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This Article Last Updated: Oct 14th, 2010 - 15:13:49
After the first scheduled day of racing 54 boats are tied for first as we sat in the cafe all day. The good news is I won at hearts. Tonight the social committee, in Spanish form, scheduled the party to start at 23:00h.
Cold and wet does not even begin to describe how miserable the conditions were today. Our coach had seven layers on including thermals, dinghy spray gear AND off shore foulies and he was freezing all day.
Our forecast was for winds out of the north around 20 knots with rain and squalls all day. When we got to the start line for the first race the wind shut off and we sat there for an hour with the rain soaking through our layers. When the next squall came though it brought enough wind to start but by the time the starting sequence had ticked down to the starting gun, the wind had died at the boat end of the line and the fleet was stacked up at the leeward end. General recall.
Another delay and the wind settled down enough to race and Hamish and I got off the line at the leeward end with some real heavy weights around us. We were able to pinch off Robert Scheidt and hold our lane with the Norwegians but five minutes after the start, the Polish and Norwegians were able to tack and cross us and the rest of the fleet. We were pinned for another few minutes and by the time we were able to tack it was too late to get to the right side of the course. The wind went right at the top, and we rounded the first mark deep.
As we started sailing down wind, we spotted wind filling in from the left and were able to line it up just right and pass a lot of boats down the run. We picked up and few more boats on the second beat and rounded the last mark in the top ten. An early jibe at the mark put us in clear air and allowed us to work the waves uninhibited. We passed three boats to finish seventh, a great result considering where we came from.
As we prepared for the second start we noticed a wind line on the top left side of the course. The first pressure was going to be at the boat end so we started there in a big pack of boats. The French had a great start and we were not able to hold our lane and tacked away from the pack. As we worked right we kept getting lifted and by the time we had an opportunity to tack, it seemed like the whole fleet was in front of us.
We approached the weather mark at the same time as another squall opened up on the fleet. This time we did see out 20 knot winds and Hamish and I were able to jibe out while the boats around us struggled to stay in control. We had a lightning fast run blowing by boat the whole way and got back in contention. On the second beat we pegged it to the right side and came up roses rounding the mark in 6th. We worked our way down the run fending off a pack of Italian boats but missed the right gate which was favored by 25 or 30 meters. That put us back into the pack of boat hot on our tail. There was a lot of passing and pass backs on the final beat to the finish and we crossed the line in 10th. It was not until our coach came along side that we found out we were OCS.
Tomorrow we have another two races scheduled with equally wet conditions and who knows what the wind will do. My forecast is for 0 to 30 with 100% chance of rain and 25% chance of hail.
The phrase 'fools in the rain' came to mind this morning as Hamish and I de-rigged our mast and pulled it out of the boat in the poring rain with winds gusting up to 30 knots. When I finally made it into the cafe after getting the boat put back together I certainly looked like a drowned rat and received plenty of quizzical looks. It was worth it in the end as our speed was good after the adjustments we made.
The wind finally came to Palma after two weeks of light air sailing but the clouds and rain hung around. A few times today this bright yellow sphere appeared in the sky, but disappeared as quickly as it came. I'm not sure what it was but I hope it comes back.
Today we raced triangle courses with reach (across the wind) legs, which are fast and fun when it is windy. In the first race we thought the pin end was favored and started at that end but ended up getting held out to the left on a 15 degree header for the first half of the leg by the boats starting to weathe rof us. Luckily we had good speed and made it to the first mark in the top 10. On the two reach legs we were able to pass a few boats but the leaders put some good distance on the fleet and we were left to fight for 5th though 10th and ended up 7th in the fist race.
Our coach got on us a bit between races for sailing on the edges of the course and not engaging the fleet. The wind picked up to a solid 22 knots and we decided to start at the boat end. We hit the line with speed and out-hiked the boats around us to get clear air off the line. We had a good battle with Robert Scheidt (BRA) and Xavier Rohart (FRA) up the first leg and made it to the weather mark in first. On the first reach Scheidt caught us quickly and passed us to leeward and Rohart snuck in at the jibe mark. On the second reach we battled with Rohart, meanwhile Scheidt slipped away into the distance.
We held position the rest of the way around the course and only once looked like we had enough leverage to pass the two leaders. We crossed the line, wet, tired, but in third place. It was a good day.
Tomorrow was scheduled to be our lay day (day off or reserve day) but since we lost our first day of sailing to no wind, we will sail one race. The weather seems to be improving and we might see the sun by the end of the trip.
After finishing the Princess Sofia regatta with five bullets Robert Scheidt and Bruno Prada followed it up with another great regatta locking up the Spring Championships of the Eastern Hemisphere with one race to spare. They did it with the kind of moves that leave you wondering if they have an engine hidden away somewhere on their boat.
Yesterday Scheidt passed us TWICE on a reach TO LEEWARD. Today in very light conditions they rounded the first mark in 22nd and were 12th by the leeward mark and then rounded the 3rd mark in 10th and were in 2nd by the leeward mark. The Brazilians are showing impressive speed and smarts all the way around the race course.
The rest of the mere mortals struggled with a long day on the water. The rain and clouds disappeared but then too the wind along with them and left the Stars bobbing in the bay wondering how those two TP52s could move so fast with so little wind. Our first attempt at a race was aborted after two legs when the wind shut off completely. A light sea breeze filled in an hour later and we tried again in the opposite wind direction.
It was a long slow race and there was plenty of room to pass and be passed as the fleet split up the first beat and had miles of separation from the left to the right. Hamish and I were able to work our way from 14th at the first mark to a close 8th at the finish two and a half hours after the race started. We were just far enough back to be out of the battle for first between four boats including Robert Stanjek from GER, Scheidt, Flavio Merazzi (SUI) and Marc Pickel (GER).
Tomorrow is the last race of the regatta and four points separate second though sixth place. The mortals will battle it out for Scheidt's scraps!
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