|District 20 Regatta Report|| |
Sat Jan 7th, 2006 through Sun Jan 8th, 2006
| Report by Austin Sperry:|
This year I sailed with my old skipper John Kostecki. John had not been in the boat since Barcardi Cup 2003. Larry Suter has been coaching me this winter so I decided to work with him again during this regatta. Friday John and I decided to go for a sail as it had been a while since we sailed together. In the morning the breeze was 25-30 kts from the northwest. We decided to rig the boat, get lunch, then make a decision on sailing for the day. Well, the breeze looked as if it had laid down a bit and we left the dock. As we sailed downwind on starboard gybe the breeze started to build … we dug the pole and broke the mast. I think we both saw the day of practice lasting a bit longer than 35 minutes.
It was a very long tow in after we drifted about a mile towards Cuba as we tried to clean up the quick sail we’d had over Biscayne Bay. We made it back to shore, took the stump of a mast out of the boat and put a new rig in. The weather forecast for Saturday was calling for much lighter breeze. This was a problem as our Z4 main was in ten pieces after our mast fell down. Mark Reynolds of Quantum arranged to have a sail sent overnight for Saturday delivery so it would arrive before we left the dock. Friday was a long day for a half hour of actual sailing.
Saturday morning was a repeat of Friday with more wind. We decided to use the Z6 sail for the day. The Z6 is a fantastic sail that Paul Cayard, Phil Trinter, Andy Lovell, Mark Reynolds and I developed for the Olympics last year. It has a bit more luff curve along with a few other changes but all in all is similar to the Z4, with a better range in windy conditions. We left the dock a bit too early as we didn’t realize how windy it was. John sailed high and on a tight reach trying to save our sails and bodies before the race began. Sailing out to the race course we had a game plan. Basically, we wanted to have a good time, stay out trouble, get off the starting line and hit all the shifts.
The first race we sailed very conservatively. We started at the committee boat and had the freedom to sail where we wanted. About half way up the beat it looked really bad on the right side of the race track. We were patient, played the shifts and got around the top mark in the top 20. Downwind we made some nice gains, again staying patient playing the shifts and sailing on the edge of the race course and sailing in clear air. We rounded the right hand gate (looking downwind) and started off on starboard. We both felt that what we saw on the run with pressure and angle was that it would pay to be on the right side going up the next beat. We passed a few more boats on this leg and made it around the top mark in good order and headed for the finish. Again we were patient and stayed in the pressure with a clean lane and finished the race in 6th place.
In a 3 race series with no throw outs you need to stay out of trouble and have a bit of luck. Race 2 started with a dying breeze and again we opted for a safe start at the committee boat. We had a decent start, hit the first two shifts and played the right side of the course. On the right there seemed to be a little more pressure and possibly more favorable current. We rounded the weather mark with a nice lead. We continued on the run playing the edges of the race course and were really working hard to stay in the puffs. We extended our lead by the leeward mark and took the pole down a bit early as our leeward mark roundings need some fine tuning. On the next leg we sailed the shifts and kept our heads out of the boat. It was tough sailing as the conditions required quite a bit of gear changing. The breeze would allow me to get over the side sometimes for a minute but it was a lot of straight legging which is not that much fun. We stayed on the compass up the next beat and extended more. Downwind we had the same philosophy: stay in the puffs, work the boat and work together. We won the race by a hefty margin.
Sunday morning the sun was shining and the breeze was about 7 kts. We decided to use our new Z4 that Reynolds shipped out for us the day before. I was a bit nervous to use a brand new Z4 for a race as I like to put a few hours on the sail before we race with it. We sailed out to the race course as others opted to get towed to the starting line. It felt good sailing as we needed the practice and it allowed us to get our heads into the game on the way. It might sound weird but it was really relaxing just sailing, no coach barking at us, no gas smell on the tow, it was really nice just sailing.
We arrived at the starting line and began thinking things out. All weather predictions had the breeze going right all day long. The breeze started from a direction of 10 degrees and was forecast to march right to 90 degrees throughout the day. We had a 2 point lead going into the last race over Mark Mendleblatt and Mark Strube who were knocking on the door.
With about 2 minutes to go until the start the committee boat really started to get jammed up with boats. We did not want to risk an OCS or a bad start so we sailed down the line and got a nice start about mid-line. Mendleblatt started just to weather of us and we sailed on starboard for a while. Once we got headed we both tacked. Now Mendleblatt was to leeward and ahead and the breeze kept going right, so it was not looking good. We had to take a few transoms and were tacked-on a few more times until we broke free and rounded the weather mark 35th. Mendleblatt rounded about 29th. The leaders all gybed around the weather mark; we didn’t. There was a small group of us that bore away and opted again for clean air.
The five of us who bore away made out huge! We rounded the leeward mark in 12th, sailed up the next beat on the right side of the course where we had good pressure and managed to pass a few boats. We stayed in phase and finished the race in 7th place. Reynolds got more right than we did on the last beat and edged us out at the finish, but we won the regatta by 12 points.
The weekend started out with a broken mast, but by taking things slow and steady John Kostecki and I were able to overcome adversity and win a US Olympic Team Qualifier.
2812 Canon Street
San Diego, California 92106 USA
Phone: +1 619 222 0252
Fax: +1 619 222 0528
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