Saturday, October 21, 2006

Single Handed Race 2006

Last year Peter Jeal made a clean sweep. The Wednesday Evening Series, the Season Chamionship, the SF Cup and the Single Handed race. My hats off to a truely awesome
sailor, gentlemen and freind. He's an ambassador of our fleet and a tremendously talented person, kind and easy going with a bounce in his step. But this year I wasn't going to let it happen. I had to do something, take one of the events or prevent him from getting them all.
Well, I couldn't catch him on the season or the Wednesdays, but I went to two international regattas in Scandinavia and basically wrote off the year as a really fun, not so serious race season.
So all that was left was the single handed race. I did my homework on tides, wind, scouted the waters the day before, scrubbed the bottom of my boat as clean as I could and got out to the race course early to practice tacking, setting the jib leads and setting the pole by myself. I put myself into the right frame of mind that if I could just bottle that concetration I don't think I can be beat.
The starting sequence ensued and I positioned myself to own the pin at the start and pinched out Tom Reed jr. He had to go around and I thought I wouldn't have to deal with him for the rest of the race. Peter was ahead and to leeward, but was headed for shore and so was Chris, Bill and Rich. My research said hit the pin and tack out immediately and that's what I did. I wasn't going to second guess myself this day and was happy to see them all sail off into less wind and worse current. I got big time headed well before what I thought was a lay line, but decided not to take any more losses and ended up tacking on the sweetest lift/layline... one tack to the mark is always a plus when you didn't think you were going to make it and you didn't pinch to get there. Peter tacked under me to leeward by a lot... enough for me to have clear wind from him at the rounding. I make my rounding 1st to the mark, run forward set the pole and try to settle in to a shore hugging downwind leg to Blossom. To my suprise Peter gybes out to the middle for I guess is the last of the flood, the cone of Alcatraz, but I know better and go to shore. Chris follows Peter and I look behind me and there's Tom Reed jr. not as far back as I thought he should be. He positions himself to disturb my wind. We couldn't go inside Anita and the wind was more due west than usual and we were DDW the whole way. I didn't trim right, made a bad gybe and he was just fast. He passed me somewhere around the wave organ and deflated my optimism for dethrowning Peter the great. We jumped out into the building ebb at the end of the break water and made a run at Blossom. Tommy made a excellent rounding and mine was less than perfect and he was much farthure ahead than I'd liked. We made a few tacks to stay in the heart of the current and I felt like I was making up ground on Tommy, but with little hope now of passing him before the end of the race.
To my suprise Tommy rounded X and headed back to the harbor. I blinked a few times and thought I must be dreaming. Why is he giving me this race? I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth so I round A and head down to 6. Peter and Bill were duking it out behind me, but then the thing that always seems to happen to me happened... again. I sailed into a hole, but Peter and Bill didn't. Peter went inside and was coming on fast, Bill went outside and was over taking me. I just started shaking my head in disbelief. I gybed out to avoid Bill sneaking in for inside overlap and luckily caught a puff before either could get me. I made my rounding and headed out into better wind and better current. I settled in, found my layline and finished... 1st.
It's not the way I would have wanted it, but I'll take it. I've been the boat that has gone the wrong way and ironically against the very boat that should have won. Tommy was the better sailor on this day and we should all be concerned about him next season... he's good and fast. I love how competative our fleet is. We have a lot of guys who on any given day can win a race. I'm happy for Chris who has really become good this year... maybe having kids helps. It was also great to see Rich bring out his new to him boat (56) and give it a go. He did just scrape off all the barnacles, but what a great looking boat. So, Tommy went the wrong way and bailed, Madison went inside Anita Rock and was DQ'd, so Peter got 2nd, Chris got 3rd and the weather could not have been better for our annual single handed race. Thanks Chris for organizing it. Thanks John for being race committee.

Ever since I bought my boat I've been on a mission to get my name on all the same trophies my father has his on. Without realizing it I got my name on the 2004 season 2nd place trophy my dad won many years ago and now 26 years later I'll have my name on the same wooden rudder trophy my dad has his name on. I'm stoked for that. Check that one off the list.
Now the season is officially over... everyone please do you rain/snow dances I want to go snowboarding.


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