Yesterday we had a long day waiting. Strong south westerly winds battered the bay and the race committee opted out due to large waves and tough going laying marks and starts.
Today was similar but more constant 20+ knots. Big waves were still present so made for a day of endurance.
First race started on time and I started at boat end and tacked out to the right. My thoughts were strong bands of cloud closing in from there and a clean lane to be able to change modes.
Tacked back after a minute and a half to cross those who followed me right easily but then started a slow header. A group of boats to the left of me seemed to extend and I thought best to tack back and search out another right hander when it came.
I almost reached the lay then tacked back on a nice lifted starboard tack. Around 100m from the bunch I just headed again but kept digging in. I rounded the top in around 9th. Bit of a shocking first beat.
The first downwind I made up a lot of ground and managed to get back to around 4th but as I angled into the bottom I tripped the boat up on a large wave. The rig loaded up and I capsized to windward with the boat taking off from me. What a punter move, I was pretty shocked as I swam after the boat hahaha oh dear.
After that I battled in the pack and managed to get back to 9th but then lost a random near the bottom gate. 10th … What a way to start the day.
Race 2, I was super motivated to perform and popped some gels and a power bar. A good clean start about midline and I held lane out to the left. I tacked and crossed but not everyone with Swifto from Perth getting me from the right. Wearny crossed me at the top and I rounded in a close 2nd. On the run I didn’t look around for where the bottom mark was and I should have looked more carefully. All the boats that went low out of mark or gybes passed me! Wave angle was perfect to surf down for them. Another unforced error.
2nd beat I went left with TB and we crossed everyone except Wearny. I chased TB and finally put together a good run and was around 25m behind on the final reach. I took a 3rd. OK back in the game.
3rd race I made the error of starting above Scott Sidney who was in a reasonably high mode off the line. I had to grind for a while before I could roll him. In that time Palk got forward on me but not enough to roll me. Jwest extended out underneath and lead the left. Wen I tacked I lead to the right and found a great righty to come back on. Suddenly I was leading. Finally!
Too bad further right then me was Swifto and so he rounded 1st and me in close 2nd with Wearny right on my hammer. On the first downwind I held my own again and rounded the bottom in second behind Wearny. I stayed off his hip the whole beat but by now was really feeling the fatigue. Particularly in my lower back. Hiking was laboured and I slowly gave ground into the 2nd beat.
Final downwind TB caught me in the last quarter of the downwind again and Wearny though capsizing managed to keep up his lead to sail low on reach and pip TB. I finished 3rd again. I was furious and felt really burnt out for not much reward.
On the way in Blackers reminded me that while I made plenty of errors it was a good outcome to get through a 3 race day in 20+ knots and big waves. I was happy for that too. Even in training we didnt have those conditions but more constant light to moderate ones at home. My back is stable and in working order which is great :) …
Somehow I moved up to 3rd today. Don’t ask how !!! I guess a good drop. Was impressed with Wearny today for his excellent 1,1,1 result. Great work young fella! He was hiking hard and sailed smart and fast. TB with his constant downwind comebacks frustrated me but deserves kudos as well.
Tomorrow will bring three races but the forecast is light and very variable in terms of direction. Will be an interesting day and I’m sure the pointy end will get mixed up some more. Tomorrow will be focused on better starts and making less simple errors. Sticking with the front bunch after race 1 today paid and I forgot how good it is to have someone to pace against.