Deal With It
Moose McClintock from Dimension/Polyant fills us in on the very latest from the J/24 Worlds.
True to the forecast, it was cold and VERY wet, I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just jump in the water at the dock and see if the stuff I’m wearing would act like a wetsuit. I frostbite Lasers all winter and was wearing more layers than I ever have for that and was colder and wetter, what’s up with that?
Well, despite the cold and wet, it turned out to be great day on the water. The breeze was more than expected (generally about 10-15) and everything was really tight for the first race. Ian Southworth, with Max Skelley showing his knowledge of the Annapolis area where he won the J-22 Worlds a few years back, led from the get-go with a nice start near the leeward end, leveraging that into a nice lefty to lead from start to finish. We were able to just hang in behind them for a 2nd despite falling back a bit on the first beat, Tim Healy was nice enough not to nail us when he had the chance right off the line, though Tim lost a few boats around the track he came back for a strong third. Former World champions Mauricio Santa Cruz and Anthony Kotoun were 6,7 and both showed really good speed after getting a little tangled up in different situations up the beats, in the long run both came out clean and posted keepers. I guess the goal here is to not mistakes, keeping yourself consistently in the top ten is the best way to keep yourself in the game and staying away from big numbers early keeps everyone on their toes.
With that said, the second race proved that taking chances early with an 80 boat fleet isn’t a great thing to do. After a genereal and and "I" flag recall, the "Z" flag came out. That too was a general and then the black flag came out, at least that one was clean. Unfortunately, it was particularly cruel for Tim, Ian and us as we all posted the cruel letter (I swear, there was NO way we were over…….ever hear that one?) but in the long run it didn’t matter much, Santa Cruz crushed us up the first beat as we overstood by a mile (I just KNOW there’s a knot of adverse current, it’s going to put us right on the mark………..what do you mean they’re laying from below us?) and rounded about 9th. Though we thought we were doing a good job we ended up 6th across the line while Kotoun made a great comeback as a big shift on the last beat led the left side to overstand (what do you mean, they’re laying from below us?) and shuffle the final results a bit. We thought we were doing well with a 2,6 till the sail in when the RC announced the Z penalties……..well, too late now, just sail in and deal with it.
With a tough day under our belts, and a few rums down the throat, we’re standing 6th with our "Z", just ahead of Southworth and his "Z". Santa Cruz has a 2 point lead over Kotoun (who had a contentious protest with Pete Levesque, I think they passed that one off in the beer tent) while the Japanese boat Three Bond is 6 points or so up on the Will Welles North One Design team. It was interesting to see the parity in boat speed, the boats that did well sailed the very shifty breezes (20-25 degrees with big velocity differences) the best and their results show it. Not sure how it will work out, I keep reminding our team that Kenny Read won the Worlds in ’86 in Newport with an OCS in the first race. We’re not Kenny but sometimes it better knowing you have a drop in hand (though with these conditions it could easily be a keeper) so you keep the pressure on yourself. I’m kind of thinknig, though, if you have to keep a 22 you’re not looking at silver. Still, there’s 8 more races, if we can sail well and avoid more letters than numbers, it should all be OK. Unfortuantely, we’re looking at very little breeze tomorrow so I hope we even get enough races in for a drop. From very cold and very wet Annapolis, good night.