Well… a tough day on the water, for sure. With a regatta like this, such top-level competition and an “all in” attitude, you stand to either win or lose a lot.
We started the day in fifth place… a point or two behind one tough competitor and a couple of points ahead of another. We didn’t come to do “just ok,” so we showed up today to race hard, take all the chances necessary and hope, when we had our bets placed, our cards would come up the way we wanted.
In a regatta like this, on the final day, the leaders take few chances and try to retain their lead, and those behind, pull out all the stops and take all the risk. So, what’s to lose in moving from fifth to something less, compared with what’s to gain in moving from fifth to third maybe?
So, first race, we came at ‘em. Hard-pressed on the line for a great start, but you canâ€™t be over the line before the start gun – so the trick is to try to hit the line with great speed just at the time the gun goes off. If you’re a second early, you have to go around â€“ which is what happened to us. Unfortunately, that second early cost us about three minutes, as we had to turn around and restart… essentially giving everyone else a head start. Three minutes later, we were back, hard at work trying to make up ground and we did. We made up a lot of ground, but… ran out of runway as they say. In the end, we took a tenth I think, and so lost points to our previously trailing competitor.
Determined to do better in the second race, we pulled out our upwind code zero at the start and led the fleet to the first mark – first around… downwind to the second mark, at which point the winds began to die a bit and to shift abruptly. We were able to stay very close while rounding the second mark… but in the next upwind leg, the winds took a 50 degree shift away from our covering position, and that cost us dearly. We went from second or third to somewhere around twelfth, in a matter of a few minutes. I’d have to show you how that works on paper, but it works and itâ€™s a really hard pill to swallow when it happens to you. We worked back a few places, but THEN it got exciting!!
Coming into the last mark before heading into the short distance to the finish, we came shoulder to shoulder with another competitor. There are some rather complicated rules in sailboat racing, and one of them is a rule about two boats being overlapped at a mark rounding. If that’s the case, the outside boat has to give the inside boat room to round the mark. We came in as the inside boat… requesting room to round the mark, but the other boat contested our overlap and refused to give us room. With nowhere to go, our two boats each holding steadfast to their beliefs, came side-by-side with each other and collided! Needless to say, there was a lot of contention as to who was right. Fortunately for us, there were two jury boats close by to witness the incident, and they confirmed our “rights” with regard to the rules. Pretty exciting, but nobody wins anything this way… so while other boats slip past, you’re left to untangle boats, rigs and egos.
Third race â€“ at this point, with nothing left to lose, we took off with every intention of taking home another first. Unfortunately, the shifting winds did a similar thing to us once again, and our “all in” bets were lost. We rounded the first mark in an embarrassing last place… but we worked hard and finished back in the middle… but, that was also the end of the regatta, and when the final totals were made… we ended up in 10th place.
Still, I remind myself that these are fortunate days, exciting experiences and exceptional people to be sharing them with. If you write it out… tenth in the world doesnâ€™t look so bad, does it? Well… nonetheless… this has been one of the great regatta’s I’ve ever had the chance to sail.
Next up is a bit of time to put the boat back into offshore condition, and then head for home… North America, that is. I’ll send an update soon as to the plan to sail for home â€“ solo – across the Atlantic, and be home in time for Thanksgiving!!
Thanks for hanging with us through all this. it means a lot to all of us.
- Dave and the Bodacious Crew