Monday, November 16, 2009

US Women's Match Race National Championships

Yesterday, we wrapped up the finals of the US Women's Match Race National Championships. We finished second overall in a tightly fought finals, against fellow USSTAG teammate, Genny Tulloch. After winning our semi-final round 3-0, we fell 3-1 to Genny in the finals.

Fully Focused
Photo: Dean Barnes, Nov 2009

In the first race, we drew a penalty on Genny in the pre-start, but she got the first puff off the line and held us out to layline. After an intense gybing dual downwind, we were still right on her tail at the leeward mark and our play was to just stay close so she couldn't burn a penalty. But because the wind was light, when we did our first tack around the leeward mark, we were still a little downspeed. We tacked over and she did too. The wind was coming from the left so she lifted off us just enough to spin her penalty on the layline. We tacked at her just as she did it, but she completed just in time and lead us into the top mark. On the leg to the finish, it was again another gybing dual and came down to half a boat length at the finish. We rolled over the top of her, but when we went for the gybe, she was on our breeze just enough that we couldn't quite fill our kite and she crossed just ahead of us. Despite the loss, it was a great race.The second and third races were quite uneventful. We took race two early in the race, and she took race three after we started early and had to return.

Race four was another very close one. We lead her off the line by a couple of boat lengths, but then got stuck in a hole with no wind and she managed to catch up and get ahead of us. On the downwind leg, she maintained her lead, although we closed in a little. On the second beat, we tacked up the middle of the course, and at the end, she let us go just enough to get a puff of breeze and a shift that allowed us to get a piece of her at the top mark. We came in on starboard and she was on port as we entered. We tacked around and luffed and drew a penalty on her. On the downwind leg, all we had to do was just get to the finish line clean. We sailed the leg very well, staying behind her just enough so that she had no room to spin. When we thought we were at the layline to the pin, we gybed over, rolled over the top of her, but because of the light breeze, we couldn't quite make it down to the zone. At that point, there was a bit of miscommunication on our boat, and we didn't do a good job of what we needed to do. Because of this, I got a bit flustered, and gybed too early, into Genny, resulting in us getting a penalty too, which neutralized the penalties. At this point, it was a race to the finish line and she got there first. It was a hard loss to take, but Genny and her team sailed a very good day and they deserved to win. Final results and photos can be viewed on the regatta website.

Molly, Liz and I flew back to Ft. Lauderdale last night. We have two days off before we head over to St. Petersburg and pick up Debbie for the US Match Racing Championships, the open national championships.I would like to thank Carmeuse for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. I would also like to thank Gill and USSTAG for their support.
Sail Hard,