Day Three Report
We had four more races today, the second day of racing here at the North Americans. Much like yesterday, the sailing was very tricky and frustrating at times. We were sent out at 9 AM for a 10 AM start in a light Northerly offshore breeze.
The first race was perhaps the craziest. I started at the committee boat and quickly tacked to go right. Shortly after the start, the entire fleet tacks to port and can lay the windward mark! The pressure caves a little on the left (that saved me!) and I was able to round the weather mark in about 15th. At this point, the breeze died to almost zero and I went very high in search of new breeze. I got the breeze first and rode over the fleet into 2nd place! I was 2nd for most of the downwind, but two guys passed me right at the end, putting me 4th at the first leeward mark. On the second beat, I played the left hand side and took advantage of some building pressure to move as high as 1st for a bit. But at the end, the breeze backed to the right and Lee Parkhill, Thomas Barrows, and Evert McLaughlin came across my bow into the mark. I was able to pick off Thomas and Evert on the downwind and even reel in Lee a bit, but on the final upwind, things got crazy again and Thomas and Evert passed me back by getting a big righty right at the finish. I crossed the line in 4th, only a few boat lenghts from 1st. While I was bummed to get a 4th when I spent most of the race in 2nd, it was a crazy race and could have gone a lot worse!
The breeze shifted a little left for the second race and there were hopes of a sea breeze building. The race was sailed in mostly 4-6 knots though. I had a great start towards the pin and won the left side, rounding in first place at the top mark. I was first at the reach mark, but the fleet panned out behind me on the downwind and it got really light. A few guys got me at the bottom and I rounded in 4th place. I again headed to the left for the second beat, but lost two guys who went hard right. I closed the distance on them on the downwind leg and was just able to nip Rob Crane and Luke Ramsey for 4th in the second race.
The third race was the breeziest of the day with about 10 knots. I was yellow flagged by the judges with about 30 seconds before the start for sculling, and I did the fastest 720 of my career. I then was able to sneak into a small hole and still get off the line cleanly. I was very lucky. I played the middle on the first beat, but lost a little bit hedging out to the left towards the top. I rounded in 4th place and passed one boat for a solid 3rd place finish.
The final race was perhaps the most frustrating. The race started at about 8-10 knots, and I sailed a great first beat to round in 1st place again. What made things even sweeter was that a lot of the "players" were in the high teens at the top mark. What a golden opportunity to put some points on people! I sailed a mediocre downwind, but was still winning at the leeward mark. I was even winning about half way up the second beat, but on the right side of the course, when the breeze started to die and go hard left. Just when I thought I was going to put a lot of points on the other guys, I saw Bernie Luttmer and Lee Parkhill coming in hard from the left hand side. They ended up getting me, and I could only salvage a 7th.
So it was a frustrating day, a day of missed opportunities. I don't like to play the "I should have had a ____" game, because everyone can play that. But it wouldn't have been unreasonable for me to have a 2-1-3-1 today. The only consollation is that I'm still very much in contention for 1st place. The scores haven't been posted, but I think that Lee Parkhill is three points ahead of me, and I'm about five points ahead of Bernie. We have a 10 AM first start tomorrow, and we can't start a race after 1 PM, so with some good breeze we might be able to get two more races in.
Results should be posted here soon. You may have to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see them (I had to when I tried looking).