gold guns girls
Genny Tulloch tells tales of gold…
We finished today as the sun set (literally, we got to the dock and they shot off the cannons for colors at the NYYC). The good news is that with the Red group racing finished we have advanced to the Gold Round Robin and have an automatic spot in the quarterfinals at the Women’s Match Racing World Championships! The other Blue group raced this morning, so we left the NYYC dock at 1 pm to head out to the course, where the wind was blowing 15-20 knots and the waves were 2-3 feet. We came into the day with a 3-1 record, but with 5 races to go and no weak competitors, we knew we needed to race well.
Our first race was against Greece’s Sophia Bekatorou, the 2004 Gold Medalist in the 470 class. We had a brain fade at the windward mark and ended up starting the run with a penalty. But over the course of the leg we were able to get an offsetting penalty against her and then draw another flag against her before the leeward mark. Since she had an outstanding penalty, we just kept things close up the next upwind leg and rounded the windward mark just behind her. Fortunately for us, she hit the windward mark and drew another penalty and had to take one of her penalty turns immediately. We set the spinnaker and made our way to the finish for the win.
Next up was Sam Osbourne from New Zealand. We barely led off of the starting line and stayed ahead around the track. Close to the finish, things got interesting. With about 15 lengths to go before the finish, we both gybed to starboard and she was able to roll over the top of us. We sailed low and cleared our breeze behind her, putting us into a drag race for the finish. Our speed was good and we were feeling confident until we noticed that there was another match preparing to enter the starting line just as we were passing the RC boat to finish. We were coming in at the RC boat just as Katie Spithill came in to enter the line at the starboard end! Fortunately for us, there was just enough room between us and the RC boat for Katie, and Katie realized that it was a very close race between us and Sam so she decided to bear off to leeward of us and let us both finish. We managed to edge Sam out by about 5 feet to take the win.
Our third race ended was postoponed due to a broken outhaul on the other boat, and it was sailed at the end of the day (hence our sunset arrival at the dock). So next we took on Lucy Mcgregor from GBR. We had a great start and rounded the windward mark just ahead of them. On the run they ran into our backstay with their spinnaker and got a penalty. They managed to get a last minute overlap at the leeward mark to round inside, but again with an outstanding penalty for them we just wanted to keep it close. We rounded the windward mark a couple boatlengths behind but the Brit’s had just enough room to spin their penalty turn after the windward mark. We didn’t have enough track left to catch them and they went on to win the race.
Next on deck was Lotte Meldgard from Denmark. We controlled the prestart well and were positioned to win the start easily. But the RC neglected to put up the flag or sound the horn on time at the start and we ended up having to reach off to the unfavored pin end (while Lotte headed for the boat end) as a result. The net of that error was a one boatlength lead for Lotte instead of us. We fought back hard and pulled ahead by the windward mark. But they were able to make gains on the run and eventually were able to luff us on starboard tack heading into the leeward mark. Apparently we didn’t respond quickly enough, and we came out of the encounter with a penalty and rounding the mark behind. That was pretty much the end of the race, so we went into our final race 5-3 and knowing we needed to win the next one (with a red flag hearing to be heard on the dock about the start).
Finally, as the rest of the fleet headed in, we sailed our previously postponed race against Julie Bossard. The race was pretty uneventful – we led off the line and were able to hold our lead around the course to go 6-3 in our group. That was good enough for third in our group (tied with Katie Spithill for 2nd), and advances us to the Gold Round Robin.
Tomorrow we will race a 6-team round robin against Spithill, Macgregor and the top three teams from the other group (Sally Barkow, Claire Leroy, and Nikki Souter) to determine our seeding for the quarter finals. Our racing starts at 9:30 tomorrow morning, so we’re off to get some rest before a big day and some good races tomorrow.
Alice, Genny, Jenn and Liz
We’d like to thank the USSTAG team and its sponsors, the St. Francis Yacht Club, GU Energy, Kaenon, Fried Elliott and goarmadillo.com for supporting our team. You can follow along on the regatta website for race tracking, live blogging, and results.