Qualified for the Medal Race! Day 6 Europeans

May 18, 2019

Today started off very slow. We only had 2 more races left in the final series, but the day started off with very light winds. We were postponed onshore for about 2 hours. Around 1pm the wind switched to a stable direction and it slowly filled in.

We were finally released to go out sailing in about 5-6 knots. We were sitting 10th place going into the day, however 11th, 12th, and 13th place were close behind.

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Race 1 of today did not start off well. The wind was very light and everyone decided to start super close to each other. It was really hard to keep flow on at the start and when we went for our acceleration, we ended up fouling the boat to leeward because of close proximity. We had to do a penalty turn (360 turn) and start the race behind the whole fleet. We decided to bet on the left side of the course and made small gains going that way. We rounded the top mark around 18th place. The downwind was a bit of follow the leader and gains were hard to find. We rounded the gates relatively the same position. Unfortunately, some boats passed us on the final beat and leg of the race and we ended up 22nd. That was our worse race in the final series, so we ended up dropping it since we get one discard for the qualifying series and one discard for final series.

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After race 1 we were sitting 11th overall, one point out of 10th. We had ONE more race to try and squeeze into the medal race.

After Race 1 and talking with our coach Willie, we agreed that we were sailing too high of a mode upwind and needed to press more weight on the wire and sail about 3 degrees lower. Race 2 started off way better and we had a great start and lane going out left.  The wind increased maybe 1 knot or 2, but overall still very light. We made it all the way to the left corner and tacked back towards the mark covering a lot of the fleet. We rounded the top mark 5th and we were in great standing to move back up to 10th overall.

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On the downwind one of the boats behind us sailed a higher and faster mode so we ended up getting rolled, forcing us to gybe out early. We did not want to gybe out as early as we did, but in order to sail with clear air we had no choice. However, as we got towards the bottom gates, we actually gained on the boats in front of us. It ended up not being as bad as we thought. We rounded the left gate looking downwind and because we gained gybing out early on the downwind, we decided to play the same race track on the upwind. There seemed to be nice breeze coming down the right side of the course and when we tacked towards the mark we closed up considerable distance on the leaders! We ended up passing all the boats that went out left and rounded the top mark in 1st! Downwind speed is something we are still trying to get better at and we also think that kelp on our blades did not help us with our speed and we ended up getting passed by 4 boats on the last downwind. We were still happy with a 5th place.

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We ended up moving back to 10th overall and that concluded all the racing for the final series! We have qualified for the medal race! The medal race is one race that is only sailed by the top 10 boats overall after the qualifying and final series racing. The race is meant to be short and you earn double the points. This means that it’s really easy to move up and down the leader board, however you can’t drop below 10th place overall. Since we are 10th we have nothing to lose! We calculated the points and the best we can move up too is 8th place. Whatever our results will be tomorrow, we are extremely happy with how we have sailed this past week.

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Thank you for following along!

Anna & Paris

First race win! Day 4 & 5 European Championship

May 16-17, 2019

This European Championship has been quite the marathon!

Day 4 we sailed on the outside course and the day started off with 6-8 knots. The prediction was for a slight build, but when we got out there it was definitely a challenging condition, light and lumpy. Day 4 was one of those days that required full and complete concentration and after the racing you felt completely drained. Race 1 to be honest was a complete blur. We both tried to remember at least some of the race, but we can’t seem to remember exactly how it went. We were ping ponged back and forth through the fleet, but our biggest gain was right at the finish. We managed to come in at a hot angle with speed and pass a large pack from the right. In the 29 boat fleet we finished 16th.

Like predicted, the waves got a little bigger and wind increased to about 13-14 knots. Race 2 we had a better start more in the middle of the line. We went off left and protected the left side of the upwind beat, sort of like the race track we followed on Day 2. We rounded the top mark around 8th or 9th. Sailing in the front of the fleet has proved to be a lot easier than playing catch up and we finished that race in 9th.

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The wind and waves decreased a little bit for the final race of Day 4. We did not have the best start and had to tack out right away onto port. We ducked a few boats and had a clear lane out to the right side of the race course. We tacked back across the course a little too early as the race winners for that race came out of the right, but because there was no clear pattern to the day it made it hard to figure out what was going to happen. We played catch up the whole race not being able to pass boats and finished 19th.

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Today was Day 5 and we had a very early start! The wind was predicted to be great in the morning, but slowly die down to about 5 knots in the late afternoon. We had 3 races scheduled and this time we were on a different outside race course then the previous days we raced outside the harbor. It was extremely cold today! We got out there in about 13-15 knots and relatively flatter water because the wind came from the land.

Race 1 we strove for a clear start right under the pack at the committee boat. We hit the line perfectly and raced on to the left side of the course. As we got out toward the left corner, we hit a little lift and extended nicely on the fleet. We tacked right on port layline and rounded the top mark in 1st! From there the race was easy once again! We maintained the lead and followed the same game plan through the whole race. We finally earned our first gold fleet race win!

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Race 2 was a little lighter and since the wind was coming from the land, we could see the pressure come down the course in lines. Since not much had changed other than a lighter breeze we stuck with the same game plan and once again had a great start! We sailed the same path and rounded the top mark around 5th or 6th. The downwind was pretty straight forward staying in the pressure and finding the right time to gybe. We hit the bottom right corner looking downwind every leg and it seemed to pay off to either maintain or gain on our competitors. We finished that race in 6th.

We didn’t want to make things complicated for the final race of the day and we once again decided to have the same game plan as the other races. Nothing had changed very much and the shifts back and forth were relatively small. Once again we nailed the start and sailed out to the left side. We tacked on port layline and rounded the mark in 3rd! We passed one boat on the downwind and made our way back up the final beat. From there it was all about defending our position. Some boats went off right and the majority of the fleet went off left and since the left had been working well, we decided to cover the majority who went off left. This time we lost the couple boats that went off right, but we were okay with that because we couldn’t cover both sides. We got down to the finish and ended up 5th in the race, however the boat that finished right in front of us was UFD (over early at the start) so we actually finished 4th.

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With the finishes of 1,6,4 we ended up being the team that did the overall best for the day! We felt happy with speed, communication, and execution. Slowly piecing everything together! We moved up 5 places and are currently sitting 10th overall. We have 2 more races scheduled until the medal race. The points are still close, but we are excited to be in the position to fight for a medal race spot!

For results click here.

Anna & Paris

 

Gold Fleet! Day 2 & 3 European Championship

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

Cold, Windy, and Wavy: Day 1 Europeans

May 13th, 2019

Today marks the first day at the 2019 Volvo European Championship here in Weymouth, England. Weymouth was the host sailing venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. For those of you familiar with the area we have a cute little stable house on the hill in Portland and are sharing it with our Danish friends, Ida and Marie. We have been here for about a week and we have a long event ahead of us! The regatta will be 7 days long with 17 races overall, plus a medal race for those who are 10th overall on the last day.

Today was 13-16 knots with about 3 foot waves. We were scheduled first start of the day and finished 3 exciting races! There are 57 FXs so our fleet was split into two fleets, yellow and blue. We were in blue fleet today and although we don’t focus on results the first day, what we got overall doesn’t reflect how we sailed.

We started the first race with a great start, starting just below the pack at the committee boat. We had a great lane at go and executed our plan which was to hold our lane all the way left. Coming into the windward mark, we crossed everyone who went out right and rounded the windward mark 4th overall. We managed to stay in 4th place the whole race, however on the final downwind leg right before the gybe into the finish we hit a huge wave and pitchpoled (capsize). Everyone ended up passing us and because it was the last downwind we had no opportunities to pass boats.

Trying to shake it off and focus on the good parts of the race, we started race 2. We had a decent start coming off the line in the same spot, with the same game plan as race 1. Although we played the left side, we didn’t play it hard enough and the boats who went further left managed to come out better. We were still in the game, but chasing the fleet the whole race. We finished the race in 14th out of 26.

The left was strong the whole day, so the last race we made the same game plan. We had the best start, starting more towards the pin, and managed to sail out in front of everyone. We rounded the windward mark 1st and from there everything was a little easier as we sailed clear of everyone and fast! One boat passed us on the second upwind, but we were still happy to be sitting 2nd at the second windward mark. Unfortunately, just like the first race, right before the gybe into the finish, we hit a massive wave and pitchpoled again. 😦 We managed to get the boat up faster this time and finished 16th. The photographers also got a picture of us right when it happened. (See below and no one was hurt after it happened).

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Without the capsizes, we would have finished the day 4th, 14th, 2nd sitting about 9th overall, however we have to accept that this is not the reality. Although we are bummed about our finishes, we are not disappointed because we know we can be at the front of the fleet and we have very good speed when it matters! It is a very long regatta with lots more racing. We came here to get more practice in the windy wavy conditions, as well as build on our communication skills. The event looks perfect for us to work on these areas.

Tomorrow is a new day with 3 races scheduled later in the day. It will be windier tomorrow; however, we will sail inside the harbor so the water will be flat. Onward and upward!

Anna & Paris

 

Conclusions: Sailing World Cup Series Genoa

April 18-19, 2019

Sailing World Cup Series Genoa has come to an end as a light and tricky regatta. On the 4th day of racing we scored a 11 and a 6 in winds just as light as the previous days. That concluded the qualifying series which was suppose to finish on Day 2, however, because we didn’t complete 4 races within Day 1 and 2 and there was no racing on Day 3 because of no wind, the qualifying series ended on Day 4.

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We squeezed into gold fleet sitting 22nd and we had one day of final series to try and jump up in the results. On the final day of racing we had marginally better breeze and we managed to finish 4 races! We scored a 16, 13, 18, 9 out of a 25 boat fleet. The last day of racing consisted of really short races that concluded in really tight fleet racing. Two boat lengths at some points in the race would separate you from the top half to the bottom half. There was a lot to play for in most situations and it was all about learning how to win the small battles when they mattered most.

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In the end, we finished 21st in gold fleet. Moving up in the results every time we got off the water, even if it was a small change! Although it’s not the result we are looking for, we realize that every time we go racing there are many opportunities to get better. Especially in the conditions we had over the past week! We started this regatta knowing it was going to be a practice event, trying new techniques that we wouldn’t have usually done, and stepping out of our comfort zone. We have a strong appreciation for how challenging light air racing can be after this week and we are eager to get better in it!

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We will go home now for 2 weeks and rest before we head to Weymouth, England for our next event, the European Championships, starting May 13th-19th.

Thank you for following alongside us. We love all the support we can get!

Anna & Paris

Where is the wind? Sailing World Cup Series Genoa: Day 2 & 3

April 16 – 17, 2019

Not much has been happening over here in Genoa regarding the wind and racing unfortunately.

On Tuesday, since the 49ers had an early start time the previous day, it was our turn to start earlier. We were scheduled to have a 11am start, however we went down to the boat park and got postponed onshore until 2pm waiting for wind. Our D flag eventually went up and the FX fleet went out hoping to get some racing in.

The race committee started our race in a 3-4 knot dying breeze. We got off the line right in the middle in an okay position, but noticed that the very little breeze we had was shifting hard left. We tacked and crossed all the boats that started at the committee boat, however everyone that started closer to the pin did the same. As we got farther up the beat, we noticed that it wasn’t going to shift back right anytime soon, so we decided to ride the header back to the left side of the course earlier in what we thought was the best breeze to do that. Unfortunately, there were a lot more boats left of us than we thought and we rounded the mark at best around 20th.

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The wind has now dropped to about 1-3 knots and for a second we thought the race was going to be abandoned, but about half way down the downwind leg, we realize that the race committee was desperate to get any racing in, so they were going to keep us racing. We caught a few boats on the downwind beat by gybing early to the gates and rounded the right gate looking downwind. We had a much better last upwind beat trying to stay in as much pressure as we could to keep the boat moving as fast as we could make it go. We happen to pass quite a few boats on the last upwind beat rounding the windward mark in 11th. On the last downwind leg, we passed one more boat on the gybe and finished the race happily in 10th. The winners of that specific race was scored OCS (over the line at the start) and therefore we finished 9th.

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Despite not being more on the left side on the first beat after the start, we persevered through the whole race and never gave up. This paid off as we passed 10 boats over the course of our very very slow and light wind race.

On Wednesday not a lot happened as were had a later start and eventually were postponed onshore again because of lack of breeze. We sat around the boat park for awhile patiently waiting for any breeze to come in, but we were not lucky and racing was called off.

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Right now we only have a total of 3 races and we need 4 races in order to split into gold and silver fleets. Hopefully there will be some more breeze later in the week!

Anna & Paris

 

World Cup Series Genoa: Day 1

April 15, 2019

Today kicked off racing at the Hempel World Cup Series in Genoa, Italy.  We had two tricky races in light winds and finished the races with a 16, 14, putting us in 35th place overall.
We sailed in split fleets today for the qualifying series. Each fleet had 25 boats in it.  We have one more day tomorrow scheduled for qualifying races where we need to move up to the top 25 overall to make the gold fleet.  The good news is that the points are super close and we are only 10 points out of 15th place.  So every point counts tomorrow.
We arrived into Genoa around noon yesterday.  We knew we were coming in late and that was going to test us today, but we were surprised with how decently well we felt going into racing today.  Once we arrived, we headed straight for the boat park and got our boat put together and registered for the event.  A huge thank you to the boys 49er Squad for putting our mast up and wings on for us before we arrived!!!!
Then we headed off to find our apartment.  We decided we would walk and try to save money on the taxi fare.  The route said it was about a mile walk, but what we didn’t know was that it was a mile walk, mostly uphill and sometimes up some stairs.  However, after about 20 minutes, we made it and got to our accommodation.  The grocery store is about a block away so that makes cooking every day super easy.  Last night, we shopped, cooked, then hit the hay to get ready for today.
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Today’s racing was delayed a little, as the morning wind died and the sea breeze built.  We eventually headed out, but the launching situation is a little slow as we can only launch around 4-5 boats at a time, so it took a while to get in the water.  Then we sailed half way before getting picked up on a tow.  We got out to the race course just as they were putting up the warning flag, but then the postponement flag went up again, so we wanted to do our pre-race routine. So we trimmed in and sailed upwind a little bit.  We didn’t realized it at the time, but the horns on the committee boat were not very loud and we missed them pulling down the postponement flag and starting the sequence.  Unfortunately, by the time we got back down to the start line, we were about 1-1:30 late for the start so we had to play catch up.  And we did.  We didn’t catch any boats on the first upwind leg, but closed the distance to everybody so could make some moves from there.  We ended up passing 7 boats on the course and then two more because they were scored OCS, giving us a 16th in the race.
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The second race started very well.  We rolled the boat below us but didn’t shift back in to point mode soon enough and ended up fighting for a tight lane.  It wasn’t too bad as we tacked out and only had to sail behind two boats.  We had a great lane out to the right side, but that’s when things started to go a little pear shaped for us.  The boats on our hip started to fall down a little into us and the boats on the right started to tack and looked pretty good.  So we tacked to leeward of the right pack and lead them up to the top left.  But then a small pressure line came in from the right, but didn’t want to make its way down to us, so we started to loose some of the boats more right of us and also those who hipped up farther right than us. We decided that we had to do the same and we hipped out, but we had lost a few too many and rounded probably around 20th at the top mark.  We were able to pick up boats on each leg of the race and ended up finishing 14th.
Overall the results are pretty disappointing for the day, particularly the first race as that is a silly mistake that should never happen.  But we were happy with our speed and our calls for most of the day so that was a win.  We are looking forward to tomorrow with more light winds foretasted.  You can check the results here.
Thank you for your continued support.
Anna and Paris

Final day of the Princess Sofia Regatta

April 7th

The Trofeo Princesa Sofia regatta wrapped up yesterday. We finished in 13th overall and top American boat! We didn’t have the greatest last day of racing which moved us away from qualifying for the medal race on Saturday, so for us our racing ended Friday!

We had three races on Friday in a building breeze and swell! First, let’s just say the racing was fun and wet and got a little wild in the last race of the day as a squall came through towards the end of the race.

In the first two races of the day, we didn’t have the greatest of starts. We held a tight lane out towards the left which was where we wanted to go to, but we would have liked the freedom to put the bow down a little more.

In the first race, we were sitting about 10th when Anna missed the trap and fell off. Luckily she dropped the main sheet and Paris was able to grab it and Anna held onto the trap bungee and stayed with the boat. We didn’t capsize and got back on the boat quickly, but unfortunately lost a couple of boats. We managed to pick up one or two on the final leg to finish in 13th. The second race was similar except we both stayed on the boat that race and finished with a 16th.

Heading into the final race we needed a very good race to qualify for the medal race. We needed to get a top 5 at least. We had again a decent start and rounded the top mark in a top 10 position. We were set to gybe on a great lane back to the leeward mark where we would have picked up a couple boats who went a little too far, but then it didn’t go as planned. We started a gybe and then our leeward wing hit a wave and spun the boat and we whipped into a capsize. We lost the whole fleet and then we were playing catch up! We sailed hard despite being last by a long way knowing that anything can happen. The last downwind leg was when the squall started to come though. The wind picked up even more and made the waves exciting to navigate around. We focused on our boat and sailing fast (and upright) and ended up beating 6 boats across the line to finish in 19th.

Overall, we are happy with our performance. We had many races in the top 7 including finishes and first mark roundings. We were happy to see the work we put in February and March starting to pay off. We still have a long way to go and we know that but we are happy to see glimmers of what we are looking for.

This was the second event of our Olympic Test event and Pan American Trials, with Miami being the other event. Despite being top American at this event, we didn’t have enough points (overall positions) between us and our fellow USA teammates and they won the qualifying spots. Nevertheless, we we will keep training hard as the Olympic Trials start later this year.

We head home for a week before we head back to Genoa, Italy for the next stop on the World Sailing Cup.

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Thank you all for your continued support!

Anna and Paris

Day 4: Princess Sofia Regatta

April 4, 2019

Today was an awesome day of sailing! It was windy! Wavy! And fast!…and wet at times. We finished the day with a 12, 7, and a 21 to put us 11th overall.

The wind was up and the temperatures were down when we launched this morning. The wind was in the 16-22kt range for our racing and the temps stayed in the high 50’s. The waves had kicked up to a nice 3-4ft chop which made for some exciting downwind sailing.

The first race of the day we had a great start and didn’t feel smooth around the course. We capsized upwind on a tack on the second beat and rounded the top mark in 21 , but sailed well enough on the downwind and passed 9 boats to finish 12th.

The second race was much better. We had a decent start and sailed smart to get to the top of the fleet at the first mark. We held 4th downwind and then on the second upwind leg, we passed the boats in front of us by playing to the left of them, but a few more boats played harder left than us and we lost a few finishing 7th.

The last race was the most heart breaking race of the day! We sailed an awesome first leg and rounded the top mark in 3rd. Downwind we rolled a boat and gybed on a tighter layline. Unfortunately we found a couple waves that were a little too close together and couldn’t get our bow around them and ended up pitchpoling. It was such a bummer at the time, but we tried to sail hard and catch up as much as we could, but the damage was done and we ended up 21st. We could have sat and sulked about it but I think we took away the fact that we were quite happy with the way sailed to that point.

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Tomorrow is the final day of gold fleet racing with three races left to decide the top 10. We are looking forward to the racing! You can follow along here.

Thank you for your continued support

Anna and Paris

Day 3: Princess Sofia Regatta

April 3, 2019

Today was the first day of Gold Fleet racing and the conditions were great, but very tricky.  We had three races.  The first race we were scored OCS, then finished the day with a 3,7 to move us to 9th overall.

We had a later start again today as the boys fleet sailed the “morning shift.”  We headed out in a slightly building breeze, but the sea state was already there with an underlying swell and chop on top.  There were low clouds with breaks that provided some conditions that kept us on our toes.

The first race, we had a pretty good start, obviously because we were over lol, but that aside, we didn’t have that much of an advantage off the line.  We had a tight lane that we held for a while then were able to break free and put the bow down and go fast.  We tacked when we wanted to and about 30 seconds after the tack, we thought we were going to make a cross on a boat, but missed it by a couple of feet and had to spin a circle for breaking a rule.  We spun our circle, but unfortunately it was early enough in the race that a lot of boats passed us and we struggled to come back through the fleet that race.

The second race was much better.  We again had a great start and sailed in a lane off the line.  This time we made the tack that we wanted to and crossed the boats that we needed to no problem.  We rounded the top mark in third and held that whole race.

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The final race was the trickiest of the day.  We didn’t have the best of starts, and had to tack out almost immediately.  We found a couple of tight lanes early on that lead us to be able to get out into a wider lane and sail the shifts that we wanted to.  We climbed back to round the top mark in 6th.  We held that on the down wind leg.  On the second upwind leg, we tacked early out of the mark and headed to the left side of the course which ended up being a little more favorable.  We made up some distance on the other boats that rounded in front of us and rounded the top mark in 4th.  On the downwind leg, we got caught a little high on starboard and the two boats behind us were able to surf into a lower lane which lead to them rolling us after the gybe.  We lost those two boats and right at the finish we lost one more to finish in 7th.

Overall, we are pretty happy with the day.  We are having fun and still learning a lot every race!  Tomorrow the conditions are looking a little different, so will be fun to race in something different.

Thank you for your continued support of our campaign.

Anna and Paris