by John Curtis
Perth 2011 ISAF Sailing World Championships day twelve of fleet racing was another fluky day with no house calls from the Fremantle Doctor.
Richard and Tyler were in the Christmas spirit today with the Santa hats for the trip into the harbour. - ISAF Sailing World Championships Perth 2011
Although warmer temperatures have returned, the cloud cover seemed to prevent the sea breeze from establishing itself. The RS:X fleet only finished one race for each fleet and the 49'ers only had two races per fleet rather than the three that were planned.
The Star's had a light sea breeze for their first race and then waited until about 4 pm for the offshore breeze to establish itself. They did get two races in but it was a long day. They were the only fleet to get a sea breeze. All other fleets had offshore and sporadic puffs from the right (west or ocean side of the course)
Richard and Tyler had an up and down day with a seventh in race seven and 19th in Race eight. The boys attribute their inconsistent performance to the flukiness of the conditions and this explanation bears out when one looks at the results of the rest of the fleet. They remain in eighth overall with two races left before the medal race.
Interestingly they are only four points behind fifth place Norway. It sure is close!!! The Polish boat had a really bad day today getting a second DNF (did not finish) for being over early at the start. They are still in sixth overall but can not afford one more even moderate mistake. That conservative sailing that Richard spoke of early on is starting to pay dividends. Right now the task of qualifying for the Olympics looks to be well in hand but they will have to be on their game for the next two races.
Hebb/Wolfs, the other Canadian team in the Star Class, are sitting in 31st overall.
Richard and Tyler were in the Christmas spirit today with the Santa hats for the trip into the harbour.
The RS:X Men had only one race. The first race for one of the fleets was canceled after the Race committee decided it was too light and shifty. Unfortunately David Hayes had been doing quite well in the race, although by the time the Race Committee pulled the plug it was not looking as rosy for him. When they resailed it David finished 16th and is currently sitting in 32nd overall.
Zac Plasvic had his worst race of the series today with a 20. This will be his discard and means that he slipped to 13th overall. He had a bad start and just could not break free of the pack. The 20th place was actually a great come back from earlier in the race. The boards had to contend with especially fickle conditions as they were closest to shore in the shifty offshore breeze. As David Hayes said, 'It was a lot like sailing in Kingston in a northerly'. Personally I am sure it was much warmer than that :)
If Zac makes the top 10 and the Medal race, the Olympic Trials for Canada are over and Zac will be 'auto-selected'. David's best shot at preventing this is to qualify for the Championship fleet which will be the top 46 Competitors and sail Zac off of a top 10. With is current standing of 32nd overall David is in position to keep it close. This should be an exciting battle to watch unfold. I hope there are no 'boarding parties'. We have had enough violence on the water already.
The top two in the 49'er fleet did not quite get it right today. The shifty wind conditions today along with highly variable wind velocity (3- 16knots) meant that large gains and loses were being made all day. The Canadians did not seem to find their rhythm in this stuff. As Johathan Lada put it 'maybe we needed to be a little more patient.' Instead as Coach Jason Rhodes observed, they sailed in the middle of the course, which meant that they never were able to capitalize on the extra wind and sharp shifts on the edges of the course. The speed differential of a 49'er sailing in eight knots of wind vs. one in 15 knots is about seven knots of boat speed. It does not take long to get launched to the front of the fleet or be out the back end in these conditions
Tomorrow the top 25 move onto the Championship fleet. The top 14 countries excluding Great Britain, qualify for the Olympics.
The good news is that Johathan and Daniel are currently 15th Country position and it looks like they still have a crack at qualifying the Country even in silver fleet because there are so many Danish and German boats in the Gold Fleet.
The Laser fleet got two races off. Chris Dold held onto 23rd overall with a third and a 19.
David Wright had a slightly better day with a seven and 11. Both sailors will make the Championship fleet which consists of the top 50 boats after the qualifying round. As David Wright put it, 'now the real racing begins'. While they must count their scores from qualification, a few good results in the Championship will move anyone ahead dramatically.
The 470 Girls had another day with more of the same sort of results (41/48) I have to admire their positive attitude. These girls clearly the attitude required but need some more time on the water before the ability manifests itself.
The coaches do not have an easy time of it here. All the boats are moored offshore well away from the regatta site and require a boat to shuttle them to and from their boats.
Big day tomorrow.
Looks like it may be more of the same tomorrow with a slightly better chance that the sea breeze will establish itself.
Perth 2011 website
Wind Athletes Canada website