February 1st, 2020
Since there was no racing for the 49erFX fleet on Day 1 of scheduled racing, today was our first race day! With the temperature still mostly hanging on from yesterday’s heatwave and an increase of humidity, this morning started with little wind on the race course and rain showers lurking in the distance.
After breakfast and riding our bikes down to the club, we rigged the boat and just as we should have been getting ready to get changed the heavens opened and the rain came down. Thankfully though, it didn’t last long, and it actually brought the wind so we were only delayed for about 20 minutes.
As we were sailing out, all of a sudden the wind swung about 70 degrees and the temperature dropped about 10 degrees, and then kept dropping for the rest of the day. The wind, however, picked up and the racing conditions were awesome. Our course was right under the shoreline which made the racing quite tricky, but very fun at the same time. The race committee wasted no time in getting racing started. We got out to the course, managed to change our settings according to the wind strength, and we were well within the sequence by the time we got to the line. We hadn’t had a ton of time to look around, but we had our numbers and so we had a plan. 3,2,1, go…we pulled in the sails starting Race 1. At the start, Anna dropped the main sheet by accident, but we managed to save it. We decided to tack away quite quickly after that. We cleared out and then tacked back onto starboard and focused on our plan up the beat. At the top of the course we had caught up to the top 7 and were pretty pumped with our speed. On the downwind we may have passed a boat, but everyone got to the bottom gates around the same time so it was hard to say where we were. Upwind we focused on our plan again and rounded the top mark in second. Paris picked a great track downwind and we crossed the line with a 2nd place to start the regatta.
We could then take a deep breath and analyze what we were seeing on the course. We made our plan for the next race and Paris got us off the line with great speed. We sailed where we wanted to and rounded the top mark in 1st. Downwind we held our lead and rounded the bottom mark still in front. By now though we were starting to get some weeds on our blades and we were starting to feel them affect our speed. We struggled a little from there and had so much on the last downwind leg that a bunch of boats passed us and we almost capsized in a couple gybes because the load on the tiller wouldn’t allow Paris to steer. We ended up crossing the line in 11th. We were a little disappointed, but we learned a huge lesson that we were able to apply for the rest of the races.
The next race, we again had a great start and lead around the race course from start to finish. We felt quite good, fast and in sync with each other which made the sailing quite fun although you could never relax on the course with the wind.
The final race of the day we changed up our starting plan a little and we still had a good start but at go, the jib sheet slipped out of the cleat so it made the acceleration a second later than we liked. We were able to hold our lane and we got away from the boats around us. The wind started to get quite tricky on this race and we started almost overthinking what was going on. We rounded the top mark in about 12th, but possibly fouled someone, so on the first downwind we ended up spinning a penalty turn. This cost us a few boats that we eventually caught up again at the bottom of the run. Upwind we sailed fast and were making gains, but called the last puff into the top mark slightly wrong and had to double tack up to the layline instead of being able to make it around. We ended up catching a couple boats right at the finish line to finish the race in 13th. We learned a lot about the race course today; valuable lessons that we can take forward into Worlds in a weeks time.
We are currently sitting in 8th place with 4 races completed. There are 2 more days of racing left and tomorrow we go in to Gold/Silver fleets. Our racing starts at 1pm and the forecast is for great wind again, but slightly chillier temperatures. You can check out the results here.
Anna & Paris