Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Battle For First Place

Fangy's Weed Farm looked peaceful today:
Yesterday? A very different story! In the monthly rankings on the GPS Team Challenge, two local teams were tied for first place: the Mandurah Mob and the Pinnaroos. It was time for a showdown!

Our host Mike, team captain of the Mobsters, barely waited for the first white caps to show up on the ocean to head out to Coodanup, where Fangy's Weed Farm creates some of the flattest water I have ever seen. In 2017, this was perhaps the secret weapon that brought the Mobsters the victory in the battle for first place in Australia - but since then, large groups of "pesky Pinnas" have invade the weed farm on a regular basis. Yesterday was another invasion day - 6 Pinnas showed up hoping the good forecast would come true, matching the number of Mobsters.

But the Mobsters had a good plan: go for distance, and perhaps improve the 1-hours speeds at the same time. I tried to help with the only thing I could think off: distract the Pinnaroos' team captain by offering her jibe advice, and even showing her a bit of sail chi on shore. This kept her too busy to advice her team mates on strategy - although in all fairness, it might have been too late by then, since Mike and his team mate Slugger already had been on the water for a couple of hours.

My little sail chi distraction did serve a second purpose: it made me hit the water just as the wind picked up, so I was very nicely powered on my 7.0/112 combo right away. I had planned on giving some more jibe advice on the water, but had way too much fun on the flat water to stop. The wind direction (SSW) was perfect in that it created really nice long runs, so I changed my plans and went for 1-hour speed instead. Whoever invented this category for the GPS Team Challenge must love going back and forth as much as I. The "short" runs were about 1.5 km long, mostly right at the edge of the weed, but sometimes just below weed beds in "chitter-chatter" water, and a few times straight through the middle of the weed (made possible by the incredible Fangy Fins).

All the time, I saw Mike and Slugger go back and forth like the real speed machines they are. A few times, I followed Mike around, but I had to really concentrate on speed, or he would have left me behind very quickly. Impressive!

At the end of the day, the deed was done: the Mobsters had jumped to second place in the distance ranking for the month, and also improved their ranking in the 1 hour category, jumping way ahead of the pesky Pinna invaders:
I had a blast watching the action from the water, and got inspired to try harder. This time around, I sailed in my favorite conditions: lighter wind (perhaps 22 knots) and big gear (7.0/112/22). Jibing was just too much fun, and the wind direction also had the alpha markers in a perfect position, so it was no big surprise that Nina and I both improved our personal bests in the alpha 500 category a bit. When I looked at the postings from the Pinnas and the Mobsters, however, I was in for another surprise: of the 14 windsurfers from the two teams and the "USA" team, I ended up with the fastest 1-hour and 2-second numbers! The hour was perhaps not surprising, since that's perhaps my best category; but the 2-second "top speed" category was a big surprise. I'll blame it on the new "Stroppo's Curves" approach, which I tried many times in the middle of the runs. Big thanks, Stroppo!
Here's a table with the results from the 14 sailors from the 3 teams at Coodanup yesterday, with rankings in each category and an overall ranking (the sum of all categories):
Mark ended up in first place - well deserved, he set three personal bests that day! I ended up in second place overall, which makes me very happy. In conditions I'm familiar with, I'm not half bad after all! It's good that I did not get first place overall - that would have inflated my ego way too much, probably enough to have my head explode. Chances are I would not mind much since I'd die in a state of happiness, but I'd be really sorry for Mike and Dot having to clean up the mess!

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