When the alarm went off this morning I was already awake visualising great starts and consistent results for the second day of the Flying 15 New Zealand Nationals.
After consuming a breakfast for athletes (bacon, eggs, hash browns), it was off to Napier Sailing Club to kit up and head out into the rolling ocean.
When we sailed throw the break wall, it was obvious that it would take about 45 minutes to get to the course area, so to kill time, I Facetimed my parents in Brisbane.
“What was with that shocker of a result yesterday!?” screeched Dad (referring to our OCS/33rd).
“Oh come on Suey (yes that’s what they call me), you two need to just sail better!” coached Mum.
It was just the motivation I needed to hang up on them and for Brian (Skip) and I to start planning our tactics for Race 4 and Race 5.
So here we go… This is how the day unfolded.
Race 4: 10th row on the start line. Can you really be that far back? Yes, because we were. But it was all going well up until about 20 seconds to go when we seemed to just get rolled. So we didn’t get off to a great start, but were determined to not have a repeat shocker like Race 2 which after having our OCS reinstated, saw us in 33rd. We managed to pick a few decent shifts, but the breeze was all over the place. Eventually we found our feet and on the downwind legs managed to once again make up a few more places. The breeze was never settled, and the course became a soldiers one, with the last windward leg more of a reach. Alas, we ended up 32nd. Yep. Terrible. Definitely not happy with that, but you have to take the good with the bad and just learn from the mistakes. Which is funny, because the only real mistake we made was on the start. So let this be a lesson kids, GET A GOOD START!
Race 5: General recall. But some of the fleet still sailed off. GR was lowered, one minute to the warning. But it seemed like most of the fleet had missed that and with 3 minutes to go, and with the breeze once again oscillating, we positioned ourselves at the pin end where we wanted to be and put the hammer down to nail a perfect port hand start. We were well clear of the fleet with just a Hong Kong boat and a few Brits around us. Deep down inside, we knew it wasn’t going to last. The breeze was just too fickle, and eventually the jury screamed past showing code flag N. Damn…
Race 5 Take Two: The black flag was up but we didn’t let that scare us and got passive aggressive on the line for the next start for Race 5. NAILED IT. Clear air, good speed. We felt like kids at a carnival and were having loads of fun knowing that the boat was moving and we were in a good space. For the entire race we stayed with the top 10 pack and up the final work, managed to pass a few more boats to finish 8th overall – our best result of the regatta. Stoked.
But it wasn’t all positive in the at race. I broke three finger nails, have a rather juicy blister brewing and smashed my head of the boom on more than one occasion. Crossing the finish line I actually felt my brain hurting. My goodness sailing is fun!
We have one more day and two more races to go. Currently sitting in 18th overall with scores 15,(33),11,32,8. Consistently inconsistent!
Once again thanks to all the race management folk and volunteers who are putting this regatta together.