Tuesday, March 22, 2016
I recently took the week off from my day job to be on the Jury at the Asian Sailing Federation Championship in Abu Dhabi. It was really a great experience to spend a week with top International Judges and see some great sailing at an Olympic qualifier for Lasers, RSX and 49ers from almost 20 nations.
But, the week saw some absolutely weird weather in Abu Dhabi - with rain and even violent storms. I have been in this country for almost 7 years and never seen anything like it - and colleagues who have been here their whole lives say the same thing. The photo above is just before the storm hit - as you can see it went from day to a very dark sky instantly. Bits of debris were flying through the air and it was a really quite a spectacle.
Lots of rain also - which is a problem for a city which typically gets rain only a few days a year. Just as when it snows in a southern city in the US, with no snowplows or salt, nature takes charge. There was flooding of some areas and in the hills further north, the wadis were very full.
Needless to say, all racing was cancelled due to the thunderstorms and winds gusting to over 50 knots. But by the next day calm had returned and it was back to the light winds we had been coping with all week.
For the medal races I was on the team umpiring the FSx and the 49ers and 49er FX- but not the Lasers.
One lesson I learned from being on the water all week is how important it is to always remember to fully complete penalty turns. As I witnessed in a couple of cases, it is easy in the heat of the moment for a sailor to forget where he started and blithely head off with one gybe or tack short. So, if you are doing penalty turns, make sure you don't. Do something like saying to yourself "gybe 1", "tack 1", "gybe 2", "tack 2". Or "starting on starboard" and knowing you have to finish on starboard.