After a day off yesterday with too much breeze today we set our hopes on an early start. We got up at 7am and first start at 9am. Tommy Burton was a few points ahead and I had a potential three races to get some points in between us.
The first race started well and in around 15 – 20 knots steady breeze. I hiked harder then I have the whole event. Legs feeling strong I started toward the pin and kept near Tommy. I got over the top of him and then cut back on port and ducked Jwest and Wearny to come back toward the middle. Never over commit in Hobart!
Was a good move and I eventually met a right hander to lead me into the mark in first. The first run despite rounding in 4th TB cut through the other guys and suddenly we had a gate split at the bottom with him going left and me going right. On the second beat I stayed in phase and protected against an advancing TB but also the other guys. Not fit enough and the speed I had on the first beat was waning as my HR went up ……… frustrating. Wearny just got over me on the starboard lay and I lead into the reach in 2nd. I held on and then made a minor error. I sailed in slightly less pressure for a moment and was sitting too far back in the boat. I didnt trim with my bodyweight and it was a bad call, I lost TB who scooted around me.
At the bottom coming in hot on starboard I had to gybe and just gybed too hot. Boom tapped the water and I rounded up for a moment, enough for palk to shoot through my lee and tack on me all the way up the final beat. My second worse result of the regatta a 4th.
Next race was lighter and I welcomed it. About time we had a 5-10 knot race !!! I started on the boat end and chipped out a step right. At the top I was in 5th as the group below me extended and crossed me on port. It was OK by the bottom I was in 3rd.
Up the second beat I stayed in phase and sailed to pressure. Letting the others fight. Colin was with me in the middle left with TB and Palk coming back from the right. I decided better to cover those two then Colin and let him split further left. He rounded the top in 1st and me 2nd TB 3rd.
On the reach I went high and rode pressure down. By the wing mark I decided I wanted to run down the inside of the bunch and went hard by the lee and sailed really accurately in the sub 8 knots stuff. I got out to first and then near the bottom tried to cross the bunch early to consolidate the lead. Bad move, I sailed into cover and out of pressure and TB JUST scooted around me. Another critical error. I chased him and tried to tack shifts up the final beat but he applied tight cover. He won and I took a second and that was the end of all chances to win nationals really.
After the race I shook TB’s hand, he sailed well in 2012 and deserved the win at Nationals with a consistent result in such variable conditions. He then sailed in to pack up with a race in hand and I decided to stay out for the last one for practice.
I started down from boat in race 3 and missed the first big righty. Rounding the top in around 7th I hacked my way forward a bit on the run (which was more like a reach). I didnt catch anyone but it put me right behind the bunch. Around the bottom I took a step right and caught Palky and Swifto. Then i sailed too far left and lost again missing a big righty. I came back and tacked on lay and Wearny was first by 100m and then Colin then Palk with me close behind and Jwest and Swifto close behind us.
On the reach the breeze filing in so hard from the right I sank low with Palk and we boosted on Colin. He rounded with us and Jwest was right on our hammer. In a massive gust of at least 25 knots the others gybed and lost enough control to lose a few boat lengths and I sailed by the lee chasing Palk for 2nd. He gybed too in a gust and his boom tapped the water and he lost a bit of his lead. I then proceeded to sail right on rhumbline with him reaching up into the pressure and me constantly sailing at the mark. By the bottom I waited for a lull and gybed while I could and reached across his bow to move into 2nd. By the finish Wearny had won easy but I finished up with a 2nd from being a bit deep.
Kinda seems I couldn’t win a race this regatta but my risk management and positioning was sound. The focus was consistency and I provided it successfully even from tough positions which is a good feeling. My body feels strong in bio mechanical terms and that makes me so happy, the ability to focus on improving sailing rather then managing injury is like a breath of fresh air !!! A change in training regime with a heavy ‘time in boat’ focus and not so much to cross training left me feeling good in light and moderate but out of breath and hurting in the legs in the really windy stuff. Swimming for cardio is not enough alone to make you top end laser fit but it will now be embedded as part of a successful combination training program. I gave up points because of my hiking/sheeting fitness and now I can develop it more outside of the boat. In hindsight a few points here and there ended up costing me enough to be out of the race with TB. The little things add up especially in a regatta with such a dominant front bunch of 5 or 6 guys. The little things all need to be right to be National Champion.
Now I look forward to a break from the boat for a week but a fitness focus in the pool, gym and on the bike. I want to not puff like ive climbed a mountain at the top marks hahaha! TB and I will do some training on and off water before I go to New Zealand for Sail Auckland regatta on the 3 – 5 feb. More regattas, more experience before Europe. Time to make up for the deficiencies and time losses in 2012, time to move forward again.