Sunday, May 10, 2009

Races #5 and #6

After much consideration, I decided it best to keep a bottle of Gammel Dansk on board at all times to utilize upon a good performance on the water. Jerry Langkhammerer used to keep a bottle of sherry on board for the same purpose and we drank from it often together when I crewed for him. He thought there was something to the salt air and the sherry that made it right after a good race....
Knox Buoy race area isn't a big secret when it comes to strategy, stay right til it gets light... if it's flooding and it's always flooding when they schedule the Knox racing and last Saturday was no exception. It didn't matter how favored the pin end looked, it was clear the mission was to own the boat end and flop over as soon as possible and get into the good current first. And that's exactly what we did in the first race. Wilson was second and Peter Jeal was 3rd.
2nd race wasn't quite so clear as the current was changing and the wind was definitely stronger across the course. We implemented the same strategy anyway and held the fleet down until we tacked and too soon under Fred Ansersen in USA 74. Fred had nailed the start and was launched off the front. We were footing to maintain our clean air but when we looked over our shoulder the whole fleet was out pointing us and we tacked to get clear. We tacked and sat on Wilson in hopes it would drag him down into the middle of the fleet, but it didn't. He footed off and rolled over everyone to leeward. After a series of strategic tacks we found ourselves in a 3 way drag race to the mark on starboard. I'm still kicking myself for what happened next... Fred didn't make the mark, we did and the boat to windward, Bill D., did as well. I thought I had more room, I travelled down and eased the sheet, we were rounding first. The boom grazed the mark and Wilson saw us and made it clear that he did. We did our turn and found ourselves in 5th. We rallied back to 3rd for the leeward rounding, but in a funky south wind dead zone shift and found ourselves battling and back in 5th. I broke off toward the boat end as the south wind was a lift and hopefully enough to make the line and take 3rd. Didn't work and I found myself in a lee bow situation with Goebel. I had a beefy huge crew who knew what to do and we pinched... hard and stalled both of us almost to a dead crawl, but our bow was still out in front of Mike and we cut him off in time to tack on port, power up and beat Peter Jeal who was in 6th, but pulled off a 5th. Mike got 6th and I felt bad, but if I hadn't it I for sure would have been 5th and i need every point possible to keep up with Team Wilson this year. Wilson's won, Tommy jr. was 2, Bill D. 3rd and we got 4th. Quite the disappointment after being first to the windward rounding and screwing it up. If the season were to end today and there were no throw outs, Wilson would be ahead by 2 points and we'd be runner up again. But it's a long season and there is much racing to go. The fleet is so competitive and everyone is sailing so good. Mistakes are even more costly and everyone is ready to pounce on those mental lapses.... Game on fellas. All these battles only makes us stronger for the SF Cup when our European friends come to challenge our skills.
... we had a good first race so the Gammel Dansk found it's way to our glasses and we raised them, Skål!


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