Mastering It, Part Three
August 31, 2009. Another long day on the water. Things look promising to start. The Apprentices take off in a 15-knot sea breeze, but the wind goes south (actually west) and the RC pulls the plug just as the fleet approaches the weather mark (ILCA chief honcho Jeff Martin cannot tolerate an imperfect race). So, once again it’s anchors aweigh and we’re all off to the other side of the bay in search of dependable breeze (or shallow water, or more exercise, or whatever; can anybody tell me why they have to move the course a few miles every time the wind shifts?). We finally settle down over by the western shore and things get going again around 3 pm. When the gun goes off it’s 10 knots and dropping fast, and sure enough, just as my Grand Master fleet is slouching toward the leeward gate on the last leg, the wind goes south again (literally this time) and a jumbled up fleet reaches home in a 12-knot sea breeze (no abandonment this time; damn).
With a newfound sense of expediency (it’s getting dark), the RC promptly rotates the course and fires the warning for Race 4. Off we go. I shake off the urge to collapse and find myself – surprise! – 3rd at the weather mark. Then 1st at the leeward mark! Then, as I close in on the second weather mark, having already calculated my new score with a 1 on the end of it, the breeze clocks back to the west and I hear the dreaded 3 horns of abandonment (damn again). Crash boats start herding the tired masters into towlines for the long ride home. In the ensuing mayhem, more than one competitor loses his damage deposit. Last one in gets a cold shower.
With only one race completed, there are few changes at the front of the leaderboard. Ray Davies from Canada led the Standard Apprentice fleet home, but Bougiouris still leads with Beyer closing in. Scott Ferguson (Newport, RI) took a bullet in his qualifier to climb on top of the Standard Masters fleet, with Marc Jacobi taking first in the other Masters qualifier. In Standard Grand Masters, Australia’s Rob Lowndes did an end run around the left corner to snatch victory from Texan Doug Peckover, but the German Gerz came in 3rd to solidify his lead in the series. Over on the radial course, Grand Masteress Sally Sharp came home first as series leader Rob Koci took an OCS. Speaking of OCS, 5 of 14 Apprentices jumped the gun, including series leader Richard Bott from Australia, leaving the victory to Willmott Grant. Brazilian Carlos Eduardo Wanderley is beating up on the 37-boat Masters fleet. And (yawn) Peter Seidenberg continues to be unbeatable in the Great Grand Master fleet.
I want to be like Peter when I grow up.