It was a tough week this week in Hyeres for our team at the Semaine Olympique Francaise. Aside from the perpetual lack of wind that’s plagued all of the competitors (I think I jinxed us by saying match racing was getting all of the races off—we’ve ended up only getting off many more than the other fleets), Alice pretty much summed it all up tonight by saying that now that she finally is feeling better and has her bags (after 4 days), we’re done with racing. After winning our first race in the repechage sailing with Debbie Capozzi yesterday while Alice was still on the mend from a stomach virus, today we had to finish up the last four races with enough wins to advance. With a forecast for not much wind, the race committee sent us out there at 9 am and had us waiting around for anything to fill briefly. Alice was feeling better and able to keep some water and crackers down, but the sitting around in no wind/hot sun was tough on all of us.
We finally had a race at 1130. After leading at all the marks we beat the Aussie Whitty team whose win over us in the B round robin had placed us in the repechage initially. We then sat for another couple of hours before racing the Spanish Echebegoyan in very light and shifty conditions. We won the start and the right, but she had a little more pressure than us on the left and, after a couple of times of us lee-bowing her, she was able to get across us on the left and maintain her lead.
Down but not out we then raced Renee Groeneveld, who comes off wins at both the Palma and Weymouth World Cup events. We had a great race against her, beating her off the line but just were not able to hold to windward of her on port, ducking her on the beat to get to the favored right, then rounding ahead and maintaining the lead on a tricky downwind. However with a not ideal mark rounding she was able to get a little bow out headed right and we had to tack off again. With a long starboard tack and a dying breeze we couldn’t get around her up the beat and she was able to sail clear on the long downwind port to the finish.
Unftunately for us the last race was against Claire Leroy, who was ranked #1 in the World Rankings for the last four years until Macgregor’s team knocked her off in the latest release. It showed that we were in good company racing both Renee and Claire’s teams for the spots into the quarters, and Claire showed her stuff in the pre-start. She also did a lot of yelling and flagging, which may have unnerved us a bit, and we were forced back early to the line, then after almost tacking off to the boat she came back and was ultimately able to push us over at the pin. With a hard turn back for us she had won the race to the left and the race in general. Claire made it through to the quarterfinals, but Renee lost her match so the final quarter spot actually goes to the Spanish Roca team. We of course wish we could be racing tomorrow, but it was not meant to be this time. It means we’ll only be more hungry for the next event.
We’d like to thank our supporters for helping us be here, and especially thank our coach Dave Dellenbaugh and the US Sailing Team Alphagraphics. We’ll be cheering hard for our teammates still racing!
Genny, Alice, and Karina