Our sexy young newbie match racing friend Danielle Soriano from Team Foxsea sends in a report from the Grade 4 Cocoa Match Race.
The day before the event, I got to spend a little time on the water with Bill Gladstone, Dave Noble, & Frank Brown as a 4th just to check things out and to get a feel for the boat. Well, that ‘feel’ was short lived as I managed to break the rudder within five minutes of steering! It broke right at the bottom of the plate….amazing. This ‘broken rudder joke’ did provide for multiple laughs throughout the weekend, so, it was more like a public service. Luckily, Bill managed to get another rudder in time for racing! Friday night we had a NorthU Clinic led by Bill, which Cate and Lindsay arrived in time for.
Saturday (Racing Day 1): Breeze was on with puffs hitting 30+ and we struggled a bit with sorting out the boat. Unfortunately, our main sheet traveler was set behind the rudder, making it necessary for Lindsay to sit behind me and be the main trimmer. This took away some crucial muscle up front and had Cate putting her arms to the test on the jib. This was no small feat and since we couldn’t get it in enough it really took away from our pointing. We did get frustrated at times as we were being beat by the boat more than anything else. A couple of the umps, who were more knowledgeable in the Cat 22s than us, took some time to give us some pointers which we put into play for the last race. We went 1-4 on the day, but were not disheartened as we knew our results weren’t reflecting our abilities. Dinner at the Butz residence that night saw us well fed and off to bed early.
Sunday (Racing Day 2): We woke up and were met with just as much wind and even greater puffs than the day before. We set out on the day hoping for the best and looking to give it our all as we were up against the more advanced match racers for the last 4 flights of the round robin. Today we managed to get it all together. The jib was in, with myself tailing for Cate (who would crank it in and then crawl to the high side to hike like a spider monkey) and Lindsay was again on the main. We had much better boat speed and felt as if we were actually able to match race instead of just fight the boat. We won our first two matches, losing the third to the Gladstone/Noble/Brown Team. We were looking to finish the round robin with a winning record, but a blown tack shackle in the jib, 2m before the start slowed us down enough that we didn’t have time to catch up before we took our second loss of the day. Just as soon as we fixed that breakdown, the shackle on our main blew as well. Luckily, there was no short supply of sail ties on board, between Lindsay & I, and we were able to strap it down before the final race. The single knock-out for the bottom 6 saw us in the 8th position, but we managed to keep the boat in one piece (with the help of a lot of line) long enough to secure the 7th spot overall.
The entire event had a great vibe, everyone was willing to help and the hospitality was just amazing! The weekend was definitely a memorable one and there were no shortage of laughs both on and off the water. We come away from the event having gained more experience as match racers and having learned more about ourselves as a team. All in all, the weekend has pumped us up for more and we look forward to the next clinic/event at Rollins in Orlando on Jan 18-20th! A big thank you to Bill Gladstone, Jerry Butz, Mary Anne Ward, and all of the competitors, umps, and spectators for making this a great event for us! Congrats to the Gladstone/Noble/Brown Team for a well deserved win!
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