Today was a practice day here in Dubai and we had 15-17 knots of wind with 1-2 meter seas. A breeze known as a “Shamal” blew in increasing the wind strength from the normal 8-10 knot thermal breezes we usually experience here.
While all the teams went out training today, there wasn’t a lot of aggressive match racing practice going on as the conditions were a bit much for that and tomorrow is the first race day.
The format for 2010 has changed just a bit in that the first two days of the RC 44 events will comprise match racing, the third day will be a make up day for match racing and/or the fleet racing practice race. Then the final three days will be the fleet race portion. This new format gives the organizers a better chance to get a good match racing event in, even if faced with difficult conditions such as what we experienced here last November.
Last week the Artemis Louis Vuitton Trophy team….17 crew members….trained on two RC 44s, Katusha and Artemis for five days. The conditions were excellent with 8-11 knot winds almost every day and plenty of sun. We had an excellent organization with two top umpires, a coach and a race committee. By setting up drills that put the boats into critical race situations, as well as running real races, we got into more race situations each day than we would normally get into over an entire regatta. Having the umpires and coaches allowed us to debrief the situations, with video, and really learn the best way to manage these situations on the race course and the rules that apply. It was also a nice team building exercise for team Artemis.
Next stop for the Louis Vuitton Trophy team is Auckland from March 9-21.
For now, Katusha and Artemis are concentrating on the Maktoum Trophy here in Dubai through Saturday.