Sunday, October 25, 2009

Second place overall...

Photo: Renee Athey, Oct 2009
October 24, 2009
St. Pete, FL

Our team finished in second place overall today at the Rolex Osprey Cup here in St. Pete, FL. We had some great races against eventual winner Giulia Conti from Italy, but in the end she got the better of us with a 3-1 record to win the series.

The morning started with light winds, but we were sent out anyway as the winds were forecasted to strengthen as the approaching cold front got closer. When we got to the course, we had perfect conditions, and racing started on time. Our first race of the day was against Karin Hagstrom from Sweden. We were still completing the semi-finals this morning, and our team needed one more win to wrap up the series. Off the line, Karin had the lead, but we put ourselves in great positions up the beat to be neck and neck with her at the top mark. We managed to get inside of her after we both tacked to get around the mark, which then set us up for the pass downwind. We took the lead at the bottom mark and held on to it to take the win and advance to the finals against Giulia.

The finals provided some exciting and tense racing. In the first race, at the first mark, Giulia had the lead, and then at the bottom mark we had the lead. On the last downwind leg, Giulia had the advantage of being in the attacking position, but we thought we could hold her off. We held her past the layline to the finishline pin, but gybed half a boatlength too early, which allowed her to hang on just enough. Both boats crossed the line at almost the same time, and given that it took the race committee a couple of seconds to put up the flag of the first boat, it must have been a tough call. Anyway, the call went to Guilia, so we were now one race down.

The second race, we led her off the line and held on until the finish to even up the score line, even though it was a tight race the whole way. The third race, we made a couple of mistakes as a team which put us in difficult positions. We started a couple seconds early which meant that we had to play catch up from the start of the race. We managed to catch up to the point of rounding the last mark right behind her, but ended up with a twist in our spinnaker which allowed her to pull ahead just enough to take the win. With the series now 2-1, we had to win the next race to stay alive.

The next race, we drew a penalty on her at the start of the race, but the race was called off right after the start gun, so we attempted it again. We stuck to our game plan, but now the cold front had come through and the wind had shifted to an offshore breeze which meant that it was really shifty and puffy. Guilia and her team sailed a great race in the shifts and took the lead early and maintained throughout the race to take the race win and the overall win for the regatta.

It was great sailing today. We had a lot of close races and we again, as a team, learned many valuable lessons. We are all looking forward to our next event which is the US Women's Match Race National Championships in November.

Tomorrow, I am doing Laser training with my fellow USSTAG teammate, Paige Railey, in Clearwater and team coach, Leandro Spina. It is three days of training, which should be fun, then I get to go home for a couple of day's recharge.

I would like to thank Carmeuse, and USSTAG for their continued support of my campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. I would also like to thank Gill for their support of our team for this event.

Sail Hard, Anna Tunnicliffe