Saturday, August 4, 2018

2018 RS Aero World Championship, Weymouth UK - D-minus 2

Thanks to Sammy I-J,
these lines run like buttah!
I've been in the UK for nearly two weeks, so it was nice to arrive yesterday at the Weymouth/Portland Sailing Center and rig-up my brand new charter boat for the 2018 RS Aero World Championship. Over 200 boats are entered in three divisions (5, 7, 9) for the event, scheduled to take place Aug 6-10, 2018. I am entered in the 9 class, as are approximately 50 other sailors from around the globe.

Today, with the patient, skillful help of Sammy Isaacs-Johnson, I completely re-rigged and fine-tuned my downhaul, outhaul and vang (sail control) systems--they now run like glass. Normally I don't like to make any big changes to routines or boat set-up before big events; but, while visiting with Lymington sailor Karl Thorne earlier in the week, I tried his boat and became convinced modifications needed to be made. All up-side, as far as I'm concerned!

USA sailors Ash Beatty (TX) and
Hank Saurage (LA)  two of 205+ boats
that needed to be measured in.
After getting the boat rigged then measured-in (inspected to make sure everything on it met the letter of Aero class rules), I popped out for what was to be a short sail with training partner Madhavan Thirumalai. Portland Harbour was completed in 1872 after 7 years' labor, and is, even today, the third largest man-made harbor in the world at 11,000 acres! That said, our regatta will be held OUTSIDE, which meant a very long sail across said 11,000 acre harbor and out one of its two entrances to the open ocean in a pleasant 8-12 knot Southwesterly breeze.

Once outside, there were a few sets of bigger swells underlying a slight chop, making for interesting decision-making, especially downwind: work the chop, or try to catch one of those big rollers? Mess it up and the boat next to you gains 2 boatlenghts; get it right, and you gain 5!

Training partner extraordinaire,
Madhavan Thirumalai
I seemed to have unusually good upwind height, so Madhavan and I switched boats to see if that would make a difference. During the changeover, both of us capsized (breaking my brand-new masthead wind indicator in the process!). The water was brisk, encouraging quick recoveries before we sailed upwind, did some reaching, then sailed the long beat up the Harbour back to the sailing center (site of the 2012 Olympic Sailing Games). Back home in Connecticut, Madhavan had been much faster in certain conditions, so it was encouraging that, even after switching boats, my pointing and speed remained solid.
Good night from Portland/Weymouth!

Tonight we joined several sailors at a local restaurant for dinner. Enjoyed getting to know new friends and catching up with those met last year, then the sunset walk back to my hotel, a shower, and now writing this quick note before bed. Eating better/more selectively, getting enough rest and conserving energy will help with 6 more days of sailing (5 of those racing) ahead!

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