I am here in the heart of America sailing in the Rolex US Sailing’s Champions of Champions regatta. This is an annual regatta bringing together 20 nation and world champions from the USA. Each year they rotate the venue and the type of boat used. This year the boat is the Lightning. I had never sailed a Lightning before yesterday but had two great coaches to help me get familiar. The first one is part of my team, Kristine Wake and the second was regatta chairman Matt Burridge. Matt is a very experienced Lightning sailor and he took time to coach me yesterday.
The Lightning is a fairly heavy boat, very flat bottomed and wide. It has a fractional spinnaker and a fairly small upwind sail plan. It is basically underpowered. The competitors are representing classes like the Snipe (long time Star Sailor friend – Augie Diaz), Lightning, 505 World Champ (Mike Martin), Comet, Day Sailor, Finn, FJ, Geary 18, Highlander, Mercury (childhood friend of mine Chris Raab), Optimist, and many more. These sailors are all very good and very competitive and some of us have known each other for years so that makes it fun.
My good friend and Star crew Austin Sperry has joined me here and together with Kristine, we are a strong but heavy team. Not Kristine, she weighs 105 pounds. But Austin and I are big for this type of boat at 430 between us. The ideal total weight is about 470 pounds. Today it was very light wind and 46 degrees! We all sat on the wind side once for about 10 seconds. The wind was also very shifty so it was tricky and sometimes frustrating sailing – not just for us but for everyone I think. We had a lot of ups and downs in our scores. It is like a college regatta in how the scoring looks. We did have a bullet right before lunch so that was nice.
I have no idea what the scores are. We were in 8th at lunch time after four races. We did four more races after lunch for a total of 8. We are scheduled to race 20 races through Saturday 1200. We rotate boats after each race so that evens things up a bit. All the boats have new North Sails so that is very nice. Really it has been about the start and the shifts more than the speed of any boat.
You can see the results at 2009 US SAILING’s Championship of Champions
Forecast for tomorrow is more of the same. Off to dinner in downtown Carlyle, population 3500.