Wednesday, August 8, 2007
US Nationals Day 2
With San Francisco conditions barely showing its true colors- racers got another light to medium day on the water for day 2 of the US Nationals. By 2pm the Formula fleet got the water for 2 back to back races in 15-17 knots then a short break on the beach to finish with a 3rd course race in 16-20k and a building flood tide.
More and more racers fought disaster off with one break down or another but the fleet leader- Seth Besse showed true consistency with another 3 bullets. Just behind him was Eric Christanson who scored a constant 2-3-5. Ben Bamer broke his string of 2nds places with a 14 and DNF today- moving him back in the fleet to 10th overall
I had another day in the top 5 with a 4th, 5th and finally finishing strong in 2nd in the last race.
Part of todays strategy was avoiding the big disasters as other sailors seemed to find themselves with. I tried to sail conservatively but had to make sure I had the means to move ahead in the fleet. That meant rigging an 11.0 while most of the fleet was on their 10.0's. Downwind I was able to make my move by sailing smart and really trucking in the puffs. Upwind the 11.0 was a handful but manageable with the flat flood tide.
Heres a quick recap on todays racing-
Race 1-off the line on starboard only to find myself tacking early before the seawall to get a lane upwind. I rounded deep in 10th but immediately realized I wouldn't be passing anybody by following the parade down the reach so instead I gybed and caught a decent puff outside to round the bottom mark in 3rd. I stumbled a bit on the rounding as I had to gybe and immediately round and Wells took the opening I left. I struggled for clear air the rest of the race following behind him to finish 4th while Besse and Eric were in front.
Race 2- the breeze was building to a steady 18k and I had my hands full upwind. Again- an average start and I rounded the top mark just behind the pack. I rode the puff down till it got light and gybed near the shore- catching a few guys who tried to ride out the puff. Near the leeward mark I gybed back to be in good position just behind Wells and Andreas. Upwind I fought for clear air and a lane but was forced to tack early of the layline as a container ship made its way through the fleet. Holding down the 11.0 in the breeze took a bit of concentration and finesse but I found myself still in 6th near the top. Off the breeze David took himself out by sailing to the finish while the rest of the fleet went for lap 3. Andreas kept the pressure on but now Al was in the hunt at the rounding. We made it to the top mark overlapped and immediately gybed for better breeze. I had my 11.0 strapped and had no power after the gybe. Al got the jump and was out in front of me running towards the finish. As we approached the middle of the course- we ran into the container ship again and were forced to gybe early. This time I got the jump on Al and finessed my 11.0 to 5th.
Race 3- After a 30 min break onshore we started again at 4:20. This would be my race- wella t least a better one! I started well on port between Seth and Ben sandwiched between them on the first beat. As I rounded in 3rd I looked back to see a rapidly approaching fleet hot on my tail. Any mistake and I would be shot out the back door. Ben sailed himself into a hole on the first downwind and was out of the race. Meanwhile it was Seth in front with me holding on in 2nd with a wild ride on the 11.0. Andreas held onto 3rd with Al in 5th. Back in the fleet Steve and Mike finding themselves buried in the middle of the fleet.
With 6 races down and no throwouts its still a race for 2-5th place.
Its Seth's regatta to lose at this point and the conservative approach would be to sail smart and not take any major risk till the final day. With tomorrow's long distance race counting double- it another chance to move up in the fleet.
Also check out the San Francisco Chronicles coverage of the event here