Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Day at the Races

This last weekend I felt like I belonged on the poster above - another lousy day at the races - and for the second time in a row I could not really put my finger on why.  I won't even try blaming Karma this time. 

On the other hand, I did finish well, so, overlooking the first 90% of the race and 90% of the other boats, I did very well and I guess that is some small consolation.  After dropping behind dramatically I did finally catch two boats that were a good 50 meters ahead.  First, I gained on a downwind leg by avoiding the straight downwind layline to the mark. I came up onto a broad reach and gained some position with the higher boat speed and then gybed back toward the mark, sailing by the lee. In each case I was sailing a longer distance but gaining well on the boats ahead who were just going straight downwind. 
Then, rounding the final mark for a beat to the finish I took a very careful look at the wind on the water. The other boats went off on port tack toward the deeper water where the tide would be against them. I had generally avoided the tide before but I noticed this time that even going toward it would be a mistake since the wind was weaker in that direction. I headed off on starboard and sailed until I overlay the mark just a bit (to compensate for the tide which would still be pushing downwind) and came storming back and finished ahead of both.

So, overall another lousy day, but at least I finished it on an upbeat note.


  1. This article sums up for me what is uniquely to be cherished in competitive sailing. Conditions, especially in this year's weather, sometimes take the strategic game from me: my boat doesn't like light air. But each race offers a tactical game or two with a few boats. When we grab these opportunities, we can learn and refine. Nice piece.


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