Smashing starts

Today is the last day of the Spiral Nationals, and the weather looks to be just as tricky as the last three days!
Yesterday we managed to sail two races, race six in the morning in a very light easterly, and then in the afternoon, race seven in about 12 to 17 knots of E-NE breeze. Chris and I both had a good day at the office.
Results were on the board before racing (hooray!), with Chris (Eddes) three points behind the leader, Chris Loring, and myself in eighth position, with eight points to seventh. On day one I managed a 2, 16 and day two a 19 (ouch), 5, 10. Chris was at 1, 6, 18, 1, 5.
With my worst results following my rough starts (heat two not so much my fault, and heat three definitely my fault) I simply worked on smashing the starts yesterday. And let me tell you, that is exactly what I did!
In race six, the first two-lap windward leeward, the light easterly was flicking from left to right, changing the favoured end every three or so minutes. At three minutes to go, the right phase set in, and I continued to circle patiently at the boat. I nailed the boat start; it was a matter of which shift came next to determine first and second around the top. I rounded in second, and after a quick spin (thanks last-minute header) for tapping the mark, I held on down the run to round the bottom mark still in second. With next to no breeze, and the whole fleet coming down on the run, the work was hectic to say the least! Bad timing meant that the boat in first (Ben Taylor) and myself couldn’t get through the fleet, but third (Matt Taylor) and Chris Eddes in fourth were able to. They rounded the top mark with Chris is first, and Matt in second. The last run was tough running into the fleet, but nothing compared to the last work, which was pray and hope with the whole fleet coming down through the finish line. I managed to hold onto fifth and Chris got pipped at the post to come second. I did achieve my goal of an awesome start at least!
Race seven, a triangular course, was even better! In the increased pressure, about 12 to 17 knots, where I am already over-powered at sixty kilos, I knew the race was going to be hard work! So this time I nailed the pin start instead, and crossed the fleet with the first port shift! Felt good to be able to sail in my own pressure. I have to sail such a high groove in the breeze to keep the boat flat I am stuffed as soon as a big guy manages to get in my air. So in smashing the start I managed to breathe the whole work and get to the top mark in pretty good shape! Tom Spithill and Glen Hammond, who were at the pin with me, lead around the mark, followed by Steve Leicester, Chris Eddes, and Nick Brunning. I was not far behind.
Approaching the top mark, Chris Loring was just inside me when a port tacker sailed into the zone, Chris Loring ducked him but I was unable to, copping the blow of a boat at full speed with his vang still cranked on. Ouch! I managed to stay upright, unlike many other boats who were left in the chaos behind me as I got around the mark. Chris Loring checked out my hull when I rounded with him, which by some miracle doesn’t even have a scratch! I continued to sail over him, and then also Nick Brunning on the first reach to round the bottom mark in fifth. Sixty kilos may be slow upwind, but man is it quick downwind! I managed to hold my position around the next lap; I played the shifts well, and sailed right up to Chris Eddes on the run. The next work was hard going, with Nick Brunning and John Talbot right on my heals. John Talbot sailed very well up the last work to slip past me (I just could not match his speed to get to the next shift), and Nick Brunning got me just at the top mark. Another spin (I have to stop doing that), and I was away, getting Nick down the first reach again and holding Chris Loring off. I managed to get within striking distance of John Talbot (who was in seventh overall going into day three) but it wasn’t enough. I crossed the line in sixth, which was a good feeling in that pressure! Tommy Spithill took the win, with Steve Leicester in second, and Chris Eddes in third! Glen Hammond went back to fourth up the last work.
My results so far are 2, 16, 19, 5, 10, 5, 6 and Chris has 1, 6, 18, 1, 5, 2, 3. There is only one drop in the series. The results are not online as yet, I will post a link as soon as they are available!
Chris’s second in race six, and third in race seven were enough to put him in the regatta lead going into the last day today, by two points. I am four and a half points from seventh (John Talbot had a tied result in the first race yesterday).
So… it is all on today!
My goal is just to keep smashing the starts, and hopefully Chriso does the same! Will fill you in tomorrow on the happenings of the last day!
Congratulations to Rohan Nosworthy, Hugh Tait and Bryce Edwards; NS14 sailors who were all on one Sydney 38 for the Nationals, taking second! And also to the ONLY girls who took silver in the Miami OCR!
Have a smashing day!

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