Our final day of racing on the harbor today and it was no different to yesterday with some big shifts, high pressure variance and loads of harbor traffic making waves.
Took a while to get going with little to no breeze delaying radials fleets scheduled in the morning. Finally got going close to 3pm and did a race in around 6 – 8 knots from the NNE – NE direction.
I deducted there was two clear breeze streams one down the harbour ‘channel’ side and one down from Watsons bay. Both being different angles with the Watsons Bay side being more east (righty!) and harbour channel side being more north (lefty!). I correctly chose the right side and started at boat and tacked toward Nielson Park and lead the fleet towards the shore.
Once clear ahead I took a positioning maneuver back into the middle of the fleet and kept a close eye on Sam and Andy who were with me on the right. To my left Jwest and TB looked glamour for a while but the folded back as they reached the middle of the course.
I rounded the top comfortably in first! amazing, my first time in first in the whole regatta hahahaha.
On the downwind I gybed and positioned for the pressure from Watsons but it didnt last and I watched as Palk rounding much further back advanced down the flank and broke away from the fleet. I had to reach across the middle and luckily a set of waves and a little gust or two helped me to round the bottom in 5th … sooooo frustrating but sooooo SYDNEY HARBOR!
On the next beat I sailed a little further left trying to dig into the new pressure that Palk had so aptly taken and hooked on it slowly and steadily. I managed to pass Sam, TB and Thomas Saunders but not Palky. On the next run I held my own and on the final beat Palk and I seperated but Meechy wasnt far behind. Palk kept a nice cover on me so I wasnt able to make much gain but Meechy caught up on the downwind around 25m and I had to lock him out on starboard before gybing back to take 2nd in what would be the final race of the series.
After that we watched as the RC tried in vain to reset the course and get off the Finns and Masters. Then a super tanker came up the harbour and then the breeze died and we waited all the way to 445 before they put up the AP over A …
In the end I finished 3rd Overall at the 2012 Sail Sydney in Laser Mens. Certainly found some more form and regatta fitness after a very average regatta in Sail Melbourne. Its a solid result and good to mix it up with guys like TB, Meechy, Maloney and Palky. Sam Meech deserved the win here and he sailed consistent and with great speed all week. TB wasn’t far off but had some breakages and got unlucky a few times.
The laser sailing game is always the same, it is about those few points you lost with a bad tack, getting rolled off the start, not checking your equipment, missing a crucial shift, not having enough speed, not being hiking fit enough. Once you can tick the boxes you work toward the ultimate goal. Making less mistakes then others …
I enjoyed this regatta. I think because of the lack of racing I have done this year due to injury or recovery stints I am more keen then ever to do more regattas. A critical analysis point from Sail Sydney was that on the windy day I wasn’t strong enough in my back or legs to keep up with Maloney, Meech and TB on the upwind for more then around a race and a half. I had a speed problem, and I had one in Melbourne too. Three races was too much for me especially one after another with little break or stretch time. The difference in points in that one day can mean the difference in winning or coming third.
Another marked improvement in variable light to moderate conditions is showing a change in traditional strengths. Now I need to revisit what made me fast in strong wind before and put together an ‘all round’ set of skills. The strongest sailors have this and I need to replicate them. I have the nationals starting on the 27th December and will try to get a little stronger for them.
Looking forward! In the meantime some training with the kiwis and teammates here in Sydney. Should be fun!