This past weekend Katie and I sailed at the MYC Fall Harvest Regatta against some top multihull sailors in the region and we were faced with tough conditions for the NACRA 17 in Miami!
Going into the weekend, I told Katie that I was not too excited about sailing in the regatta. When we first made plans to race a couple months ago there were going to be 6 or 7 NACRA 17’s racing in Miami at the regatta and that would give us a great opportunity to test our development over the past month since our last regatta up in Pensacola. As it turns out, we were the only N17 that showed up, so we were racing handicapped against some Carbon 20’s and the like.
Katie assured me it would be good practice for me and that sailing our NACRA 17 in Miami with race pressures would do us good. So of course we raced!
I got down to the club early to rig, and there was no wind at all so I was getting things setup for light breeze when all of a sudden a dark cloud started to build to the North but all the way up near Aventura. That cloud formation instantly brought huge gusts so I started to rethink my boat setup. Katie arrived and we agreed to set the boat up for 20’s which would be perfect breeze for the NACRA 17 in Miami!
We had a brief photo shoot as we were getting the sails setup, here is one of the photos of Katie and I…
After getting everything setup, and attending the Skippers meeting for this multiple class regatta Katie and I got dressed and headed out on the water. The area we were racing in is called Miramir and to get there we have to sail over and then wait for a draw bridge to open. Good news about that is there is little if any power boat traffic in the racing area, bad news is that it’s a pretty confined area with shoreline on all sides of us. Kind of like arena racing format for the NACRA 17 in Miami.
We nailed the first start and were two boat lengths ahead of the fleet by the time we tacked over to port. At the first mark, we had the fleet by about 10 lengths and continued to build around an awkward triangle course x2. While the triangle forced everyone to sail on the same jibes as we reached, the angle to the mark was not favorable for us so we decided to sail way high and gybe twice to fetch the mark. Strategy paid off because we continued to build. By the time we reached the finish, we had maintained our lead and took the first bullet. A good way to start a regatta!
The next two races were about the same, with the fleet paying attention to our tactics and keeping themselves closer and closer to us. The last race of the day we had a huge wind shift and while we were heading higher and higher to keep the kite full and fast, we ran aground hard! By hard, I mean that I practically got thrown off the boat and it took both Katie and I to get off the boat and literally lift her out of the muck so we could get free. That cost us almost 10 minutes. We did not win the race, but we didn’t sustain any damage either, so all in all a good day of racing!
Day two we were dialed in and fighting 30+ knots around the race course. This made for some fast races and in all we sailed 5 more on day two. With the single discard, we were scored 8 points in 8 races, giving us a clear win against some fast boats and great sailors. While this made both Katie and I happy and gave us a bit of confidence, when we got ashore and were derigging each of the teams we raced against came over to us to ask us about our tactical decisions and our boat setup on. It continually amazed how awesome multihull sailors are and how we are all constantly learning from one another as we enjoy this sport of ours.
Katie and I both feel great about our performance and our decision making (with the exception of not paying attention to our surroundings when we ran aground) and we are excited to get back on the water with everyone at the next US Sailing Team training camp in about a week. Until then we are going to be practicing a ton on Biscane Bay so if you are in town, come see us on our NACRA 17 in Miami!
Did you know that Katie and David are having a fundraiser on December 26th in Coconut Grove? Its the evening before the Orange Bowl Regatta starts and promises to be a rockin good time! Help support us in our quest for Gold In Rio? http://tackk.com/pbzkhf