Friday, 5 March 2010

North Americans Day 3

Hi all,

Today was a great day of kite racing. We started off postponed for a bit and all rigged big. We finally got off the beach and started our first race fully powered on big kites, I was on my 14m. The top pack was really close at the windward mark. I came in on port and ducked a couple people so I could tack clearly onto starboard layline. This put me in 7th as we bore away for a really overpowered downwind run. I'm still learning to ride my board with my new fin setup and its a handful on the overpowered runs. I kept the bottom under the top on that leg and passed Farley to move into 6th. By the second upwind it had picked up well above 14m kite range--because this has been the trend all week I had set my kite up far more de-powered than yesterday and this reflected in my speed and comfort level. The downwind was full survival mode but I managed to crash less than those near me and held onto 6th. That race wasn't exactly what I was looking for in terms of a score but I was happy with my speed. I guess I can't say it enough but I need to use my strengths to put myself in a good position on the first beat.

Anyways, crazy, fun race. We all needed to downsize and I rushed to the beach for my 12m. Race committee called for two back-to-back races so I grabbed my 12m knowing that I would be pretty powered in the first race, but it has consistently been dropping hard at the end of the day and I didn't want to get caught on a small kite again. I changed my starting technique a little bit for the next race. I fought for a higher lane on the starting line and accelerated a little later than I have been in order to be hipped up on the fleet. This put me in a controlling position; rather than being pushed to the left side of the course and forced to follow back on port layline I was able to tack out about halfway up the beat and lead back to the right. This allowed me to get onto starboard layline early and avoid a hectic weather mark rounding. Bailing from the fleet early did have it consequences though as they either had more pressure or got a slight left shift and I rounded 6th. I played a solid downwind beat, staying lower than the guys ahead of me and making up ground. A good mark rounding set me up to use my upwind speed and I ground higher and faster than those around me and made up a place. I gave this point back at the gybe downwind though as I caught an edge and got launched off my board. I ended up 5th because Farley went for an extra lap.

The last race was really fun--I finally put some speed and decision making together to play with the top guys. I was in 6th at the first leeward mark, recognized the right phase in the wind and got onto starboard. The wind started doing its end of the day oscillations before it died and I made good on a left shift that launched me ahead of Farley and a French racer Julien. I rounded the windward mark in 4th behind Adam Koch, gybed early into some pressure and led him around the leeward mark in 3rd. Unfortunately I lost my lane in a hole and he was able to lead me back to the finish. All in all I was very happy with this race. My speed was great and I hit some shifts while all the other guys were just banging corners. It's a lot of fun to be duking it out in the top of the fleet.

So I'm in sixth, one point of out 5th and seven points out of 4th. Two more days of racing and I feel like I'm finally starting to put it all together. When I stuck to my game plan today things when well and considering I have a slight speed disadvantage compared to the guys who have been developing and training all winter I'm feeling great about the fact that I can hang with them. I can't wait to get back to the drawing board and change some things up, but until then I'll keep working hard and finish this regatta strong.

Thanks for the support.


1 Adam Koch USA 2 7 1 1 2 8 2 3 3 21
2 Bruno Sroka FRA 5 1 9 2 3 3 3 2 2 21
3 Damien LeRoy USA 1 10 2 4 4 9 1 1 1 23
4 Sean Farley MEX 9 3 3 3 1 1 8 8 5 32
5 Julien Kerneur FRA 4 5 6 5 7 4 4 4 6 38
6 Johnny Heineken USA 7 2 4 7 6 5 6 5 4 39

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