Great Last Day and Into the Medal Race
Today was the final day of racing before the top 10 face off in the medal race tomorrow. The Lasers had a 10:30 AM start and sailed two more races in a building breeze. The first race started at about 8 knots, and the breeze built to about 15 knots by the end of racing.
In the first race, I had a great start at the boat and tacked to the right. After sailing on port for about a minute, I tacked back to starboard in a nice shift. I had most of the fleet underneath me, and we all sailed across the course. At the top, I lead the group back to the mark and rounded in 1st place! I stayed the same on the reach leg and took the low road on the downwind. At the leeward mark, I took the course-right gate mark leading Paul Goodison (GBR) to the right side of the course. Bruno Fontes (BRA) was also in the mix and took the other gate mark. He tacked pretty quickly and came to the right with us also. As we sailed across the course, Bruno got lifted and got ahead of me. I stayed ahead of Paul to round the last windward mark in 2nd. On the run, Paul went high and got around me, and I settled for a 3rd place. Not a bad race though!
For the second race, we sailed an inner loop trapezoid course. I had a good start in the middle of the line and held my lane for a few minutes after the start. Bruno and Johan Wigforss (SWE) were punched and established an early lead. The fleet was incredibly close and very even on the beat. I was just able to cross a few boats coming out of the left to let me round in 4th place! When I turned downwind around the mark, there were about 20 boats all within striking distance! I was fortunate to sail a great run, moving up to 3rd place at the bottom. Bruno and Johan were pretty far ahead, and it turned into a race for third place. I held 3rd the entire beat, but made a pretty big tactical mistake at the top of the beat. I let a few boats get stacked up on my hip on the layline, and when I went to get in line I ended up underlaying and hitting the mark. So instead of being in 3rd, I had to do a quick 360 and fell back to 10th. (That's how close the racing was!) I held 10th until the finish line.
So I was really happy with how I sailed today. The second race could have been a bit better if I didn't make that mistake, but overall I'm pleased with my results.
The story of Gold fleet has been the dominance by Bruno Fontes from Brazil. He's won the last five races, four of which have been in a competitive Gold fleet. He's been getting great starts, jumping ahead, and using his incredible speed to extend from the fleet. He's really sailing well.
Tomorrow's medal race should be interesting for a few reasons. Bruno and Paul Goodison are tied on points and guaranteed at least a silver medal, so expect a match race from those two! The other story line is the Canadian Olympic spot that's up for grabs. Dave Wright is in 3rd place and Chris Dold is in 8th. Dave has to put at least two boats between the two of them to get the spot. With the points pretty close, it's going to be interesting to see each guy's strategy tomorrow. It'll be fun to see all of the action close up!