Thursday, February 18, 2010

Two Top Finishes on Day 1 of Laser Midwinters

We sailed three races today at the 2010 Laser Midwinters on the Gulf of Mexico off of Clearwater Beach, Florida. A chilly 15-knot northerly kicked up big swell and nasty chop. It was a long day, but the race committee ran three well-laid courses for the Laser, Laser Radial, and the Laser 4.7 classes. The fleets are split into blue and yellow groups for two days of the qualifying series, after which the top 50% are grouped into the Gold Fleet and the bottom half go into the Silver fleet.

2010 Laser Mid Winters Clearwater Beach Florida - day 1
Photo Credit Chris Love (SailGroove)

My score of 20, 3, 6 has me in 15th place and well positioned to qualify for the gold fleet. The highlight was my 3rd place in race two where I lead at the first windward mark. I was closely pursued by Clay Johnson and Nick Thompson, the runaway winner of the Rolex Miami OCR. On the first run they passed but for the next three legs I was able to maintain the same distance to them and kept a comfortable gap to the pursuing pack. The key to my successful race was winning the leeward (pin) end start. With a foul current pushing us down into the leeward mark, I was able to squeeze by after dueling with Charlie Buckingham. Once clear of the line, I had the fleet tucked away, and four minutes later tacked and had the whole fleet in my window in a nice left hand lift.

Today was a big confidence builder. In the first race I was uncertain about my speed and took a bigger risk on the first beat looking for a big shift. After the first mark I saw that I was pacing well with the fleet and with the good sailors that were around me. In hindsight, I could have finished in the top ten if I played a more conservative beat. I'll keep this new lesson in mind for tomorrow's racing.

Cameron Cullman
Photo Credit Chris Love (SailGroove)

Tomorrow's forecast calls for less wind (6-8 knots) from the northeast, which should mean very challenging offshore conditions.


No comments:

Post a Comment