Ok So I’m going to try to recount the racing on each day for the 4 days we raced at Kiel week. I meant to do this earlier, but we struggled to get wireless during the event. I’ll try to keep it as factual as possible, so if I start talking about 50 knot gusts or dragons then I apologise. I have a very active imagination…
ok, so day one gave us onshore breeze of around 16 – 18 knots with pretty big waves. This was our first day of Grade 1 racing all year due to us missing Palma and Hyeres with family problems, and we couldn’t have asked for more difficult conditions. Upwind we were wiring higher than usual to clear the steep waves, and downwind we were making big turns and choking the kite to keep us from pitchpoling. Our aim for the day, due to us being a little rusty in strong wind and waves, was to get the boat round the track upright and get some decent starts. We pulled some turns on as the breeze built (up to 34 on the shrouds) and started hunting for the gaps on the start line.
At our last event, we worked out a decent starting sequence of waiting for half the fleet to park up at around 1.30 to go before finding a hole and parking. At between 1.30 and 30 seconds we would look for a double tack to put us right under the windward boat. Judging our distance from the line, Jus would take the jib from me at 30 seconds and I’d pre-set the controls before triggering anything between 10 and 4 seconds to go. Now for some reason, at 1.30 the entire fleet was parked up wing to wing on the VERY short startline. Oh crap, plan B it is then.
We hunted for a smaller hole at the other end of the line and ending up starting front row but a little slow. At the top we rounded 12th after clocking up some good lanes and having some pretty decent speed. We pulled the bear away (easy stuff, our bearaways kicked ass all week, even in 25 knots) and popped the kite. Down the runs we were rapid (new kite) and gybed in the waves without any problems. We rounded the leeward mark (for some stupid reason, a big life raft full of photographers who were there all day but didn’t manage to take a single decent picture…) and ended up finishing the race 16th after dropping a few places at the second leeward mark.
Second race was very similar. Lots of capsizing for many boats and plenty of kite choking downwind to slow the boat before we slam into the next wave. Second race we finish 15th.
Final race, we nail the start and throw caution to the building wind by refusing to choke the kite in the waves. We scream down both runs picking up places as other boats flip out. We come into the final gybe on the second run (out of three), nail the boat onto the layline and charge into the mark, picking up another place to jump up to 4th. As we round the leeward mark, following nose to tail with the guy in 3rd, we both hit the wire as Jus sheets in the main. The guys we had just overtaken were gybe dropping round the mark in a pack, and we sailed into there big bad air at the wrong time. The boat pitched into to windward without giving us a second to think, and we dropped back to 20th at the finish. The day should have been much better with us finishing in 27th (gold fleet qulification standard after two days) if it wasn’t for the capsize. We made a few mistakes that were so stupid but easy to fix with more practice, so we aren’t to unhappy with our work.
A few of the Brits had a great day. Dylan and Alain and Rashley and Shrek both sailed blinders.
We got off the water and headed back to the tent for some Pasta and lots of water.