by Andrew Brown
Andrew Brown (ForceRacing) training off Takapuna
New 3.7 National Champion Andrew Brown of www.forceracing.co.nz!ForceRacing describes the final day of the 2010 3.7 National Championships held at Evans Bay, Wellington:
After no racing on Days 1 and 2, it left Day 3 to do five races without a drop race to get the series in! We started at 9am sharp in a northerly breeze of 15kts gusting to 18kts. This breeze was dying through the morning. And by the end of the second race it was down to 6kts.
For the first two races held in the northerly we did a double M course, which was two times around the M course meaning three reach to reach gybes per lap.
The first race I was a close third to the top mark, working the middle of the course taking the shifts either way. I quickly got around the front two boats on the first reach and then extended each leg to take the race quite well.
The second race however was a different story with the reining champ Rhys Johnston and I battling it out around the course only separated by about a boatlength. As the wind was dying in this race and a Southerly was due to hit the wind started to go more westerly, meaning the last reach was more of a run. At the last gybe mark, Rhys just got the inside and had to gybe at the mark, while I took the gust we were in down a bit before gybing in the pressure to scrap across the line a couple of boatlengths in front.
The committee then sent the fleet in for lunch and to wait for the Southerly to hit, so they could relay the course.
The Southerly built so by race time we were in 20 to 25 kts with the odd gust to 30 kts. It was awesome flat water and damned cold! In the third race of the day there was an individual recall signaled and since there were no drops I played it safe and returned (I found out that I wasn't over). I battled throughout the race with great pace to get through to second place.
The fourth race I made sure of my start and with great VMG going low and fast I was off to gain another decent win (with a lot of yahooing on the reaches)!
In Race 5 all I needed to do was to play it safe and stick close to the two closest rivals, Rhys and Lance O'Connell. The three of us cleared out from the fleet and in this race we had a decent last beat to windward. Rhys was leading up the last beat and I was in a close second by about two boatlengths. Lucky for me it was 25 kts by this stage, and the 3.7 is quite hard to tack as it is very easy to get stuck into irons (when windy). I therefore managed to separate from Rhys, and pick a nice little lift to squeeze past him to win the last race and the closely fought contest.
I did a lot of development to my boat throughout the season giving me great speed in over 8 kts, and there are a few people I need to thank as they share in the win as much as I do. Firstly Nick Olson from Evolution Composites for building me an awesome rudder and centreboard - when I put the new centreboard on my boat was just fantastic to sail!
Also to Derek Scott from North Sails NZ - with the wing mast I have, we ended up doing three luff curve changes to my sail and Derek did a great job to make my rig a real pleasure to sail with (and easy as well, meaning more time to look around)!
To John Clinton for telling me about the boat that Christian built with John and had stored away in the garage, the boat performs very well and looks great as well.
Lastly to Carrick and Barry from Southern Spars for the EC6 Carbon stays which quite frankly not only outperforms any other type of stay in all the tests and on the water, but they also look really sexy on the boat as well!!!
To read more about Andrew Brown and Forceracing go to www.forceracing.co.nz