Saturday, July 22, 2017

2017 RS Aero World Championship, Carnac France – T-minus 2 Days

Carnac, on the Brittany Coast in the state of Bretange, is at about the latitude of my home in Connecticut. The weather so far, however, has been quite different from what I left, being rather cool (in the 60s-70s) and quite windy. I’m glad to have packed a light jacket at the last minute!

The days leading up to a big away event are about settling in and getting into the regatta routine. I woke up and made my (in?)famous green drink: greens (preferably kale), carrot, banana and a small handful of walnuts (that provide a bit of fat to help digest the greens). It sounds gross, but I’ve really come to love it and this, along with a boiled egg, are a healthy, surprisingly filling start to the day.

Aeros, Aeros, everywhere Aeros!
My little AirBNB is a 5 minute walk from the Yacht Club de Carnac, host site for the Worlds. The 96 Aeros have taken over a quarter of the club’s huge drystall area—it’s quite a sight! Today more teams from the UK, Germany, Sweden, Estonia and other countries rolled in, many with impressive multi-boat trailers. The boatpark was filled with sailors getting acquainted, renewing old friendships, and foreign languages. Pretty cool! 

I was still feeling a bit draggy after the long trip, so my goal for the day was to go out for a sail, but not push myself too hard. After a tasty lunch I joined young UK sailors Greg (Quadzilla) Bartlett and Liam Willis for a short sail, about an hour of reaching offshore, two windward-leewards, then reaching back home. It was blowing about 15 knots, maybe a touch more at first. I tried my new heavy air mode upwind and found there wasn’t quite enough breeze to pull it off: Liam directly to windward was going about my same height and speed, but Greg was pointing higher with much better VMG. I reset to my lighter wind setup and, even in the choppy water, had competitive speed through the water, now coupled with unbeatable height. Such a mode is very helpful off a crowded starting line!

Quadzilla Bartlett
Downwind I started behind the youngsters, experimenting by sailing very wide angles—it didn’t really work. It’s super important in the Aero to sail in clean waves while running and reaching, and during the short legs I didn’t have enough runway to get off to the side and work clean waves before having to head closer to rhumbline (and the other boats’ wakes) to go around the leeward mark.

Liam started ahead on the long reach home, with Greg in the middle and me astern. I managed to pass Greg to leeward and close-in on, but not quite catch, the slippery Liam. Actually, I was happy to stay close, seeing as I was forced to sail right in his wake. Though short, it was a productive session.

Measurers at work
After a quick shower I went to the measurement tent to have my boat and rigging looked at, with everything passing muster. I found a prime spot for my boat close to the launch ramp (we East Coasters like short commutes!), did a bit of fine tuning to the rigging, then joined fellow Connecticut sailor Madhavan Thirumalai for some shopping and dinner before walking home. A nice, relaxing day settling-in before tomorrow's coaching session and practice race!


  1. Looking forward to your stories, Marc. Thanks for doing this. Always interesting.

  2. Aren't your opponents reading this? You might consider a time delay for the competitive stuff.

  3. Thanks Marc for blogging. Look forward to more. Please explain the difference between your heavy air mode and your light wind set up that allows height. Cheers, Jacques