Thursday, September 5, 2013

Current Trumps

I have written several times about how tide trumps most else in a race and I was reminded of this once again last weekend.

I had a great start and was feeling pretty good - almost keeping up with our Kiwi sailor to the first mark, until he eventually turned on his Laser engine or something and became a distant speck on the horizon as he usually does.

And I was also feeling a bit smug because I was staying ahead of a rival (admittedly he had not been sailing for several weeks - but I wasn't about to let such a detail interfere with my smugness).  Then, he passed me when I did a sloppy upwind mark rounding and it was basically downhill from there.  I did everything I could think of to catch up and did so at one point, crossing just in front on a beat.  But the tide was running with the wind and that proved to be my undoing.

The windward mark was a channel marker which meant that to round it we had to sail quite high and point over to it, while being swept down by the tide.  My friend sailed about 50 meters higher on starboard before tacking to head to the mark and that made a huge difference by keeping him in the shallower water longer.  I tacked sooner, thinking I had enough to compensate for the tide and, in one sense, I did since I fetched the mark (barely). But I was struggling and pinching some of the time, while my friend was chugging away.

Live and learn - or rather re-learn a lesson I thought I had already learned.

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