Three more races in similar conditions to yesterday, but starting a bit lighter and perhaps not reaching quite as strong in the highs. Race committee set Triangle-Windward-Leeward-reach to finish courses instead of yesterday's quadrilaterals. The forecast was for the WNW wind to shift to the W early, then be basically steady.
Again I got out early and did the homework. Oddly, the current seemed to be similar across the course, unlike yesterday. Did two splits with young Liam Willis and came out of the left with a 5 boatlength lead, the right ahead by 10. Right sounds right, right?
Wrong! The race committee set the line with a 10 degree left-hand favor. I saw it on my compass in the pre-start, but still went for the boat and got what felt like a great start, only to watch Thomas SanddstrÖm (SWE, natch) crossing 8 boatlengths ahead coming out of the left after 5 minutes, with Greg (Quadzilla) Bartlett (GBR) and Matt Thursfield (GBR) well to windward of HIM. I tacked to join them on port and minimize the damage, then pulled out far enough before hitting the starboard tack layline to be able to tack and cross Thomas. Greg and Matt were ahead at the first mark, however. Somewhere over the next three legs I managed to catch Matt, only to capsize on the run.
It was stupid really: I pulled up my daggerboard to clear it of weed, but was a bit too enthusiastic and yanked the board right out of its slot! I managed to stay upright for a while and desperately tried to get the board back into the boat, which was gyrating like crazy in the unsettled seas. Finally a wave fell out and I flipped to windward, still holding onto the darn daggerboard! It was now a mad dash to get it back into the slot before the boat turned completely over; I was successful, which allowed me to right the boat and get going again. Unfortunately, the distance lost was too great and I had to settle for 3rd behind Quadzilla who ran away for the win, and Thursfield.
I *do* try to learn from mistakes...
Only now did I remember the forecast had said the breeze would go left! Again, the line was port-end biased, but this time I won the pin, and in 15-17 knots, pulled out to a big lead over the fleet before tacking and crossing. Huge lead at the top mark that extended to over 1.5 minutes at the finish.
This time the boat was favored and I had some company up there. Held my lane, then extended on the boats around to round the first mark 15 boatlengths ahead. Sailing down the reach the boat just didn't feel right, and sure enough, every time I looked back Liam Willis and Quadzilla were getting closer. Then I ran into a light patch of wind right near the mark and fell off a plane, which allowed the lads to roar up behind.
Managed to round Mark 2 with a 3 boatlength lead, but 3/4 of the way down the leg young Liam managed to sail over the top and into the lead! The tail end of the 7 fleet was also approaching the leeward mark on a run, and I managed to get Liam caught up with one of them while I peeled off to leeward to round the mark two boatlengths ahead (rather proud of that... grin). I extended again on the beat, nailing the starboard tack layline to the mark and rounded with a comfy 10 boatlength lead.
It was quite puffy and the waves were quite steep, with lots of weird waves bouncing around at different angles. I was going alright, but had a feeling there was weed on my daggerboard so lifted it up to clear it. No, I didn't yank it out of the boat. But, I did manage to pull it up right when a puff and odd wave hit at the same time, causing me to capsize yet again! It took a bit longer to get the boat up, more than enough time for 17-year old Liam to move into the lead, which he easily held to the finish. His first bullet in a World Championship!
Lucky for me, Liam's 6, 6 in Races 4 and 5 somewhat mitigated the pesky 1. He sits 8 points back, tied with Greg Bartlett at 14 points and Matt Thursfield 3 points behind them. I have a 1, 1, 1, 3, 1, 2, with the 3 as a throw-out for 6 points total.
I seem to have dominant upwind pace in over 15 knots of wind, and, despite the slows in the last race, am equal or faster downwind as well. Three more days of sailing to go, we'll see if the conditions change, or remain the same!