Skandia Sail for Gold 2011 had quite a windy day three by the time gold fleet was able to get to racing. Anna Tunnicliffe of Team Maclaren shares a recap of the day's events
Team Maclaren had an okay day finishing 1-1 in the two races that were able to be completed. A little while after the finish of the second race, the fleet was turned around and sent in as the winds were consistent in ranging 22-26 knots and gusting as high as 30 knots, and breakdowns were happening frequently on the boats.
We left the dock at 11am to head out and watch some of the repecharge racing; made it out for the middle of their third race. However, due to the increasing winds, we were asked to move our course inside of the break wall so the 49er's could use our course. The match racing course had flatter water and slightly less wind than the 49er's course farther out. Inside the break wall there were five to ten knots more wind and significantly more chop.
Eventually the race committee got racing going again and we got into our boats around 1:00pm. When we got our boat, however, the vang had broken and required fixing which took a good ten minutes, and we also had to replace our jib blocks. Just as we thought we had gotten everything sorted, we pulled up our kite to check it and found that the spinnaker halyard cleat wouldn't hold.
The solution to this problem was to give us another boat, so we had to quickly jump out of one boat and rig yet another boat the way we like it all the while we were being tossed around as if in a washing machine. When we had finally done everything, we had about three minutes to breathe before we entered for our start.
Our first race was against Team Mulder from the Netherlands. We had a great start and led them off the line and around the course in a pretty uneventful race, though they did make a late charge on the last run to the finish.
For race two, the wind picked up a couple of more knots to the mid to upper-twenties and gusting higher. We raced Team Souter from Australia. We had a fast paced pre-start and ended up again leading them off the line. We held onto a two length lead for three legs of the course. We mis-called the last layline into the second top mark and had to do two tacks to make it. This allowed her to catch up to us. We pinned her for a little bit before we exited for the mark. We had a length lead out of the mark and it was a speed race to the end.
We gybed at them but got our bow stuck in a wave and they sailed passed us. Shortly after, they stuck their bow and we almost rolled them. Coming into the finish, both boats had to gybe to make the line, we gybed first and she attempted to gybe, but couldn't get the boom across. But her turn down allowed her to make the finish line, and when she couldn't get her gybe in, we had to go behind her and heeled a little too much, lost some speed and she beat us across the line.
It was a bummer because we sailed most of the race quite well. It was great sailing, however, since we rarely get to sail in these types of conditions. So from a learning point of view, it was an excellent day.
Racing continues tomorrow when we will finish the three races in the gold fleet. The quarterfinal racing that was scheduled for tomorrow afternoon has been pushed back to Friday to fit in the silver fleet racing tomorrow. The forecast for tomorrow is for a little less wind, more in the low to mid teens.
We would very much like to thank our Title Sponsor, Maclaren, our Gold Level Sponsors 11th Hour Racing and Laser Performance, and our Bronze Level Sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support.
Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe. Team Maclaren website Event website