Monday, October 9, 2017

WET Fall Regatta

The WET Fall regatta took place the last two days at David Kashy's place in Seaford, VA. We took that as a reason to drive down to Hatteras a week before the ABK camp, and had a blast.

The weather was nice, the wind great for longboard racing, the organization once again excellent - thanks to all who made it happen!
Racing is always a good way to learn where you need to improve. I had plenty to learn! Some of these things are:

  • Practice the hard stuff, not just the fun stuff! I fell a couple of times in long downwind legs, which I never practice.
  • Check your gear before the trip! When I took out Nina's Ultra Cat at the end of day one, I discovered that the mast foot tendon had about 10 deep cracks; it was just pure luck that it had not broken during the races. Nina ended up using slalom gear for several races on day two, which was fun in the gusts, but had her drop to the rear of the field in lulls.
  • If you're racing with your MSO, she might expect exceptions from the right-of-way rules, even if she knows them perfectly well. Or perhaps she never practiced stopping with a cambered sail on a race board, and absolutely will not drop a 3-cam 7.8 m sail. Well, at least not before the inevitable collision. 
  • Listen carefully at the skippers meeting, and then look at the flags! More about that below.
The races also illustrated nicely how much gear matters. Steve was in a league of his own on the Starboard Phantom 377:
Although looking at the picture, maybe he just discovered how to sail downhill all the time?

John was in second place in most races on a Mega Cat with a 9.5 m raceboard sail. When Nina was on her Ultra Cat with a 7.8 m 3-cam freerace sail, she managed to pass him a few times; taking the weight difference into account, she was on comparable gear. I'm much closer to John's weight, and was on my Lightning that does not have a race daggerboard, so I was far behind John in the light wind races. In the second race on Sunday when the wind picked up, I managed to get close, and might have had a chance to beat him ... if I had looked at the flags and seen that we were going around the course twice this time, instead of just once as in the first race of the day. By the time I understood what all the "2" signs that the boat crew was making meant, the entire field had long passed me. But at least there was nobody else in the picture when I finally crossed the finish line:
The pictures are from Marcia and David - big thanks! Here's a final one of Nina having fun:

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