Thursday, August 9, 2007

Nationals - Day 3 - Long Distance

Today we ran the long distance race, which counts for two scores towards the Formula title. The sailing instructions lay out the course - up from a start line off Crissy to a windward mark, then down through a gate in front of the yacht club, another gate off Blossom Rock, a leeward mark near the north end of Treasure Island, back up through the Blossom Rock gate, and finish in front of the club. I started on port and got to the windward mark in reasonable position, right behind Steve Bodner and Steve Sylvester. I jibed right after the mark to avoid the hole that was developing further in, but then got stuck with the windshadow from the oncoming parade of boards. Took me a while to get going, and the 9.9 (picked in anticipation of big breeze further down the course) had me pumping and looking for more power the whole way down.

Closer to the second gate, I finally got powered up enough and was starting to make up some places. I rounded the leeward mark and, in an attempt to catch up to the pod of leaders strung out before me, I decided to take a hitch and tacked. I got a good lift and decided to play the shift, hoping to stay in phase. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that while it was ebbing big out in the channel, inside above Treasure Island I was getting much less of a boost. When I tacked off, I crossed Percey by quite a distance; when I tacked back, he had me by several hundred yards.

The leaders (except for Seth, it seems), all overstood the gate off Blossom, and the rest of them followed them; I was looking for the gate and getting Blossom mixed up with another channel marker. I finally finished in 11th; that leaves me in 7th for now, but Al Mirel has pulled away quite a bit with his 3rd place finish today, and Bodner and Ben are both moving up with consistent low scores, plus they've got DNF's to discard.

Word has it that we'll be doing 4 course races tomorrow, then race slalom on Saturday. Results, links to photos, etc. are on the official Nationals Blog.

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