Sunday, December 1, 2013
Oman First Race Day
My first 2 races in a Worlds - what a great experience !
The wind was pretty light and the Great Grand Masters had their own starts - yesterday we were lumped together with the young folks in the Grand Masters.
In both starts I got away with no major issues. In the first race about half went right and half went left. I went right but left paid off better. Coming to the downwind mark the race was shortened and I must admit that I was not sure what the flag meant telling us that a mark had been removed and were to proceed to the next mark - but there were plenty of boats ahead to follow. Mark Bethwaite finished first. No big surprise there.
In the second race I decided to shadow Mark and see where he went and how his boat was tuned. He started at the pin end going left. I was amazingly able to keep up with him for about half of the beat and then he turned on his motor or something and his transom got smaller and smaller. Needless to say he won the second race.
I was doing a bit better, coming in ahead of 2 other boats until I made a stupid mistake - an Aussie was luffing me up and I tried to duck him and misjudged it, and bumped him. After taking my 720 I ended up in the same position as the first race - next to last.
And then the best part of the day followed as I was de-rigging my boat. Mark Bethwaite came by and recognised me and started chatting - totally down-to-earth and friendly.
I told him I was trying to figure out how his boat was tuned and that I couldn't see much difference in mine. He told me that for beats in light winds he puts on the vang about 10 cm from block to block and then eases the main sheet in and out at each wave. I will try that tomorrow, although I expect it takes years of practice to get right.