Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Team Go Sail finishes 8th at Delta Lloyd Regatta

After sailing in wintry northern Holland for the past two weeks, we are happy to return home to Summer (and a break from wearing our dry suits)! We’ve just completed the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Medemblik, Netherlands, stop #5 on the ISAF World Cup Circuit. We finished 8th of 46 Women’s teams, earning our fourth consecutive appearance in the medal race. After a rocky start on the opening day, we clawed our way back into the top 10 with consistent scores. For more of the details, please read on!

Some of the best advice we’ve gotten from an anonymous veteran racer was, You can’t win a regatta on the first day, but you can lose it. Unfortunately, that is what we did. Day #1 was just one of those days on the racecourse where it seemed nothing went our way. Despite a clear pre-race strategy to get to an edge of the track, we let ourselves become stuck in the middle. Sailing on the IJsselmeer is similar to lake sailing: surrounded by land where even the thermal winds are offshore. This lends itself to massive shifts, which require committing to a side early and staying on the edge of the fleet. We scored a frustrating 29, 21. To round out our first day fiasco, a broken main halyard forced us to retire from the third race. After three races of a ten race series, we were stuck in 38th place!

With our work cut out for us, we were determined to climb back to a respectable finish. A streak of blazing starts and great boat speed allowed us to execute our original game plan of getting to an edge. Once committed to a side, we did a much better job of playing the local shifts while gaining leverage on the fleet. In races 4 through10 we scored: 6, 5, 4, 14, 5, 6, 6. This was enough to move us from 38th to 8th overall in just 3 days of racing and boost us into the medal race. The breeze ranged from 5-25 knots, so this was an excellent test across a range of conditions.

As a lighter team, we were particularly happy with our upwind speed in the big breeze. The most important lesson learned from this regatta was how to keep poised and focused after what could have been a devastating start. We are very pleased with the consistency of top 7 scores after the first day.

We return the Netherlands at the end of June to begin a training camp before our World Championships. This time we will be sailing out of The Hague in South Holland. We would like to thank US Sailing Team Alphagraphics.

Sarah and Amanda