Solid Start to O'Day Championship
Today was the first day of the O'Day Championship, US Sailing's Men's Singlehanded National Championship, in Sheyboygan, Wisconsin. Fifteen boats from around the country qualified to attend this three day event.
I launched at 9:15 for a 10 AM first start. As I got to the race course, the breeze died to almost nothing and some rain moved through. It wasn't a very warm welcome to the event! After the rain stopped, we started our first race. I had a good start to leeward of the fleet and lead the charge to the left. I really liked the left and set myself up well. About 2/3 of the way up the beat, I was looking good and decided to consolidate in front of most of the fleet on my hip out to the right. I tacked over to get in front of the fleet, but a huge lefty came in and I went from first to about 8th. I had a decent downwind and caught up to about 3rd or 4th on the next beat. This time, I hedged myself to the left of the group, but a 30 degree righty came in, and I was on the wrong side of the shift again. I rounded in 8th and caught one boat to have a mediocre 7th in race one.
After the race, the breeze was freshening, and the Race Committee was about to start us when all of a sudden they sent us in! A little confused, I sailed upwind for half an hour back to the dock, and when I got to the boat ramp, the RC quickly turned around and sent us back out. Apparently there were some serious storms on the radar, but as soon as we got in they had dissipated. Back out again!
Finally, we got into the groove and banged off four solid races. I had a good race two, leading off the line and winning pretty comfortably. In the third race, I had a good start, but struggled at the top to commit to a side. I rounded in about 7th and staged a great comeback to win the race.
For the last two races the breeze came up to about 16-18 knots with big waves. It was so much fun to surf the waves downwind, and I was glad I sailed a little during a radial clinic I helped coach last week in the ocean! I won both races to finish out the day.
All in all, it was a good start to the event. Sheboygan was pretty tricky early on, and I think I need to commit more to a side on the first beats. But overall I'm pretty pleased with my sailing. More racing tomorrow!