Not a great day for us on El Desafio today. It started out with someone forgetting one of the important sails for the coastal race, ashore… the A3 gennaker. That made things tricky for us on the reaches.

The wind conditions were similar to yesterday but with a little less strength. So 16-19 from 045-090. There are two different winds in the area… 090 wind and 035. There is a big headland that we are racing downwind of, that the wind splits on causing these two different winds. On each windward leg the tactician has to figure out which wind will be at the windward mark and therefore which side of the course to sail to.

The “Coastal Race” became more of a traditional race course with two reaches thrown in. So we went upwind 2 miles, downwind 4 miles passing through the start line, upwind 4 miles, then a 4 mile – 120 degree reach, gybe around the reach mark and another 4 mile 120 degree reach to the leeward mark. Then a 4 mile windward leg followed by a 4 mile downwind leg and then a 5 mile beat to the finish inside the harbor. Are you lost yet? Dizzy?

We had a good start and played the left for the first three minutes. We got a decent shift and tacked onto port and sailed up to the first windward mark. We rounded just in front of Quantum in 6th. From there we did some things well and some things not so well but eventually found our selves on the 120 degree reach with our code 0 up. Every one else had their A3’s on. The good news is that it was too tight for the A3’s so they had to take them down and go to jibs, which some did well, and others did not. We managed to move into 5th at the reach mark. Platoon and Bribon were right on our tail. They both set their A3’s for the second reach, which was broader than the first and smoked away. We sailed high with the “0” and then set our A4 runner and got to the scoring gate at the leeward mark in 7th. Around the last lap we managed to pass Quantum and Artemis to finish 5th.

Bribon had a big lead at the first leeward mark but could not drop their spinnaker and went well beyond the leeward mark before turning up wind. This gave the lead to Matador and Mutua Madrilena. Those two boats plus Platoon were in the lead group from the first scoring gate to the finish. Bribon, ourselves and Quantum were in the second group and then there was another space back to the third group.

There really was a lot more to the 3.5 hours race but I will spare you the details.

So Mutua Madrilena has a nice lead with 19 points, followed by Matador with 22, Bribon with 24, Quantum with 28 and ourselves in 5th with 29 points. 10 points can disappear in a heat beat out here so it is still wide open with four races to go.

Tomorrow there will be at least two races. The forecast has the wind continuing to drop a bit but still more or less the same direction… North East.

For complete results go to www.audimedcup.org