step up our game while the leaders shown a sign or two of faltering.  It was a great day of Melges 32 racing with boats blasting around, surfing waves downwind, and if the forecast holds for tomorrow, it will be even more of a handful than today. Full results.  Some great photos capturing the speed of the day from Joy Dunigan, and John Payne.



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