Last Day of Pan Ams
Today was the fifth and final day of the Pan American Games. Heading into today, I was in 7th place, but the points were incredibly close amount the top seven. With the top five boats making the medal race tomorrow, I was hoping to have a good day and move into that top group.
After a short postponement ashore, we headed out for two more races in a building sea breeze. In the first race, I had a great start in the middle of the line and tacked to the right. I played the middle right well and was in the lead group. At the top, a few guys got to the right of me and came back with pressure. I ended up rounding in 4th. After a long reach in 4th place, I took the inside route on the downwind leg to pass two boats and move into 2nd at the bottom! Again, I played the middle right on the beat and was able to extend a little on the guys behind me. I rounded the top comfortably in 2nd and was able to hold that spot until the finish.
The points were tight going into the last race. Julio Alsogaray (ARG) had clinched the gold medal already, but 2nd through 7th were separated by a mere 5 points! 34 (CHI), 35 (BRA), 35 (URU), 37 (GUA), 38 (USA), 39 (CAN). Four of the six of us would make the medal race and have shot at the podium, so I needed a good race and to beat some of these guys if I wanted to race tomorrow.
At the start of the second race, I liked the boat and the right side of the course. I had a great start at the Committee Boat end of the line and immediately tacked to the right. Shortly after the start, the fleet tacked to port too and everyone was headed to the right. But as we sailed out there, the guys that were farthest to windward got a bit more pressure than the people to leeward. They began to lift off the whole way out. I sailed all the way to the right, hoping the breeze would come back, but it never really did. I finally tacked back, but found myself in 9th or 10th at the weather mark with the five guys I needed to beat in the top five! To make matters worse, I was in a tight pack of boats that was moving slowly on the reach, so the top five extended a bit. At the reach mark, I dove low again and had another good run to catch up some distance and move into 7th at the bottom. On the second beat, I linked together a few shifts to move into 5th place, but could catch up no more as the top four began to cover each other well. I worked hard on the downwind, but couldn't get anyone else and ended the race in 5th.
So with a 2-5 I could only move up to 6th overall, one shy of the medal race. While I'm pretty pleased with my speed and sailing this week, I can't help but be a little disappointed not to have a shot at a medal tomorrow. 2nd through 7th was sooo close this entire event; it would have been nice to make the medal race and had one more high stakes race to sort out the results! Tomorrow's race should be interesting, though, as 2nd through 5th are only two points apart which means that whatever order they finish in will determine their overall position!
Regardless of my result, my experience down here has been incredible. It's been so cool to represent the USA and enjoy the Pan American Games. I've had a blast!