Friday, October 24, 2008

Shredded sails, crashing boats

TP52 Worlds - Paul Cayard

Shredded sails, crashing boats and big speed was the order of the day today at the TP 52 World Championship. Some how through it all, El Desafio came through for the win!

After a good start we were approaching the first windward mark on starboard. Bribon and Synergy just simply refused to go behind us and I would have hit Bribon amidships if I did not tack to port to avoid them. Hideous! Instead of being 3rd there we were 7th after the melee cleared itself.

Undeterred we immediately starting passing boats. First Synergy, one of the offenders at the windward mark then Audi Q8 on the two sail reach down to Porto Calero. The breeze was 20 knots at this point and we were sailing about 60 true wind angle for 6 miles.

Once at Porto Calero, we executed a chicane and set off with our Code 0 on a 90 degree true wind angle reach in 20 to 22 knots. The other boats stayed with the jibs and held a higher course. This was a 20 mile reach to Fuertaventura. As the wind built, we changed back to the jib and came into the buoy hot and rounded right on the heels of Bribon and Quantum who were second and third. Platoon had a handy lead at this point.

Next was a 10 miles windward leg back to the southwest corner of Lanzarote. He we passed Bribon and rounded third right behind Quantum. Most boats had the #4 jib on but we had a #3. As the wind gusted from 20-28 knots, each had his turn as far as which sail was right.

Next was a 10 mile run back to the mark at Fuertaventure. The current was going against the 25 knots + wind and the waves were short and steep. The TP 52's dig their bows in rather badly actually and aren't as fun as you would think to sail in these conditions. The bow is burying continuously despite having the entire crew planted on the transom. We left out jib up the whole run so as not to have to deal with people on the bow or the sail getting washed overboard. There were two gybes on the run in which where both rather difficult to execute but we managed to keep the boat upright through it all. Quantum exploded their spinnaker three-quarters of the way down and we closed in and passed Platoon to round the mark in 1st!

For the last fetch back to Porto Calero and the finish line, we still had ourᅠ#3 jib up while Quantum had their #4 up. The #4 was the right sail and we were overpowered most of the 20 mile fetch. But we stayed directly in front of Quantum even as they made a few attacks by trying to sail up and over us.

After 57 miles, it was a hard earned win. I am off to the physiotherapist as my back is a bit sore after holding onto that tiller in those conditions.

Bribon and Synergy have a bit on in the protest room tonight so we will see what shakes out from that.ᅠ

1. Quantum 24
2. Mutua Madrilena 33.25
3. Artemis 41.5
4. Bribon 43
5. El Desafio 43.25

For complete scores and more information go to:

Cayard Sailing Website