The forecast was for a strong northwester today and it was for the first race. When it blows out of the northwest here it is very shifty. With the wind blowing 22-24 knots from 315, the first race got underway at 1040. A number of boats were over the start line early including the eventual race winner Barking Mad. Their comeback is an example of what can be done when in phase in a very shifty wind. I did not do a very good job in the first race and we seemed to be constantly out of phase. We struggled and finally finished 19th.
At the start of the second race, our boat speed indicator shut down and we sailed without that valuable reference as well as True Wind Direction for the first windward leg of the race. When the wind is very unstable, both of these indicators are very important and useful. We managed to get up to the first windward mark in pretty decent shape around 10th and then Kyle, our F-18 pilot, took the paddle wheel out and fixed the boats speed. From there we moved up to fifth by the finish. Meanwhile, Barking Mad had another great race by starting well and staying in phase to win again!. They are not slow either and this helps of course.
In the last race, we crossed the French on port tack and they hailed “protest”. It was close but I thought we were ok. But if the starboard tack boat protests, then the port tack boat doesn’t have much recourse. So I told the guys we should do a penalty turn and we did. This put us back into 15th place. The crew of Warpath kept racing hard and we managed to grind back to 5th at the finish, beating that French boat by 4 places!
The truth is, I am happy that we “fouled” someone and did our penalty turn. There are way too many fouls going on out on the race course that never get absolved by the offending party. This situation has gotten a lot worse since I last raced in this class three years ago.
So we are in fourth place tonight. Not bad all things considered. We just need to avoid the disastrous races and we will be right up at the top. Barking Mad is leading by a bunch, Opus, yesterdays leader is in second place, and Mascalzone, the current world Champion is in third. “Nerone”, we were tied with at the end of racing both Thursday and Friday, fell back a bunch with two bad races today and a disqualification at the end of the day yesterday…
Tomorrow’s forecast is 13-15 knots from the north. Two races are scheduled.
Stuart Hartley the Warpath team photographer, whom I mistakenly left out of the email last Wednesday, has been taking photos out on the water and I am posting them on my website. Take a look at www.cayardsailing.com.