Friday, December 6, 2013
Oman Race Day 4
It is like Groundhog Day here for the weather. Everyday the same as before. So, once again relatively light winds building during the afternoon with a bit of sloppy chop.
Today we had the longest AP and just barely finished 2 races before dark. It didn't help that the youngsters in the Grand Master Class were not properly disciplined and had a general recall, further delaying things.
The first race I got a decent start at the Committee Boat - there was a gap near it and sailed into it and accelerated to the start line. But I was too close to another boat and was getting dirty air so I tacked immediately. I was 4th to the first mark, feeling quite good that I had held on that far. Downwind I lost a couple of spots to boats that had gone further left.
Near the top of the next windward mark I got rolled by 2 boats - not sure what I was doing wrong, but I think I was pinching a bit. Anyhow, I got to the last downwind mark in a cluster with 2 other boats and we battled it out for avoiding last place. I rounded behind the other 2 but almost touching their sterns and we then headed for the finish. I was lucky in that one of them (as he told me later) initially headed for the wrong mark and was quite a bit behind. I battled the other one and almost caught him, finishing just a few seconds behind.
The second race was better - once again I had a large gap at the Committee Boat and this time I took full advantage, accelerating along the line, listening to the countdown on the Committee Boat and rounding up just at the signal. I wish I could do all starts that way.
The chop was getting sloppier and it was harder to work through the waves. I am getting a bit better each day in dealing with the waves, but clearly a lot of work to do. At the top mark I was about 7th or 8th but we were all fairly close. Going downwind, I caught a few good waves but didn't pass anyone. By then I was starting to get tired - and I assume the others were also. But I put some effort into the next upwind and it paid off. I gained a spot and was pleased to discover the top mark was the finish line. I rounded ahead of 2 boats, making for a good end of the day.
Sailing back into port just as the sun was setting, I had a nice chat with the fellow I had nipped at the line - an Aussie who has been coming to these events for many years and just another example of the great camaraderie one finds.