Friday, May 8, 2009

J/24 Worlds -- Day #4: Four Days, Four Races

On behalf of Annapolis... we're sorry.

Seriously, the conditions for this regatta have been a little weak, even by Annapolis standards. The wind doesn't normally pull a Kaiser Soze until it gets a bit warmer...

I've heard positive reviews of Annapolis Yacht Club and mostly positive reviews about the Race Committee -- but there are some dejected looks wandering into the shop after racing every day due to the conditions.

Our racing rigger, Jarrett Hering, continues to check in after racing and his tone remains surprisingly positive. He and the folks on Millenium Falcon (USA 5350) are hoping to get at least two races in today, earning that magical throwout that everyone would like to have. To that end, the RC is making it a gallon-o'-coffee morning by aiming to get racing going by 9:30am. Hopefully the wind flies towards the top end of the forecast, which is calling for South winds at just 5 - 10 knots.

Here's the on-course perspective:



Things looked good early with decent breeze on our way to the rendezvous. Clearer skies with patchy sun, a respectable 9-12 kts and the current was slightly more tame.

After a couple of General Recalls (being shut out and third row, we were thankful for those) the Race Committee threw up the Black Flag and we got a race off. We had a great hole to work with and clear air. With Larson, Parker and Welles right around us, we worked to leg out to the left for the current while keeping tabs on the right. We got up to the windward mark about mid-fleet.

Downwind it was playing the shifts, finding pressure under clouds and being in the right current. We picked up a few boats downhill and at the first leeward rounding we went back to the left.

Keeping our lane and not getting ping-ponged helped us pick up a few more boats as we pushed uphill. We rounded the top mark in the 30's and came back down, this time to the finish thanks to a change in the SI's that allowed for a shortening of the races. Our trimmer worked the kite in waves, kept clear air, soaked in pressure and we picked up a couple more boats.

We ended up with a 23 for today's race. It's a real moral boost to be consistent and pick up boats on each leg. We're happy to be holding our own and getting better as the racing goes on. The black flag really hurt some racers and threw a wrench into the leaderboard.

The breeze shut off just after we finished and lots of the fleet actually had to drop the spin and finish upwind with the genoa. Clouds rolled in and two storm fronts converged for torrential downpours. We were hoping breeze would come with the rain, but no luck. Skies cleared, sun came out and the breeze shut off. No more races today.

Tonight (Thursday) is a fancy party at the Chesapeake Bay Beach Club for all the competitors and it looks to be a nice time. RC is putting up an ammendment for the first warning signal at 9:30 to try and take advantage of the early breeze for as many races as possible.

Hope for a few more races tomorrow (Friday) and a looking for a strong finish to this Worlds.

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