Saturday, August 2, 2008

Gorge Challenge - Day 2


Whoa - 15 heats (both formula and slalom) in two days - we're getting a lot of racing in. The day started with quite a bit of breeze, but the clouds made things a bit inconsistent (especially on the inside), so Darren called for Formula. Different course today - short upwind leg with a starboard rounding (port starting made no sense with this setup), followed by a downwind around the start line, a longer upwind (which meant that there'd be some tactical calls to be made), and then a downwind finish off the boat. The first heat was pretty windy; it picked up from there. Heats 2 and 3, however, still had big holes in some spots, so slalom was still not indicated. Heat 4 got downright furry. I had a 3rd, an OCS, a 6th (I'd started in the 3rd row, being a bit gunshy after being over early, then had to claw my way through the fleet), and a 2nd.

At this point, despite all the jokes about how that would instantly killed the wind, Darren switched format to slalom to take advantage of the conditions (and to avoid the carnage that seemed inevitable with formula gear in those conditions). We got 5 heats in, and Darren called things off after that to avoid running us in the now somewhat fading late afternoon breeze. Things were pretty lit up on the 7.2; I placed 5th, DNF (after a gnarly collision with Derek on the line - took a chunk out of my favorite fin, but both of us got off without injury or any other damaged gear, so we both felt pretty blessed), 7 (after a spectacular wipeout), 3, and 3.

I'm sitting in 2nd for the formula part of the event; slalom has me in 6th at this point. Forecast is strong for tomorrow, so hopefully more slalom and a chance to move up a bit. Time for fin repair and some stretching now. Scotia already has results up (anybody ever wonder how she does it all?).

The level of competition is pretty high, especially in slalom (you can tell the Gorge locals have had a pretty windy summer so far...). Special mention, though, has to go to the Juniors who are not only racing their FE gear in some pretty epic conditions, but are also running slalom (some of them on FE stuff). Especially impressive are the three youngest competitors (Ben, Allyson, and Marion) - lots of spirit, and each of them is a stand-up sailor. Right on!

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