Calcup  5
8th September 2012

Friday night was not a good preparation for the last Calcup of the season. I had to work until 9pm. The wake up call on Saturday at 5:30am was a little difficult! I loaded the kit in the morning trying not to leave anything behind before the 5 hour drive to Berkeley. The traffic was quite smooth. it was noticeable that the summer was coming to an end. We arrived at Berkeley in good  time. I was very happy to go on the water after a busy week at work.  The wind was pretty light as we arrived but started to pick up soon. I enjoyed sailing the 7.8 m2 at the previous Calcup so I thought I would give it another go this time. I also rigged up the 9.0 as a back up. Just before going out I checked the wind. It had just picked up to 18mph in Berkeley and I expected it to keep picking up during the afternoon. I was reasonably powered up as I was heading to the committee boat before the first race. Just before the start of the first race, it became apparent that the wind was not picking up. If anything it was dropping slightly. I was a bit worried  about that but I saw that the other guys had rigged up their small sails as well. They were on 9.4, 9.3,  9.0. So despite having 1.6 meters less than some of the others I decided to make the best out of the conditions anyway.

Race 1- The first start was a bit of a mess. I thought the start line was between the boat and the orange buoy. It looks like a bunch of other guys thought the same. There were about 7 of us over early. The race officer went for a general recall.
The wind had shifted south for the second start making the line very port biased. A bunch of us decided to start on port. Soheil was flying on the first beat, he had good power with his Neilpryde 9.5. Unfortunately he jibed a bit late during the first downwind leg. Al Mirel made the most of the situation by jibing early and took the lead. I passed the downwind gate in second place. I had good angle upwind despite the small fin and the small sail. So I managed to pass Al. I made sure to be vigilant about the lay lines to extend my lead for the remaining of that first race. Three laps with a good length beat made the course quite long but entertaining.
Race 2 -The second race started well. I had good angle especially on port. Steve Sylvester was flying! I tacked a bit too early and that was not a smart move. I ended up above Steve making a mess of his race. I made sure I didn't make any more mistakes on that race to stay ahead...

Race 3 -The third race started with an individual recall. Steve Sylvester was a bit ahead of me. Unfortunately Steve thought the individual recall was for him so he went back to the start line. Although the race officer was trying to help out by hailing the offender with a loud speaker, we could not hear which number it was. Meanwhile I had carried on without slowing down on the basis that I wasn't first at the start. I'd forgotten my watch so I kept following people at the start!
  I tacked a bit too early heading towards the upwind gate on starboard. Al Mirel made a better call by tacking a bit later and took the lead at the first upwind gate. Al also jibed quite early on the first downwind leg as a repeat of his first race tactical success. At that point the wind had dropped really light and we both ended up too far on the south side of the run where there was very little wind pressure.  I managed to catch up Al in the light conditions with my "VA VA VUM" 7.8. Soheil made the most of our mistake by jibing late on the north side of the course. He was coming back strong. Somehow I managed to squeeze ahead through the downwind gate with Soheil in hot pursuit, from then on I used my good angle on port to keep him at bay during the last upwind leg.

Race 4 (Long distance) - Before the last start of the last rave there was  quite a bit of excitement as the committee boat lost its anchor. The race officer had to lay a buoy to replace the committee boat at the starboard end of the line. The last race was a long distance race around the top of the Berkeley pier. Steve Sylvester and Jack Lundquist were very fast off the start line. I had a good angle on port as usual. Jack gave me a good run for my money. I am sure he will go from strengh to strengh! This time I made sure I gave Steve plenty of space as we were approaching the pier to let him show us his true speed. As it happened going close to the pier paid off and I had a good lead on Steve and Soheil at that point. Unfortunately I was a bit too ambitious and tacked back too early to make the top of the pier. I lost most of my lead in the process with Soheil and Steve coming back strong. I managed to pull away again at the beginning of the downwind run but I jibbed a little too early again. Soheil came back very close. We had a good battle on starboard on the long leg going towards the gap in the pier. In the end I just managed to squeeze ahead finishing a few seconds in front of Soheil.
That concluded a great 2012 Calcup series!
A big thank you to Mike Percy for running the series, his son Nick and Anders the race officer for being a great race committee. Last but not least, I would like to thank my lovely wife for taking great pictures that delighted the whole fleet and for sharing the highs and lows of a busy 2012 Racing season...  Looking forward to 2013!