December 6th, 2019
Gold fleet racing and Day 4 of the regatta kicked off this morning for us at the 2019 World Championships. We had three races scheduled for the top 25 boats after the previous days qualifying series. We entered the day in 9thplace overall, had an okay day, and are currently sitting 10thoverall.
The day started with a building NE breeze. Race one wind was around 7-8 kts and by the time we finished our last race the wind was around 12kts. The course was tricky providing, yet again, quite a mentally tough day. We finished the races with a 24, 6, 11.
Race one started a little tight for us. We were able to hold our lane off the line, but for a while it was a very tight lane. Once we finally got our bow free, we were heading to the left side of the course. We played our side and again had to tack away out to lay line costing us 5-6 boat lengths. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, the entire fleet rounded the mark within 70 seconds of each other, which means that it was a very crowded mark rounding and every boat length counted. We rounded the top mark in the back of the pack and struggled really to pull ourselves out of it. We crossed the line in 24thwhich was our worst score yet. It is now our drop score, and so in its place we counted an 18th.
Race two was our best race of the day. We had a pretty good start, and had to do a couple tacks about 1-2 mins after the start, but eventually got our lane and just focused on getting the boat to go fast. We were headed to the top right of the course and the numbers on the compass were up and down the whole way across. As we got closer to the lay line on the right, we saw even more pressure and as the pressure hit, gave us a 8 degree knock so we tacked and charged into the top mark on a good lay line. As we crossed over the fleet we were psyched to see that we had moved up to first place and were leading the fleet. We maintained the lead around the leeward mark with second place following us to the right hand side of the course, but third and forth place splitting and were headed left. They also lengthened the course at the bottom mark so now we had an extra 400ish meters to sail up wind. The second place boat (NED 1) hung on our hip for about a minute and then tacked to cover the left. We played our compass numbers a little and decided that it wasn’t quite the right time to tack. We stayed a little longer and then when we felt comfortable with our numbers and that now most of the fleet was heading the other way, we decided to tack. We just focused on our boat and trying to keep it going as fast as possible. We eventually got over to them after what seemed like a really long time, but as we were heading that way, NED 1 had tacked back in the middle of the course and were now headed up to the starboard lay line. We decided that we couldn’t cover everyone, and that was one boat, and the rest of the fleet was still more on the left so we stuck with our guns and covered the left fleet. We rounded the top mark again in first place having gained a couple boat lengths on the boats behind us. We were looking for the marks downwind, and knew that our finish boat was a yacht. We also knew that our pin marks were yellow. Usually they pick up the marks so we thought it was odd that we saw a yellow mark, but we just thought maybe they hadn’t gotten to that point yet. We were powering down the downwind leg and all of a sudden we see another yacht, farther upwind than the one we had our eyes on. It wasn’t nearly as obvious and unfortunately it was our real finish boat. We quickly gybed but we were very over stood. Thankfully we only lost a few boats, but it was a bit frustrating as we could have had a race win under our belts. The next race we were exactly sure where the finish line was, and also the course marshals had asked the other yacht to move as to not confuse us. (NOTE: we weren’t the only ones caught off guard…just got the worst of it)
Race 3 of the day was again a fairly close one with the top pack. The wind was starting to get a little tricky and had picked up to a beautiful strength. We had a good start and did what we wanted up the beat. The few boats that started a little closer to the pin end legged out on us a little bit, but we got our lane up the course when we wanted it and cruised up there. As we got towards the top, it started to get a little shifty with quick little rights then lefts. Nothing super crazy, but it was a case of we were crossing a few boats and then they were crossing us. We got to the top mark around 10-12, and the pack was close for the rest of the race. We weren’t as aggressive as we should have been about getting a little more to the right on the second beat and lost a little distance on the few boats in front of us, but pretty much held our spot and crossed the line with a decent score for the day.
Tomorrow we continue Gold fleet racing with three more races scheduled starting at 1:55pm local time. You can watch the live coverage via 49er.org/live.
Paris & Anna
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