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The day started well with the wind blowing early in the high teens.
The course was going to be a simple upwind downwind, one lap only.
I got to the start line in good time which allowed me to adjust all my settings.
The wind was well stablished and I was on the right size kit. My first start went well. I was battling out in front with Tom Purcel. We reached the pier after the starboard leg. I tried to accelerate quickly after the tack. I managed to get a bit of a lead on port, so I tacked again on starboard close to the windward mark without any trouble but when I tried to tack again on port to reach the windward mark, I got in the way of Tom Purcel approaching on starboard. I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it ahead of him so I stopped but I got in his path, so he had to duck down to make it below me.
So I had to apologize after the race for getting in his way.
I carried on after Tom passed behind me and made it to the windward mark without trouble.
The course was a starboard course which is always a bit dangerous because you approach the windward mark on port so you have to give way to everyone who comes across you. I sailed pretty fast downwind to stay ahead of Tom. During the last upwind to the finish mark I tacked a little bit early. Tom and Eric got close by crossing the line closer to the buoy which was slightly downwind from the boat. I was determined not to get into trouble for race 2, so I started close to the pin end with the rest of the fleet closer to the boat. That move paid off as I had good speed off the start line and managed to get ahead cleanly. I tacked close to the pier and stretched my lead on the port leg. This time I carried on all the way to the lay line to make sure I didn’t need to approach the mark on port.
I kept my foot down for the downwind leg and I won that race with a good margin.
Tom figured out that starting at the pin end was an advantage and he timed his start well to be there for race 3. I didn’t think it was worth fighting too hard for that spot, so I started about 3 quarters of the way down the start line towards the pin end. I didn’t win race 3 by the same margin as in race 2 but it was still good enough.
I seem to remember having a poor start in race 4. I didn’t time it well and I ended up stuck behind Tom with no speed. There was no other option than diving downwind so I did that quickly. It worked surprisingly well and I ended up in front, possibly helped by a header. I managed to stay ahead all the way to the finish although I kept under laying the pin end.
Race 5 was a long distance race to the top of the pier and back through the gap with an upwind finish. The wind had shifted south slightly so the start line was more port biased. I thought the wind would keep shifting south so I wanted to start on starboard but close to the pin end. There was a big header on the start line and Tom got to the pin end a bit too early so he got tangled up with the buoy. I had the best start with the rest of the fleet behind me. After Tom’s bad start I expected to have an easy race. I tacked on port after reaching the pier as usual. Although I tacked not too close to the pier to stay in clean air, there was a big hole and I stayed off the plane for a few seconds after the tack. After I got back on the plane I saw Tom who had gone North after the start. It looked like I was getting some good lifts from the South initially but when he tacked I realized that it was going to be close. I tacked about 30 yards below Tom’s lay line to make it to the top of the pier. I was dead focused to sail fast but still close to the wind to make it in one leg. I knew that if I made any mistake, Tom would get ahead and I would be in his dirty wind. I managed to point Ok and I made it to the pier ahead of Tom by a couple of feet. I was trying to pull ahead downwind on starboard but Tom kept up with me, just about 30 yards back. We went quite far South but as soon as the wind got a bit light, I gybed. I saw quite quickly that I wouldn’t be able to make it to the gap in one leg but Tom who had gybed slightly later than me was a bit slower so gybing early was the right thing to do. There was more pressure close to the pier. I managed to stretch my lead to a good margin at the end of the downwind leg. Tom Purcel managed to stay just ahead of Eric Christianson to claim second place overall.
Thank you to Berkeley Yacht Club for running 5 races back to back on such a nice windy day! The race around the pier always has a taste of adventure. We never had to wait long between the races as the course was short which makes for more exciting close racing.
See you in August for round 4 of the 2015 Calcup!