So we are sailing down in Hobart on a large island to the south of Australia called Tasmania. Its a windswept place, quite cold and almost a little primeval and believe it or not quite mountainous.
We are sailing out of a place called Sandy Bay. We are on a river but reasonably close to the sea. Either side of the river is rolling hills or mountains. Needless to say unless we have a southerly the wind is offshore and sooooooooooooo shifty and gusty.
On day one I sailed off the line into a 20 – 30 knot westerly from the mountains with around 30 others. This year the nationals is contested by Aussies pretty much with only Colin (SIN) and Freddy (FIN) contesting internationally.
Wearny and I sailed left and tacked in phase with the shifts as they came fresh and fast. Burton, Jared and Palk went out toward the right shore and found a very long starboard tack angle. We got killed … they crossed us by hundreds of meters. For me it was a case of chip back to an OK position. On the downwind I almost stacked it in the short chop and filled the cockpit up majorly. Bit on … Ended up 5th …
After that I decided I would follow the old military maxim. ‘Hold them by the belt and don’t let go’ (so they can’t use superior position, wind shifts, speed etc) … From now I would engage the top guys and stay with them.
Race 2 I did exactly that and chipped away with the front group protecting the right side but not committing far enough like TB. I hung in there as the others capsized, nose dived and spun out in the 30 knot gusts. The top reach was just carnage with 2,3,4 and almost TB spearing off or capsizing to leeward from sheer over power. TB and I managed to get away to take a 1st and 2nd. I fell out of the boat on the 2nd beat in a massive wind shift but dragged my ass back in … Was definitely a survival race and damn cold!
Today was more moderate but never the less shifty and we waited a while for the wind to settle enough for a race. After the radials and 4.7s went we finally got going but race was postponed as the gun went due to a huge 40 degree left wind shift. Of course I was at the pin … devoooo
Race 3 started with me staying in close phase with shifts from the boat end. I didnt commit far enough right early and the went left later on. I rounded the top in around 7 – 8th because the right just came through so muchhhhh. Frustrating. On first run i took a few and then attacked on the 2nd beat by splitting left. Watching a yacht on the left shore i saw it very high on port tack and flllapping. So I sailed toward the new shift and it was long and prosperous taking me from 6th to 1st.
TB and I duelled it out on the downwind with such a big gap to 3rd … some big switch backs and even a luff or two and then he tacked on me the final upwind to keep his lead. So again I took a second. Chip away …
Final race today I started well at boat end with Jwest, Palk, TB all nearby. Jwest split right and I held TB and Wearny out left before leading them back to the right. I sailed into the right shore and learning my lesson from the prior race used the funneling pressure down the river to cross back over the fleet. Jwest did it better however and was leading by a good 50-75m at the top.
On the reach I bled ground as the pressure filled in behind me and ahead of me and i lost hundred meters on Jwest and the other guys inc TB, Wearny and Palky caught up! So frustrating but ups and downs is the nature of the game. Hold your nerve and push on.
On the run I held ground but TB caught up and we rounded together. On the second beat I protected the right and tacked back ahead and to leeward of TB and the other boys. Jwest committed further left to position against that group but I lead back to the new right pressure. Once I got there and headed 20 degrees I tacked and crossed all of them but Jwest only just. Bit of a windfall but felt good to position well. The run I kept in pressure and watched back but held my lead to the finish! finally I won a race this summer :D
Tomorrow looks like a bit like day 1 … Super windy and bullet gusts rushing down from the mountain. http://www.windguru.cz/int/index.php?sc=289679 …. All the boys sailing well and its fun and tight racing at the top.