After spending the past twelve months thinking about this regatta and an intense two months training on the water, today dawned with a lot of anticipation. The forecast was classic South Florida pre-frontal with a strong 20 knot southerly blowing, and unsettled conditions brewing just to the west. My game has come back a lot these past two months but I know that I still lack speed in many conditions, especially in the breeze. Fortunately for me, the committee delayed our start and kept us on shore until 3 p.m. waiting for the front and heavy showers to blow through and for the wind shift to the west.
After numerous recalled starts from the "blue" Laser fleet it was past 5 P.M. by the time our "yellow" fleet got going. By then, the wind dropped to 12 knots! After a good midline start I was able to sail up the middle of the track on a port tack lift. The left hand boats got an early jump on the fleet. The top half of the beat saw boats starting to consolidate left but I continued to head right sailing a big lift. As I hit the right layline the wind went back right and all of a sudden I was looking at only a handful of boats who could cross. As I approached the mark I could have rounded 6th but decided not to push it and tacked and ducked a group of five boats that had overstood. I was thrilled to be in the top group but I couldn't relax because it was only one leg down and one lucky(?) shift. To my surprise and relief I held my own down wind. After trading tacks with Brad Funk, I only slid back a couple of boats up the second beat. The highlight of the race was the final run, where I gained 100 yards on my closest competitors and closed on the leaders. I finished a solid 13th in the fleet, and am happy with the result. I'm excited that I met my performance goals for the day. Tomorrow the committee will try for three races to make up for the missed race today. The forecast is for marginal wind from the northwest.
Check out results at the Miami OCR regatta website.