After 10 hours of sailing, 12 flights were sailed at the 2011 Chicago Match Race Center Winter Invitational Match Race; co-hosted by CMRC and Sail Sheboygan here in Miami. Our team had a great day and finished the day with a 9-2 record (we had a bye in one flight).
There are nine teams total sailing; four women's teams and five open teams. This grade three event, sailed in Elliott 6m has been put together early in the year and is an opportunity for open teams to sail the Elliott 6m and for the women's teams to race open teams in the boats in which we will be competing in the Games.
We had some great races today against all of the teams. It was great to sail against teams other than the usual ones because different teams bring different tendencies and tactics which help to keep us on our game all day long. It was an extremely long day with us leaving the moorings just after 8am and then finally getting back to them at 6pm. The wind was great. We started our first race in about 5kts, and sailed in everything up to 14kts and shifty breeze.
Our two closest races were against Taylor Canfield (US Virgin Islands). In the first race, he got a penalty in the pre-start. Up the first leg he managed to hold us off, to round the top mark just ahead of us. Downwind, we caught up to him and stayed close enough all the way back up to the windward mark and so not giving him an opportunity to spin. This meant that he had to do it downwind on the way to the finish. Around the top mark, we both set our spinnakers, raced 'normally' for most of the leg, but then started to deliberately slow towards the bottom as he tried to draw us in close to him so he could counter his penalty with one against us. We were able to position ourselves well enough that we could jump him and cross the line ahead before he had a chance to spin his penalty and finish.
The second time we sailed against him, we had a good start but the first shift was a big right hand shift and we were on the left, so we were behind for the first leg again. On the downwind leg, we were able to sail fast and smart and closed up all the distance between us, so we were now back in the race. On the second upwind, we stayed close, but we weren't quite able to pass him. But we were able to put us in a position to attack downwind. Both boats sailed half the leg on port gybe and then gybed deep. We were able to put him in our wind shadow which meant that right at the finish we were able to crush his wind and spinnaker and roll over him to take the win.
Tomorrow is the second and last day of the event. We have five more flights left to race in the second round robin. The top four teams then advance to the gold round robin; the results from the previous two round robins carry over and the winner will be determined by combinding all the scores. You can follow along with live updates on the event website and their Twitter page.
We would like to thank Carmeuse and Trinity Yachts for their continued support of our women's match racing campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.
And as usual, don't forget, email us your questions and comments. We love getting them and sharing our love of sailing and women's match racing.