Wednesday, November 04, 2009

SF Cup 2009 - the pictures and some of the stories

Cassandra's photos:
Peter Lyons' photos
Race #1 and #2 - Race #5 - Race #7 -

Going into this regatta... I actually almost didn't want to enter it. The school year had started and I'd be missing three days of work in the 2nd week of school, not too cool. But, this is my sport, this is what I do and how could they not understand? I'd just tell them the truth and be OK with it. Nope, felt guilty the whole time. The kids I teach need stability, they need that presence everyday or they think you don't care, then the job gets really tough, like it wasn't tough enough before. I told the kids exactly what I was doing and many had no concept of sailing, let alone racing. They asked things such as... 'How do you start? Do the boats all line up on the start line, then go?' 'Do you get scared when the boat tips over?' 'How do you make the boat go without an engine?' ...Uh, right. When we have a few hours I'll get back to you all on those questions. But I told them I have a good chance of winning and I'd be back on Thursday and give them an update. I really didn't think they would care or remember why I wasn't there. Man, was I wrong.
The first two races went almost as I saw them in my dreams... Olympic Circle, Christoph leading, Wilson second and us third. And going into the regatta I felt like we were the 3rd best boat out there with a chance of winning the whole thing. The only difference in the first day results from my dreams was in the 2nd race when a bad leeward rounding by Wilson, a clearly boat end favored line and Tom Reed jr. changed everything. When Wilson went the wrong way and went really slow I felt like I had to capitalize right then and there thinking every point is going to matter in this regatta... so, I sat on him... hard, for probably too long. By the time we tacked and realized how skewed the finish line was it didn't matter. I was convinced we would be two, Wilson three and Christoph, well... gone and that I was battling Wilson for 2nd place in the regatta. Christoph was covering the two of us and somehow let Tommy in to win the race. Christoph got the two and we got the 3rd place, Wilson forth and we netted a double gain. We were 3rd around the leeward gate and third at the finish, no gain no loss. But Christoph got a 2 so we were one point closer to him and by putting Wilson in 4th (almost 5th or 6th, it was that close) we ended up tied with him for the day instead of two points behind. I won't go into the details, but Wilson wasn't happy with me when we got to the docks. But it was sound tactical racing and like I said, we were the 3rd best boat with a chance and this was a chink in the armor for both Christoph and Wilson... I'd do it again if I had to.
My favorite race was race 3... local knowledge was king on the city front and we needed it too. Medium winds, building Ebb on the shore, last of the flood outside in the middle of the bay. Was it too late to go out and chase it on the downwind? That was the guessing game at the windward mark. But leading up the windward mark on the first beat was my best move of the regatta. After a not so good start and being in about 6th maybe 7th on port approaching the lay line, I look around and notice all the boats ahead of us are Euro's and I did an insta-tack knowing they had no idea just how strong the ebb was actually pushing us up to the mark. Just like that we went to 3rd and really close behind the leaders. Christoph was ahead but going straight down wind directly into the current. We broke left and at the critical moment I restrained my urge to wave bye bye to Christoph (Torben really, as I really enjoy his competitive arrogance and we'd been... talking for some time even before the regatta). I still wasn't sure it was going to work out, but when I saw Tom Reed jr (with sr. on board) going the same hard line out to the current, I knew I had done the right thing. We were launched. Lead the whole way from then on and beat the 2nd place boat by 2:30... yes, we timed it. Two 3rd's and first?! We were so in this regatta and I really felt at that point we had a legit chance of winning the whole thing. The bummer of the story is Wilson. Lucky. Yeah, I said it. Lucky. HE was deep in that race, way back and on the second down wind went deep into shore and gambled. Got the wind pressure and went from damn near last to 3rd!
The next race, as so often was the case this year, Wilson had just that much more than us and beat us to the first crossing and the windward mark. He gained enough separation to not really be affected by us and was gone. Christoph was OCS, but then went home for the day? We were all baffled by this. With his skills, rocket ship of a boat and talented crew they could have salvaged a top 5 finish. The outside flood was gone at this point and hugging the shore was the next best strategy. Per Jorgensen was right on my ass all the way down the city front, we had no chance to break away, it was a parade. But we were 2nd and should have stayed there. At the leeward gate I made a gybe too early and let Per get past us. So, we ended up 3rd despite one of my own countrymen unnecessarily sitting on me for a bunch of the 2nd beat. Even with the screw up, it only cost one position and that would come back to haunt me later. Score at this point: Christoph 1,2,2,ocs. Wilson 2,4,3,1. Us 3,3,1,3.
Races #5 and #6 at Knox. I don't remember race #5, I just know we were 3rd, Wilson won and we held off Christoph. Race #6 I remember... the wind was fading at the leeward rounding and we were all bunching up. We had passed Per Jorgensen to take the lead and I was thinking right gate the whole way down. But Sean was adamant about left gate and I had him on board for just this type of moment where I needed to focus on making the boat go and for someone else to tell me what to do. It worked in that we stayed ahead of Christoph and Per Jorgensen who was becoming more and more of a threat, but Per Buch went right gate and beat us to the finish and not by much! Another point I'd love to have back because Wilson had a bad race and ended up 10th. Now things are interesting. We havent had a bad race and we have 15 point going into the last day no matter what we do on the course. With a throw out coming the worst we do is a 3rd. Wilson and Christoph don't have this luxury going into the last race, but the points are so close... here's how it broke down; We were tied with Christoph and if we were in the top 5 we had to be ahead of him to the finish. If we could sucker Wilson into 4th place or higher we'd win the regatta. Or if we were 1st, Wilson would have to be 3rd or he's win on all the possible tie breakers. That 2 I gave up to Per really hurt and the 1st I gave up to the other Per really, really hurt. Well, none of that mattered because we had a bad start, my fault. I was fighting for the boat end and so was everyone else. I should have been farther down the line like Brock who got launched and was leading the race for much of it. The race happened and we salvaged 4th place at the 2nd windward mark. Wilson had passed Christoph by staying high and doing the old Banana line to the gate (better pressure and on the last third of the run the current swings you down to the mark... local knowledge on the bay, nice move Wilson). The kicker to all this is the last leeward rounding. Right gate is favored and as Brock makes his rounding and punches up hard to protect, Christoph rides up his stern and hits him, then hits the mark! I can't believe my eyes. I had all but given up at this point and now we just have to sail clean while he does his turns and we get 3rd in the race and 2nd for the regatta. For some reason Brock goes left and when we cross at the finish line we nipped him by a hair to get 2nd in the race. But a mute point as one point at this point doesn't matter. Wilson wins by 2 points and earned it. I sailed the best I could with a two year old jib and that's how it ended.
When I got back to work every time I'd turn around I'd get asked by one of my students, How'd you do? I had to tell them 2nd place and they actually showed empathy... although one kid made mention that I was the first loser.
My sailing goals have not changed, I still want my name on all the trophies my father has his on and with that 2nd place I did something he had not. His best finish in the SF Cup was 3rd, so notch that one on the belt and keep on working toward that ever elusive season championship... then I can rest.
The 2009 SF CUP Results:


Blogger Bill said...

Just stumbled on your site, and as I own a folkboat, I had a read. Interesting to know it will fit a container, That opens up the world for cruising. We were down in your bay , anchored off Sausalito, in 1999 in our wooden schooner Shiriri en route to S. Pacific and Australia. When we got home we sold our big boat and bought a 30 year old beat up fiberglass Canadian built Continental'folkboat and I have enjoyed rebuilding it. I look foreward to reading deeper into your site. Too late of course, but how about 'Folk' rather than 'Junk' in your title. Of course Hassler had a junk rigged folkboat.... Cheers Bill.

8:18 PM  
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