Congrats to North American champs, Travis and his team for their victory.
All I can say is, wow! It was a real learning experience in Lake George at the Changing of the Colors hosted by Fleet 24 last weekend. I can’t say I’ve helmed in jib weather too often but on Saturday, it was so windy that boats were being knocked down at the windward mark. The RC said the wind was steady 28 knots and gusts well over 30. Locals were saying that they had never seen such steep and deep waves. It was truly hard work but fun. The RC had radio issues and we never heard them over the VHF that the AP was down. So we were terribly late to the start. It is unfortunate, but it happens. I wouldn’t want to have been on the RC boats, bobbing up and down… We had to retire because one of our crew was thrown a couple of times across the boat while tacking. We’re not sure exactly how it happened but I think a few big waves hit us as we were tacking. The deck was so wet that she might have lost her footing. She was lucky the stanchion kept her on board. It was such a hard hit to the shoulder, that a stanchion weld actually broke. Check out the picture.
We retired after that. The pain on Paula was quite evident. We went back out with a replacement crew hoping that we would have a second race, but the RC decided against it. The brutal tally for the day was only 37 boats out of 67 finished. 1 broken mast, tons of ripped mains, the few top boats who decided to fly the chute broached. One so badly, that two guys were seen standing on the keel for quite some time to bring the boat back on its feet! Sunday was much better. The forecast called for lighter winds. I’m not sure if it was easier sailing or not because the wind, coming from the north, was at the top end of the genoa with the puffs being in blade territory. Our first start wasn’t too bad. We decided that we wanted the left side. I think we got a second row start and finished the shortened race course 35th. A little disappointed but not bad either. Our goal was mid fleet if the conditions were rough, which they were. The second start was just plain horrible. Again, we wanted the left side but for some reason, a bunch of boats decided to port tack the fleet because they weren’t making the pin. With almost 70 boats coming at them, a domino effect of tacking happened and we crashed tacked twice to avoid a major collision… not pretty but at least we weren’t hit. But it did cause us to start behind everyone. The wind was picking up again and knowing that we weren’t in the running for a good spot, Jonathon decided to have fun downwind and work on our downwind pumping action. 1 pump per wave! It was well worth the finish in the 51st spot. I learned so much in that downwind leg that I would have been happy to finish dead last. What an amazing feeling to be able to keep the boat from decelerating. We don’t get to sail in hardy conditions like this too often and it was great practice. So this is our last regatta for the season. It is clear where we stand in the pack with next year’s Worlds less than a year away, we have to concentrate on our starts. Our boat speed was excellent and the boat is super stiff in the waves. The hotel is booked in Rochester and all we need is practice, practice and a new set of sails 🙂 The good news is that there is a ton of good racing left to comment on. The Pan American Games in Mexico are starting in 10 days, the East Coast Championships are at the end of the month and the Worlds in Argentina are in November! Stay tuned!