good news/bad news
The good news is, after sitting around for 4 hours waiting for wind today, we got off all three races to finish Group B. I told Dave Johnson (our USSTAG onsite media guy) in an interview (here), that when there’s not enough wind for even the match racers to be out there, you know it’s dead calm. But match racing is looking pretty great as an Olympic sport, because generally we can race much more often than the other fleets—whether it’s too windy or too light for others, we’re still typically racing. (We got 11 races off yesterday whereas only 4 of the other 13 fleets even got one race). That’s aside from the fact that it’s clearly a fun part of the sport to watch. The other good news is that we had some really great match races today.
The bad news is, with a forecast for really light breeze today, we were actually hoping not to race, because Alice came down with food poisoning in the middle of the night.
Needless to say, she wasn’t feeling well and hadn’t slept much, but was a complete trooper for her attitude and abilities racing today. When the RC sent us out right on time at 9 AM trying to make the most of the breeze at the time, we roused her out of bed, only to go out and drift for 2 hrs before being sent back in. Lunch on shore for Karina and I and a touch more sleep for Alice and the breeze finally filled in a little, sending us to race our 3 harder competitors (after winning all three races yesterday).
Our first race was against French team LeBerre, and after holding them out at the boat at the start we had a pretty convincing win against them. We then raced the British Macgregor team (currently ranked #1 in the world), and that was a great race. We had a good prestart, with us winning the very favored pin that we wanted but with them splitting right to starboard advantage with a bit more speed at the gun. We rounded close behind them at the windward mark, managed to get around them on the downwind but had to bat turn around the mark while they had more speed outside of us. We had to tack off, giving them the left and having us close behind again at the weather mark. With a pretty textbook downwind we were able to get on their breeze, gybe onto starboard at them and keep the overlap, but they just could soak to the zone. As we gybed to the finish on top of them, us with our kite full and them collapsed underneath us, they must have only just crossed the line a hair ahead of us. AHH!
The last race we drew a penalty on the Australian Whitty team in the dial-up, but they managed to eke out just enough of a lead to do their penalty and beat us to the finish line. That left our advancing fate in the hands of the French LeBerre team—who needed to lose to Macgregor for us to qualify through. They beat Macgregor, thus actually winning the round robin, which left us third for the day and means we’ll be fighting in the repechage for a spot in the quarterfinals.
The good news is, we know Hyeres can have racing, even if the forecast calls for really light breeze. The bad news is—the next four days all call for that!
(I guess the best news is-we made it to Hyeres in the first place, with only one missed connection due to volcanic ash difficulties!) Event website is here. Photo Guillaume Durand Copyright/SOF2010.
Wish us luck,
Genny, Karina and Alice