Another good day on the Artemis today! We got the bullet and moved into first overall for this regatta.

That is two “coastal” race wins in a row for Artemis now with this one and the win in Cagliari. They are nice to win because they count 1.5 times a normal race.

We had an ok start and went left for quite a while. It looked like there was more pressure to the left but we are always weary of the right shift upwind here. We got around the top mark 6th just barely but then got rolled by Bigamist right away. So that was our low point.

From there we battled back, first going all the way offshore on that first run to round the first gate 3rd. Matador had a nice lead and Audi Q8 was second. We held third up the second beat and onto a 120 degree reach. Team New Zealand was right behind us in fourth.

Up the third beat, Team New Zealand passed us by getting to our left. We rounded the third windward mark 4th but once again, we went the hardest offshore. We passed Audi Q8 and closed up all the distance on Matador and Team NZ.

Then the angle was up 20 degrees for 7 miles and they went with the Masthead Jib’s while we peeled to our A3 gennaker. We smoked through them to leeward and just hiked our butts off to blow through into first and make the mark. From there we just controlled Team New Zealand up the final 4 mile beat to the finish.

Obviously we are very happy with how things are going but we know this regatta is far from over. 4 races to go over the next two days and for sure we can expect less friendly tactics from our competitors.

I am leaving tomorrow night after racing as I had a previous commitment to race the 505 worlds. So Hamish Pepper, 2006 Star World Champion, and currently our strategist, will take over as tactician for Sunday. I will miss the last day of this regatta and the first day of the 505 worlds while flying home to SF.

For complete results go to 2009.medcup.org

Another good day on the Artemis today! Finishes of 2, 4, 2 has us tied for first with Team New Zealand on 15 points. Quantum is third with 17.

The first raced was very tricky because we started in a wind direction of 245 and finished in a wind direction of 305. In the middle, the wind went light and then banged right as predicted.

We were in good shape up the first windward leg rounding the top mark 5th. Down the run, the transition happened and the fleet bunched up. We made a gybe away from the group that paid us well and we rounded the gate fourth.

We held fourth up the 2nd windward leg in a tough fight with Sunergy and Quantum. Bigimist the local boat had the race won and Team New Zealand was comfortably in second.

Down the final run, Team New Zealand gybe set while we and Bigimist bore away and went offshore. We had 4 knots more wind out in that corner and came back to cross TNZ by one length to steal second place from them. Quantum ended up 8th!

The second race was started in 20 knots from 310. We had an ok start but Bigimist was over early. We got tacked on by Team New Zealand off the line and that set us back a bit. So we were on the back foot as we came up to the top mark but managed to get around in 5th with some tight work on Audi Q8. Down the run we moved up to 4th and that is pretty much where we stayed for the rest of the race. Team New Zealand had the good lane off the start and was very fast upwind and went on to win that one. Synergy had a good race in second and Quantum was just un front of us in third.

So all in all, another solid performance for us on Artemis. Very consistent and steady. Tomorrow is the coastal race.

For complete results go to 2009.medcup.org

Good day on the Artemis today! Finishes of 3, 4, 2 has us in second place overall after three races. Quantum is leading with 1, 1, 4.

The first race did not get off until 1400. The forecast had the wind in the southwest for the early part of the day but an eminent shift to the northwest was surely coming. Would it come during the race? Would it turn the race upside down?

Well, we got the first one in completely in the southwest wind. We had a good start, in the smooth water and 13 knots of wind. It was a matter of inches that made the difference at the top mark. We rounded third and then passed one boat on the run by choosing the proper gate. Held second up the second beat but Quantum tacked on us twice so we both lost ground to Team New Zealand and we ended up overstood. Down the run, Team New Zealand gybed on us three times and passed us while the both of us almost lost Matador.

The wind then died and quickly shifted to the northwest at about 16 knots. We had two races in this direction with the wind topping out at 22. So the boats were planing downwind and it was a lot of fun. Usually, it is all about the right in this direction but today there were gains to be had on the left especially downwind and fortunately we got most of it correct.

At the start of the second race we fouled Matador. So, after our penalty turn, we were dead last. But we kept chipping away and sailed heads up to finish fourth. This was a great come-back and probably the most important part of the day, definitely something that will stay with us for a while.

Then in the last race, we had a decent start, managed the first windward leg ok, but it was a decision to stay on starboard out of the windward mark on the run that got us to more pressure and we rounded the gate in 2nd to Bigimist (the locals). From there it was just about course management and we finished second. Quantum had a bad start in that one and did well to get back to fourth while Team New Zealand led at the first windward mark but gybed set and lost 6 places.

So we are pretty happy with that day and will sleep well tonight at least.

For complete results go to 2009.medcup.org

When up to a hundred doublehanded dinghies converge on San Francisco Bay next week for the 2009 SAP 505 World Championship sponsored by SAP and APL and hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, one team will rate somewhere between a favorite and an enigma.

The skipper—Howard Hamlin of Long Beach, Calif.—won it all in 1999 and has finished second five times and third twice since, but for the class’s 54th Worlds he’ll be breaking in new crew. With his regular, Andy Zinn, unavailable because of a business commitment, Hamlin went for local talent.

First he asked Morgan Larson, who won the Worlds at nearby Santa Cruz in 2004, but Larson declined and suggested a buddy by the name of, uh—oh, yeah, Paul Cayard.

Hamlin fired off an e-mail to this guy Cayard and received a quick response: “I’d love to. What are the dates?”

Cayard’s only concern was that “I don’t want to hold you back.”

After all, Cayard is 50 now, although he is six years younger than the skipper. On the other hand, they have been hitting the gym hard lately.

“This is my next anti-aging prescription,” Cayard said. “The first dose was the Olympics at 45.”

Cayard does have some experience sailing a 505 . . . 30 years ago. He crewed for Dennis Surtees when they finished second in the 505 Worlds at Durbin, South Africa. Since then his career, including the distinction as America’s Rolex Yachtsman of he Year in 1998,

Today was a much better day in terms of wind. There were 7-11 knots from the southwest. We left the dock on time at 1100 and went through our normal routine of tuning up with Matador before the start which was on time at 1300. As it is the practice race today, meaning that the race committee runs two starts and then on the third start, we continue on and race.

We had a good start but went left, kind of forced that way by Team New Zealand who had us pinned on starboard. The right was good and we were 7th or 8th at the top mark. We got the right coming out of the leeward mark after the run but by then the wind went left so we were wrong again.

We also did not seem very fast upwind and we had been trying some different set ups.

Down the final run we passed one or two boats and finished 7th. Not a great day results wise but it did not count either. Quantum, who hit the right hard on the first windward leg, won the practice race.

After the race we re-tuned our rig and then tested with Matador for about 40 minutes. We seemed to have improved our performance and we were fairly even with Matador.

Working with Matador each morning before the start has been really good for both of us.

Tomorrow’s forecast is for winds similar to what we had today. Start time is 1300 and we could have as many as three races.

Paul

A little bit more wind today. 4-7 knots. Still very light. We managed 7 or 8 practice starts and two races. One went well, one not so well. Very difficult sailing in wind that light. It was good training all the same.

The guys played touch rugby this morning on the beach and I went to the gym to lift weights. I am still trying to gain weight for the 505 Worlds next week.

We docked out at 1530 and were back in at 1800.

Not sure that tomorrow is looking much better.

Paul

Squeezing water out of a rock.

That is what it is like trying to sail here these past two days. 4.6 knots of wind was the top of it.

Still, we managed to get in some useful practice simulating our approaches to the starting line and accelerating the boat from 2 knots of speed up to full speed, as well as learning how long that takes and what the optimal trajectory for speed build is. It is impressive how much one knot of wind effects the timing of this drill. Good to know.

Then we had three practice starts with Quantum and a little race to the windward mark. It was too light to go downwind once we got there so we called it.

It was probably lighter than we would ever race in today but still, it was good to get out there and focus.

Tomorrow the forecast is for more of the same. So we are meeting at 1200 for the first check in. We may have to sail as late as 1800 as there is forecast to be a bit of breeze then.

Tuesday is supposed to be better. Hopefully we are getting all this “no wind” wind out of the way now so we can have a great regatta.

Just finished our first day of training over here in Portugal. Very light wind made it difficult to get much done. We checked our masthead genoa and a few light jibs and tuned the rig.

We are onto our weight checks too. It is fairly hot here, 30C, so you don’t want to have to dehydrate the crew on a race day if we get checked by the measurers.

The racing starts on Wednesday so we have three more days of training. Same crew as in Cagliari. We are making some small changes to or sails, rig and the way we set them, in an effort to make a small improvement in our performance.

The forecast for the next few days is light the decent wind on Wednesday. That will be perfect if it pans out.

Portimao is a nice small resort town on the south coast of Portugal. This is my third time here and I really like it. It is not as hot as Spain and Italy which is pleasant. The fresh fish is excellent. It is mid August in Europe so plenty of people here on vacation and at the beach. Might have to go for a look (I mean swim) later.

MP3 audio (31 minutes): Paul Cayard calls into Sailing Talk from San Francisco, where he’ll soon be racing a 505 in the World Championships with Howie Hamlin. Not surprisingly, Paul’s also got something to say about the ‘stored power’ should-they-allow-engines-in-the-America’s-Cup debate. Justin Chisholm reports from the Mirror Worlds which are concluding in North Wales….

Listen to the podcast at SailJuice.com