Saturday, January 4, 2020

2019 RS Aero Worlds - Day 3/Wrap-Up

The 2019 RS Aero World Championship ended yesterday, with no races sailed on the first and fifth days due to high winds. Nonetheless, we sailed 11 excellent races in 3 days, in winds ranging from 6-20+ knots.
In the 7 fleet, 23-year old Rhett Gowans was wicked fast and smart the whole regatta. He really hit his stride in the last days, getting increasingly fast upwind while retaining his downwind superiority. Rhett handily won the last 7(!) races of the event.

Nice lead on Gowans (3050) and the fleet on Day 3
I was fortunate to place second to Rhett. Was a touch faster upwind in strong breeze, generally competitive reaching (when not affected by nearby wakes), but couldn't keep up with Rhett's blistering pace on the runs, especially in stronger winds. The lack of downwind boatspeed (compared to Rhett--the two of us were a notch above the rest of the fleet), combined with poor first beats (after generally good starts) in the latter days, meant climbing back through the fleet was my mission, not challenging Rhett for the front.
Even with this lead, Gowans was able to catch up and
extend 6 boatlengths on the following run!
Gowans downwind. Very active in the boat!

Going upwind w/Peter Barton (3087) and Michael O'Brien (2500) in pursuit. I should have shoulders open and straighter legs (not fit enough).

Ballsy port-tack approach to second weather mark. Just made it ahead of the 2 closest boats!

C'mon Marc, HIKE! Boat heeling too much here.
 19-year old Noah Rees from GBR came in with Top 10 aspirations and ended up placing 3rd overall. Quite quick at times upwind and down, strong and fit, we expect several more podium finishes from the ever-improving Noah in future!
Winners of 2019 RS Aero Worlds awards in the 5, 7 and 9 fleets.
I placed 2nd Overall, 1st Master (55+) in the 7 fleet.
The youngest competitor (15 year-old Aussie Ollie Beretta) with one of the oldest.

Now it's time for rest. I'm in a dark room away from the sun, doing laundry on a rare rainy day and enjoying a bit of solitude and relaxation.

HUGE thanks to SailStar ( and Tomas Sandström (corporate sponsor of this effort), and all those who contributed to my gofundme campaign. Additional thanks to Andrew Giles and his lovely partner Elaine for allowing me to stay with them during the event and being such pleasant companions this past week.

Sailing photos by Christopher Visick

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