|District 15 Regatta Report|| |
Sun Apr 1st, 2007 through Mon Apr 16th, 2007
Winners Bruno Prada and Robert Scheidt, Photo by Rubén Ballester
| Final Results for six days and ten races|
Princess Sofia Trophy Report – Day 1
I am back in Europe for the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma di Majorca, Spain. Majorca is an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea to the south of France and to the east of the Spanish mainland. The regatta is an ISAF Grade 1 event and part of the fledgling World Cup of Sailing and includes all 11 Olympic Classes plus the invited Dragon class. I am sailing with Hamish Pepper (NZL) while his crew and Andy Horton (my skipper) sail the Americas Cup.
Day one saw light and shifty conditions out on the water and many classes did not even get a race started. The Stars are the largest boat competing so our course was the furthest out to sea and we actually got a nice sea breeze. In the first race the boat end of the line was very favored so Hamish and I battled for a good starting position at that end. We tacked out immediately into clear air and were able to work our way up the right side of the course.
The conditions were very tricky with ocean swells coming from the right and lots of confused waves over the swell. We had to constantly move around the boat to keep it balanced and moving fast. We were able to succeed at keeping the boat going and made it to the weather mark first. The course was short and the wind was light so we were able to stay between our competition and the next mark for the rest of the race to finish first.
In the second race we were favoring starting at the boat again but with 3 min to go, Hamish saw a left shift coming. We sailed down to the opposite end of the line and were able to start and cross the fleet right off the line. The wind picked up and made the racing even more physical as we still and to move with the waves, but now had to hike hard also. We exchanged tacks with the lead pack of six boats for five legs and lost a few right at the finish by over-standing the finish line (sailing past the shortest distance) to finish fifth.
Robert Scheidt won the day with a 2, 2, followed by Pepper/Nichol with a 1, 5 and Matthias from Poland with a 6, 1. We are scheduled to sail two races a day through Thursday and then the top 10 boats will sail a "medal Race" on Friday. We then take Easter weekend off and stay in Palma to race the Spring Championships of the Eastern Hemisphere next week.
Princess Sofia Report – Day 2
The course for the first race was considerably longer then the previous day's courses with the weather mark just out of sight. Racing up the first leg the boats on the left looked to be in more pressure and had a better angel to the mark. Many of our competitors tacked out to chase the left but Hamish spotted some pressure further right and went for it. When we came ashore many of our friends commented that we "came out of nowhere" to round the weather mark second. The right shift that propelled us to the weather mark held and we reached back and fourth to the finish in second place behind Lars Kiewning from Germany.
Just before the second start of the day the wind built enough to churn up some white caps. Hamish and I dialed up our rig and started just below the pack at the boat. We had good speed off the line but were positioned between Robert Scheidt and Xavier Rohart (2nd and 3rd place in the World Champs) so we decided to tack out rather then fight with the best in the world. With one short tack onto port another right shift we were on the layline in no time and tacked just to leeward of Alex Hagen, World Champion from Germany. Rohart came and tacked on our bow and it ended up being three World Champions battling for air on the layline.
We rounded in the top ten and jibe-set to reach towards the leeward marks. Everybody held position on the next two legs as the course was so skewed to the right. At the second weather mark the race committee moved the course to square it up to the wind. The subsequent run brought the fleet together as the wind diminished down the run. The leeward mark caused quite a traffic jam and a nice game of bumper boats ensued with entirely too few protest flags.
We escaped with only three boats running into us and went for the only clear air we could find on the left side. The wind shifted right and we finished 8th to bring our point total to 26 over two days which puts us in first by seven points over Xavier Rohart.
Tomorrow we have another two races scheduled and the conditions look to be similar.
Day Three Report
After Hamish and I completed a short warm up we turned back towards the start line and spotted our class flag (signaling less than 5 min to go) and after sailing a minute down wind realized the P flag was up too (less than 4 min to go). Just then the P flag came down (1 min to go) and we were still two minutes from the line. The fleet started and sailed by us as we raced back to the starting line. Other boats were caught out also, Xavier Rohart did not even have his main sail up when the race started and four other boats started late.
Hamish and I sailed our hardest as the wind built though the race, whipping up some decent waves allowing us to surf down wind. We were able to pass boats and ended up crossing the finish line 10th.
The second race saw the wind building even more and we made some adjustments to our rig and made it to the start line in plenty of time. Unfortunately, we hit the pin boat at the start and had to do a penalty turn. By the second weather mark we had moved into the top ten but when we tried to cut off a few boats at the weather mark we did not make it around and had to jibe out. By the time we found another gap on the layline we had let a dozen boats pass and were back in the cheap seat again.
We worked our way to the second leeward mark and decided to go left. Just after we rounded, the wind went 20 degrees right and continued to shift right. We did all we could just to hold our position, and to end a bad race with an exclamation point, a Russian boat hit us just before the finish line when we were on starboard.
With a 10, 17 on the day we moved down to third place. Mateusz Kusznierewic (POL) moved from 7th to first with a 2, 2 on the day and Robert Scheidt (BRA) showed incredible down wind speed winning both races and moving into second. We have two more races tomorrow and two on Thursday before Friday's medal race.
With all that is going on there is one thing for sure, Robert Scheidt is fast. He won both races again today in very tricky conditions. Hamish and I were trying some new things, like many of the other boats in the fleet, but we just didn't feel right today. It is one of those things where we were not slow, but we just didn't feel good and so you start playing with things and loose focus. The end result was a 6, 9 today with keeps us in third place with two fleet races and a medal race remaining. Marc Pickel moved into second place and second through sixth is very close in the regatta.
In the first, and only race of the day we had one general recall and a start that should have been a general. With one minute and thirty seconds to go the fleet was lined-up right at the line and a micro puff blew down the line and all the boats lurched forward a length. At thirty to go I told Hamish I saw my line sight and we were well over the line. The boats around us trimmed on at 20 to go and we went with them. We were a good three or four boat lengths over when the gun went off and there was only 1 boat called over -- the Spanish who sailed up the course before the start. This has been the case all week with the Finn class and really makes for bad racing.
The race went on and was dominated by big shifts. Hamish and I made it to the weather mark in 35th and jibe-set downwind because everyone ahead of us was reaching to the leeward mark. Four boats behind us split from the fleet on a flier (aka hail mary) and ended up rounding the second mark in the top ten after a big left shift.
On the second beat we hung it out to the right where we saw a big, dark cloud and caught a nice righty. Even though we over stood the layline, we still rounded in the top 15. Again, we could lay the finish line from the weather mark and reached towards the finish in a big pack. Right at the line the wind died and Hamish and I were able to keep the boat moving and squeak by the committee boat to finish tenth.
Our tenth place finish moves us back to 5th overall. Robert Scheidt won his fifth race in a row to lock up the victory as long as he takes his victory lap and finishes last or better in tomorrow's medal race. Second through eighth place is very tight going into the medal race with points counting double and we could easily end up anywhere from second to eighth in the regatta.
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San Diego, California 92106 USA
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