First, let me start by congratulating Tony Parker and his team on Bangor Packet for placing 3rd place AND the top amateur spot! What a tough fleet it was, his speed and smarts got him a top spot at one of the toughest Worlds ever!
Well we all just got back from one of the largest Worlds ever. Rochester Yacht club really did a stellar job running the event. I’m not sure how many of you have been to Rochester before but the people are so nice and very inviting! My hat goes off to Lambert Lai and Chris Werner for making it all happen as well as Hank Stewart and his team for getting all 10 races off! It surely was clear that the whole club rallied together to make this Open Worlds the success it was!
I’m sure most of you have read many of web stories, blogs, tweets, etc.. about the regatta so I won’t be the first one to tell you how tricky the sailing was….you see the line had to be quite long for the 100 boat fleet, it was so long that it took every bit of 5+ minutes to sail from one end to the other…so say you decided at 6 mins that you wanted to start down at the pin end because it was favored and the wind was in a left phase and then you changed your mind about the pin at 3 minutes you couldn’t change plans…you get the drift! It wasn’t uncommon to get off on the favored end of the starting line and feel like you were punched on the other side only for your side to cave to the other….I think there really is only one team that sailed this event and got every first beat right….Mauricio’s team, WOW! They didn’t seem to be the fastest boat there but they sure were the smartest tactically. I’d also say we were quite lucky to have somewhat decent breeze each day, I think the most we ever saw over the week was 18 knots. Besides that one storm that rolled through at the end of Race 4th on the second day. Maybe we saw 20 to 25 for just a bit….1/2 a leg or so. Otherwise we sailed in 6 to 10 the rest of the week. We had good waves the second and third day and flat water the rest. So Mother Nature gave us a bit of everything.
Every time I sail a regatta like this I try to debrief about the regatta, what worked, what didn’t work…The seven hour drive back to Newport, Rhode Island after the awards ceremony got things started. I was lucky enough to have a co-pilot, it was our mast man/twing guy (Anderson Reggio) , whatever you call the crew that sits between the tactician and the bow person….the crew who really does every little job that is so key to success and that none of the others want to do…like cleaning the bottom…in a dirty anchorage…actually we (I mean Anderson) dove on the boat outside the canal each morning…on the way to the race course…we figured when local Chad Atkins said “I wouldn’t dive in that water” and Corey Sertl agreed that we’d look for cleaner water outside….imagine that…Anderson dives into the cool water on each cold day…cleans the bottom and then has to sail all day…what a guy! I think Chuck Allen actually has a video posted on Facebook of Anderson cleaning the bottom…check it out…too funny. The leads me to say, don’t ever under estimate how important each of your teammates rolls are to get to the end result…there are so many details between packing the boat up to go to the regatta, measurement (which Curt Barnes and his measurement team did an over the top job on along with Tim Winger’s watchful eyes), practice, sailing the event, packing to go home and not to mention daily lunches, boat prep, morning PRO briefings etc..! I guess I’m glad it is a five person boat! We always split up the tasks….we try and put our best guy on the appropriate jobs….and it seems to work and make things easier. At this event, Nick Turney (our bowman) took care of checking the rig each morning, he always seemed to be the first one to the boat, before anyone else stepped on he’d have the boat opened up, checking the rig was straight, set at base and ready to go. Chuck Allen doubles as our snacktician and makes sure we have stellar sandwiches and plenty of fluids. Chris Morgan and I would round out the other chores that needed to be done before we pushed off the dock…just like clockwork!
Anyhow, so our van debrief on the ride home….first I think Anderson and I agreed that we were glad we didn’t have Chuck’s job on the boat…tough week to be a tactician and I bet most teams were feeling the same way. We felt that in general our set up was always spot on rig wise, lead wise etc…at the Worlds level where the races are so long it’s so important to nail those items. We sailed with the Newport Fathead mainsail, SRB jib (which stayed flaked ready to go down below the whole regatta) Newport 3DL Genoa and a FR3 Spinnaker. We never had more than just a hint of wrinkles coming off the genoa hanks, our lead was about 6” back on the track and we sheeted the genoa on a range of 8” to 2” off the spreader tip. We always felt fast and we were for sure. So what else did we take away? We are super confident in boat speed and set up, great crew, practiced up, GREAT housing (WOW, John and Julie Odenbach really took good care of us) all the key things…but then you need a little luck too…things to fall into place. One thing for sure, there were a bunch of top teams there and many of them who could have won if a couple more shifts went there way. One thing for sure, by the time Anderson and I rolled into Newport with the boat (3am!) we were looking forward to the next Worlds! The 2013 worlds are in Ireland and are only 11 months away and then the 2014 Worlds are in Newport RI the following year. Plus the 2012 NAs are in Jacksonville FL this coming November along with many other regional regattas. I look forward to seeing you all at these events and in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to ring me at the office. I love chatting J24s and discussing different tuning and trimming ideas!