We had a very rough day today on Phoenix. We actually finished last in both races! I can’t remember ever doing that. The conditions were 8-11 knots from the south which is a bit more wind than previous days.
In the first race today, I tried to win the pin end of the line at the start. The current was sweeping us right to left and we had to tack to port just before the gun sounded and cross behind everyone heading right. Normally this isn’t too bad if you do it early and get all the way through without anyone tacking on you. And this was the case today. However, the left side proved to be very good early in the leg and we arrived at the first mark 9th. We never really recovered and somehow lost Provenza along the way.
In the second race we actually had a good start and headed left however the wind actually favored the right side this time. We got mixed up a some traffic and came out on the short end of the stick on most of those encounters. Around the last mark of the race we were 7th but got a penalty at the offset mark for not giving Gladiator room. That penalty put us back to last.
Our speed isn’t great in these lighter conditions and this makes everything a bit more difficult. Dealing with traffic and, tactics in general, get compromised. Downwind, we are especially “sticky”. This is due in part to a large foil package than the 2015 model year boats. We are building a new rudder which will be 5% smaller than the one we have. Some of the other boats have smaller keel fins too, so we are looking into that too. We need to keep working on our sails and our set up. The crew did an excellent job in all the maneuvers and everything was nearly perfect in that department. They are all top professionals and I feel bad for them with the result we achieved here.
We came over to Europe for these two regattas to learn and to prepare. We needed to see where the bar is in this fleet in order to have time to make adjustments prior to the 2017 season, which starts in January, in Key West. Now we will make a plan as to how to address each of our weaknesses. The boat will be getting some work done to it in Florida when it arrives there in three weeks. We will probably do some training in December and early January to work on closing the gap we currently have with the fleet.
Azzurra sailed an excellent regatta and was the fastest boat in the sub 10 knot conditions that we had most of the week. Quantum, always consistent finished second for the week and Sled did a lot of improving since Mahon and finished third.
I am headed back to San Francisco tomorrow and plan to be there for the next few weeks. It’s been a pretty busy sailing season.