Yesterday was the last day of racing for me in the gold fleet at US Sailing's Rolex Miami Olympic Class Regatta. We had 3 races in very trying conditions with a weak gradient wind from the north west 8 to 14 knots
Setting Up For A Start
(Brad is tucked in behind #199023)
Photo: (c) Rolex Twitter 2011
The breeze for the first race was very patchy, swinging 20 degrees. It was very easy to get stuck in the middle, wanting to tack on every shift but the bigger shifts were the more important, so sailing through some of the smaller shifts (not tacking ) was the way to go.
I found myself being a little conservative not wanting to play a side hard enough and got rather swallowed up from 2 large shifts on either side of me. At the mark, I was near the back of the fleet of 50 boats, and in the gold fleet, no-one is a slacker; everyone fights for every inch. I did, however, manage to capitalize on a few important tactical decisions at key points in the race, such as exiting the marks, downwind and upwind, to get on the favored tack relative to the wind's phases and managing to avoid traffic. I managed to climb back to 28th.
The second race, thermal heating continued, making the air more bouyant, consequently making the wind more variable and lighter. Similar tactics were required to get around the race track with a little more patience required on my part. I finished 18th in that race.
The wind in the 3rd race was slighty different than the first two due to the cooling of the day, making the wind favor the left side of the course a bit more. I utilized this known factor and rounded top mark in 13th. I then waited for the next opportunity to gain which was at the gate mark (leeward mark), and getting in phase and protecting the middle left again. On the final downwind, I had my best run climbing to 8th across the line. This was a great race for me on which to finish the regatta because up until this point, I was not passing boats.
As I said earlier, this regatta was really a training event and has been very valuable in giving me an idea of where I am at in my preparation. I need to keep improving my technique downwind. The best guys are transitioning so well from wave to wave and changing modes moment to moment. You can't be going fast one second and slow the next; you will get toasted and shot out the back.
My technique and speed will come with steady training from now on and I am looking forward to it. I don't have many days to spare to get to the level at which I want/need to be, in order to be a player at the next major regatta. Coach Arthur has got me on the fast track and will be comunicating regularly with me, with regards to fitness, tactics, and psychology. And, shortly I am going to Mexico for 9 days to train with Olympic gold medalist, Paul Goodison, his teammate Nick Thompson, James Espey from Ireland, and a bunch of Canadians.
Thanks for tuning in with me on this ride of my Olympic dream and I will give updates on my next trip.
Thanks to all my sponsors: Handy Storage, Zhik, Kaenon, and you.
See you on the water,