May 14 – 15, 2019
Today was the end of the qualifying series here at the 2019 Volvo European Championship and today was a big day for us because after Day 2 we were sitting 32nd and needed to jump at least 7 places to make it into the top 25 and solidify a spot in Gold fleet.
Yesterday (Day 2) was another breezy day and the race officials decided to move our fleet to the inside course into flatter water. Although the water was for sure flatter, the breeze was still full on. We were second start of the day and the wind was at it’s peak of about 18-22 knots as we sailed out for our first race. For the first start of the day, we executed a port start and we were the first boat to the right side of the course. We had a great execution and followed our plan out right and managed to round the windward mark in 3rd. As we made our way down to the bottom gates and in our final approach to the rounding, we made a wrong tactical call which required a very difficult maneuver and we ended up capsizing once again. This put us back to 26th place because it took us a while to get the boat back up right. We finished the race in last despite starting off in a great position. Since this is the third time this has happened to us we were even more determined to stop capsizing and keep pushing it at the front of the fleet.
We proved ourselves right because the next 2 races we finished with a 6,7. We ended Day 2 with a 26,6,7 and we were sitting 32nd overall. Just like the previous day, we have been very fast on the upwind beats to get us to the top mark in a great position, but just need to practice better boat handling (which is easy to fix) so we stop capsizing in the windy and/or wavy conditions.
Today we had another 3 races scheduled to finish off the qualifying series. We were early start today and the wind was about 10-13 knots. We were once again placed on the inside course.
We had a great first start and held our lane pretty much all the way to the left side until it was clear to tack back right. We managed to cross most of the boats who went out right and rounded the windward mark in 4th. From there is was pretty straightforward, stay in pressure and keep things simple. We finished that race in 5th as one boat passed us on the final downwind into the finish.
Race 2 was a little more hectic to begin with, but managed to be okay. We were lined up to have another great start, but there was one boat who was a lot more eager than everyone else and at 5 seconds reached down over the fleet. They decided to stop reaching when they were right on top of us and not only were they clearly over, but at the gun we were instantly in bad air. We made a quick decision to tack right away, ducked a few boats that started farther up the line, and luckily had a clear lane out to the right side. We were once again really fast and as we got up the course on the right, our right corner worked better and we crossed the fleet that went left. We rounded the mark 2nd and managed to hang onto that 2nd throughout the whole race.
In our final race of the day, the wind was actually dying down to about 8-10 knots. We decided to change our settings accordingly and crossed our fingers it wouldn’t die anymore. We wanted to start at the committee boat because we felt like it was shifting more right as the wind decreased, but everyone else had a similar idea. The committee boat was extremely crowded and because we couldn’t take too much risk we compromised with a start a little farther down the line. We had a great start with a few boats around us and sent it left until it was clear to tack back right. We were definitely more left than we had originally planned, but with the great boat speed that we have, we made it work and rounded the top mark 4th. It was a close call because the right definitely was more favored, but we were happy to have made our side work. On the downwind we decided to go straight for a bit, but pull off an early gybe because we thought it was shifting right throughout the race. We rounded the right mark looking downwind because it seemed more favored and once again although we wanted to go right, we went off left. It was hard to tell exactly what was going to happen, but we trusted our boat speed and since we were in the top 5 we didn’t need to worry too much about a pack of boats passing us. We made the left side work again and finished the race where we started, 4th.
We ended the day with a 5,2,4 and moved up 16 places! We are sitting 16th right now and most definitely secured a spot in the Gold fleet. We are happy with how we sailed today and how fast we felt.
We now have 4 days of final series. Tomorrow will be another breezy day with three races scheduled on the outside course! We are excited to get out there in the waves and race with the top 25!
Anna & Paris