March 27, 2012

Brett Beyer Coaching

by Doug
WARNING:  This is pretty boring stuff unless you are a sailing/racing enthusiast.

Brett Beyer has just won his 8th Master World Championship and is an Olympic coach for several countries. In a typical race, he gains 100 yards on the fleet on each downwind leg. Brett is rare because he is both a fantastic sailor and a fantastic coach.

Brett was kind enough to watch race 6 that I videoed with a hat cam at the Aussie Nationals. The race summed up my Nationals and Worlds that followed: good upwind speed and bad downwind speed.  In this race, I rounded the first mark 25 seconds in front. So far, so good. But by the end of the run I was reeled in by Adam French. Here is the full video of the inner trapezoid course in segments small enough to upload to YouTube:

2012 Aussie Nationals Race 6 - Video 2
2012 Aussie Nationals Race 6 - Video 3
2012 Aussie Nationals Race 6 - Video 4

Brett watched these videos with me. Thirty seconds into the first run he asked, "where would you like me to begin?"  I thought, oh boy, this is going to be rough.  His initial comments were:
• On a run, use the mainsheet to stop rocking sideways
• In small waves, go left to overtake, right to hold the waves
• As a rule, head up in pressure
• Need less vang tension, more twist, and the boom in more

Brett's comments came so fast after that I would stop the video, take a screenshot, and type what he said. Here's the rest of the race: 

At the moment, the waves are not at right angles, should go right as left is too long, right must be shorter. If waves can be overtaken, avoid big waves unless for surfing.

Waves are compressed ahead going right
Going to right to surf, left to overtake the wave
Right now, would probably go left

When buried, sheet in, dig left gunnel, go fast around the wave

Lots going on here, not a good time to look behind at boats, pressure
Going left or right depends on where the mark is, especially near the bottom of the leg

Enough speed/pressure to continue sailing by the lee

Look back when surfing and there is no need to make a decision

Upwind comments:

Look around only when no waves!!!!!
Pointing well compared to 3-time world champion Adam French

Want spray off windward side from punching with steering
Lack of spray means the wave has won
Waves should be hitting me in the face


Too much movement in the transition, not focused on the top waves
Go low if necessary, I went high, was slow, pissing around

Reach to run transition (mark is behind blob): too wide a turn unless on a big wave

Weeds: no need to check as you can see down

(Camera lens distorts mast bend)
Leach way too tight - should hardly see top batten when loaded

On a run, should sometimes head up, hike, really move
With slower smaller waves, look back for more pressure, not more waves

Left is too late, a good wave was to the right if acted sooner
But my boat is set up to bear off (heel, sheet) but trying to go right... slow

Should have sheeted in, leeward gunnel down, head heat up

Vang still too tight, boom out too far, too narrow a setting for carving

Good because lots of speed when going right

The goal is to overtake if possible
Good speed here but wasted for overtaking to the right
This is a good example of a wave to the right that could have been passed
Should have dipped gunnel, sheet in, squirt

Another example of jumping a wave

Thanks to Brett for his mentoring and friendship.

Brisbane Worlds Hat Cam

by Pam
If you aren't a sailing enthusiast, this might be really boring. 

Doug was planning to wear his hat cam for the Worlds.  What really happened was sort of amusing.  He wore it for the first race and was in 4th place until the last leg when he got "chicked."  Chicked is the term my boss tells me they use in triathlons when you get beat by a girl.  Now Doug is all about supporting and encouraging women in sailing but it seems that he suffers from the same affliction as most men I've encountered on the race course.  Women are just fine ... so long as they are behind you.  After the race, he decided the camera was a distraction and he took it off and didn't wear it again.  As a result, the only race he recorded is where Lyndall Patterson passed him on the last leg.  It's actually a really boring video but if anyone wants to know what it's like to sail in the Master Worlds (and get beat by a woman), it will give you a glimpse.  The translation for all four letter words you hear is "weeds".  The camera, a SailPro, does nonstop recording but saves it in 5 minute segments.  I didn't bother to join them so you'll have to click through them until you get bored and give up.

March 25, 2012

2012 Master Worlds (Brisbane) - A Spouse's Perspective

by Pam

This was my first Worlds to attend with Doug. Where do I begin? In a word, WOW! I knew the Worlds was the highlight of Doug’s year but didn’t really understand. I also knew that he spent 8 years living in Australia and was sort of considered an honorary Aussie but again, I didn’t really understand. Watching Doug at the Worlds and later in Sydney was like watching an animal being returned to his natural habitat. I’ve never seen Doug more at ease with himself and the people around him. I also noted that he was far too comfortable driving on the wrong side of the road and navigating the very narrow and not well marked roads. I’m a little worried now that we’re back in the US.

I’m told this event was different than most previous Worlds. Spectator and photographer boats were virtually nonexistent. There were 233 competitors on two separate courses with four fleets sailing on each course. There were some hiccups with the scoring that were attributed to rumors that Jeff Martin was made redundant and not involved but we later heard that he had survived. Not sure what that was all about.

I ended up playing multiple roles at this regatta. Spectator, volunteer, Texan, North American, damn American, trolly girl, spouse, sister, tourist, and a fly on the wall. It was an absolutely fascinating experience.

The first order of business for me was securing a ride. One day I was on Doug’s friend’s catamaran and one day I was on a motor boat with a former commodore. Then I landed a volunteer position on the finish line boat. I was affectionately referred to as a damn American. Somehow with an Aussie accent it sounded like a compliment. They were a great group of people and I couldn’t have been treated better and it provided me with a great vantage point. Although quite busy writing down scores, I managed to write with my left hand and film and take pictures with my right hand. Not the best shots but the videos adequately captured a lot of the action and I got to see Doug’s spectacular first place finish where he was a minute ahead of the fleet. I was sooo proud. Video

On the day that all races were abandoned, we had 233 sailors heading for one ramp all at the same time. We were instructed to pull up anchor and speed to the docks and man the ramp. It was utter chaos in a very organized sort of way. Dozens of volunteers running up and down the ramp grabbing trollies (similar to a dolly) and taking them to the competitors. If ever there was a quick way to ingratiate yourself to a sailor it’s to greet him at the bottom of the ramp with a trolly. The first handful, I actually helped push up the ramp but after that there was no time. By the next day, I was stiff and sore and felt like I’d been racing. But it felt great to be able to help.

On the lay day we hung out with Lyndall Patterson and Bruce Martinson. It was on this day that Lyndall said ‘it isn’t about the people you beat, but the people you meet.’ I heard stories that made me realize these international sailors have had some truly amazing experiences together. The racing is a significant part of it but it’s also just a small part of the entire Worlds experience. I’ve heard Doug’s stories about his sightseeing and interaction with other sailors and realize now that he needs to go back and add a sightseeing and observations section to his journals and post his pictures.

Listening to Lyndall and Doug talk about the Ireland Worlds where the lake sailors were struggling to get out of the harbor was entertaining. They laughed at how the breakers would take you straight up like an elevator to about 15 feet and then drop you straight off the wave. The lake sailors didn’t know not to ride it to the top and tumble down the wave. They provided a lot of entertainment for the open water sailors.

Lyndall, Doug and Bruce were comparing notes about the racing so far. Bruce had been told by someone that there wasn’t tide so he was unaware that there was. Doug had looked at the tide table but had everything backward and going the wrong way. Lyndall, the very accomplished female Aussie who often beats most of the male competitors, had to set the poor wayward men straight. The next couple of days, Doug and Bruce had three bullets between them. Thanks to a woman! And she did say, what I’ve long suspected, which is that when a guy looks up and sees a red triangle (female sailor) on the sail, they work twice as hard.

As I met sailors that Doug has known for 20, 30 and 40 years as well as friends and family in the area, I was welcomed with open arms. Now here’s the weird thing. Doug not only lived in Australia but he also married an Aussie and after 30+ years of marriage, she had never supported his sailing or attended a Worlds event. We stayed with her sister for a couple of days after the sailing and I was welcomed as a new member of the family. It didn’t feel like I was spouse number two … it was like spouse number one, in her own country, never existed. Very odd.

Doug was so excited to show me Australia. It was whirlwind touring. I got to hold a koala bear, feed kangaroos, see the Syndey Harbor bridge, the Opera House, Manly Beach, Bondi Beach and meet several Bethwaites and various friends that Doug has known most of his life. It was absolutely spectacular.

For me, the highlight of the racing was watching the great grand masters (65+). Many of the sailors were in their 70s and the winner, an Aussie, was 72. He was impressive to watch and just the nicest guy. Very inspiring.

The highlight of my touring was meeting Julian, Mark and Frank Bethwaite. Doug has such respect and admiration for them all. Frank is now 92 and sharp as a tack and I now see why Doug speaks so highly of him.

I’ve often thought that sailing keeps you young and after meeting all these sailors in Doug’s life, I'm more convinced than ever that sailing will forever be a part of our lives and this is the first of many Worlds to come.

Oh, by the way, I’ve never had this happen in my life, but since getting together with Doug, twice now while he was away at the Worlds, my house was broken into while I was still in town. Next Worlds, whoever you are, come on over, I’ll have a surprise waiting for you.

March 13, 2012

2012 Laser Master World Championships (Brisbane, Australia)

by Doug
Radial Results
Standard Results
Day 1: Light from the southeast, short, choppy waves with the sea breeze of 14-16 kicking in just before the start. Put on my hiking pants and was able to unload my light air mainsheet.

Race 1: Wearing the head-cam, started near the pin in clean air and went left as in all of the races in the Aussie Nationals last week. The new sail was looking great but the boat felt different - the lift from the centerboard was not as good. Looking over my shoulder, the fleet above me was also going left with Michael Keeton (NZL, last week's Nationals winner) punching out. When I looked again a minute later, the entire fleet had tacked and was going right. I had missed something. Tacked and seemed to be even with the front row at times in the shifts, but fell back a little when clearing weeds. At the mark, things were tight and I rounded 4th. On the top reach, could not get things going and the leaders stretched out with Michael in front, and this continued on the run. Felt a little faster using a looser rig but tighter main as suggested by Brett and held on to 5th by the bottom gate. On the next beat went right and rounded still in 4th but the leaders were still stretching out. Not good. Felt very distracted with too much going on. On the final run, was passed by Lyndall Patterson (AUS) who is the only girl to ever win a Laser Worlds against the boys - just an awesome sailor who lives and practices here in Brisbane. Held on to 5th and did not feel at all competitive, having been beaten by the sailors who are the ones to beat. Too many distractions, did not really fee like I got the boat going.

Race 2: Took the hat cam off and decided to get more aggressive with a boat-favored starting line. Started in clean air at the boat (see below) and the fleet went left and then the leaders tacked on a knock when I did. Did not get all of the shifts and boats on the left and right came in evenly. On the starboard tack layline was just below Michael Keeton (NZL) and above Lyndall Patterson (AUS) when the mainsheet slipped out of my hand and I lost my lane. So I put in 2 tacks to get clear air and rounded 4th again in a still tight group. On the top reach, the boats stretched out but not as much as in the first race, but was rolled at the mark by Michael Pridham (GBR) when I lost track of where he was. On the long run was able to stay with the leaders who went a bit to the right and definitely felt more competitive. By the bottom gate, Lyndall who had stayed left had more pressure and passed everyone to take the lead. She took the right gate and I took the left with Adam French (AUS) who had better speed upwind. This was a problem because I was able to hang with him in these conditions upwind last week at the Nationals. The boats that took the right gate and went left had less pressure than those on my side. On the starboard tack layline Michael tacked right on top of me and I thought crap, this is not good. And then he tacked away and I later learned that he was heading for the wrong mark. Rounded 3rd with 4 boats right behind me including Bruce Martinson (USA, 2nd at the last Worlds). On the run, we were sailing by the lee in about 15 and for the first time was able to hold my position by using some of the things that Brett had taught me, including bearing off on big waves and then heading up in the pressure trying to jump waves. I later learned from Brett that the waves were not really jumpable but it was definitely working because I was able catch Pete Thomas (NZL) and stay just ahead of the now 5 boats right behind. Rounded in second just ahead of the 2 Kiwis and 3 others and was able to hold even on the bottom reach. Coming into the mark, went high forcing the Kiwis to round outside me. Michael tacked and I covered Pete going right to have starboard on the finish line which was 100 yards away. Finished second in a much more satisfying race.

What did not work:
  • Did not have a speed advantage upwind as I did in the Nationals last week.
  • Felt very distracted with too much going on. Was lucky more than smart in the shifts.
What worked:
  • Two good starts.
  • Think that I may have finally figured out these waves on the run.
So, in third place with 5 more days to go. Day 1 with a picture at the bottom of me (195708) starting in the second race. Adam French (198128) and Michael Keeton (198110) also got away cleanly.

Day 2: A carbon copy of day 1 - a breezy, choppy 14-16 from the south (the prevailing wind never comes from this direction!)

Race 3: committee boat favored and I decided to go for it. Adam French (AUS) tried to also start at the committee boat but drifted sideways and I got between him and the boat. Worked to windward of him but he was able to hold his lane - the mark of a very good, patient sailor. Played the shifts and rounded the first mark in first place with Michael Keeton (NZL) right behind. Held on the top reach with and then did everything I could with what Brett taught me last week to stay with Michael on the run, but he pulled ahead by better carving and surfing. Was pleased to hold off the others. On the second work held on with several right behind - upwind speed was good. On the second run decided to go left to set up for room at the bottom mark. The power of sailing by the lee is the most just before you jibe and, sure enough, I accidently jibed on a wave. So here I am, a rookie Brett-Beyer-student-downwind-starboard-tack-sailor on the wrong tack surrounded by some of the best Aussie/Kiwi sailors in these conditions. I had zero muscle memory, my timing was off, I did not recognize which wave patterns to go for, and I felt slooooooow. Should have jibed back again as Adam French (AUS), Jeff Loosremore (AUS), and Pete Thomas (NZL) passed me - damn! Was just behind the 3 at the bottom mark and thought I had caught Pete but he got the last wave, so I rounded just behind. Tried to roll Pete on the screaming bottom reach but he again caught the last wave, so I again rounded still behind the three. On the short final beat they continued right so I tacked, waited 30 seconds and the tacked again. The plan was to duck them and then tack back towards the finish line with a starboard tack advantage. It worked beautifully and I would have beaten Adam and Pete, except the pin end of the finish line was drifting, the line was not square, and they got their bows in just before me. While going from 1st to 5th may sound like a disappointment, it's just awesome to be able to play at this level with these awesome sailors in their favorite conditions.

Race 4: pin favored but decided to play it safe by starting in the middle of the short starting line. The fleet went left and I led coming in on the port tack layline with Bruce Martinson (USA, 2nd in last year's Worlds) just below and looking good. Michael Keeton (NZL) came in from the right to round just ahead of me. The top reach was uneventful and I was able to hold my position on the run carving and jumping waves on starboard tack - yeah! Took the right gate with Michael to go left and worked on top of him, and then he suggested we tack. When we did, Adam and Bruce, who had taken the other gate, were clearly ahead in more pressure. Had speed problems (weeds) and Michael rolled me. There was a gap between me and 5th so I left the group and played the shifts to the left. This worked and I caught up. On the final run, Bruce and I worked the waves and I was ahead until the bottom when he caught a beauty, and rounded just ahead. He took off on the bottom reach so I finished 4th.

What did not work:
  • Should have played to my strength and got back on starboard tack downwind.
  • Really messed up by not checking the angle of the finish line and lost 2 points.
What worked:
  • All starts have been good, great upwind speed all day.
  • Getting better downwind.
  • Conditioning was good.
Adam French has won the Radial Master Worlds 3 times and is leading in this one. Being able to play with these guys in conditions they know best is enormously satisfying. Now, if we could only get conditions that are my specialty... light and fluky, like Dallas-area lakes.

Day 3: Another carbon copy day - a breezy, choppy 15-20 from the south.

Race 5: the line was square but seemed a bit shorter. Started about 1/3 of the way down with an Aussie below who turned out to be a pincher off the line. Could not foot through the steep waves and tried to hang on as long as possible in my lane with Bruce Martinson (USA) and Michael Keeton (NZL) above me. Michael has an extra gear in these conditions and started to foot and roll us. Held on as long as possible and then tacked into clear air and the leaders went right. Rounded third behind Michael and Adam French (AUS). Held on to the reach and run and second beat. Watching Michael going upwind, he foots more than most when going through big waves, taking him a much further distance but it obviously works as he stretched his lead. Was passed on the second run by Jeff Loosremore (AUS) who played the left and seemed to have more pressure. Was able to hold off Pete Thomas (NZL) who was also gaining at the bottom of the run and also the bottom reach. On the final short beat, he tacked and I covered to beat him by 2 boat lengths. Finished 4th, a good race compared to the next.

Race 6: pin favored, started in clean air in the bottom 1/3 with everyone going left before the fleet split up. Continued left as the tide was flooding left to right which I figured would make the port tack layline faster. At the windward mark led coming in from the left but was headed and a row of boats came in from the right. Rounded about 8th. Tried to get into the passing lane on the reach but was passed by a boat near the mark when the wind let up and he had a hotter angle. On the run felt slow, took on water over the bow in the short, steep waves, had issues with weeds that were hard to clear, and just could not get the boat going. On the next beat went left and then right and missed a few shifts - everything felt forced and out of sync. The second run was equally bad and it was like I had forgotten how to sail. Finished 9th and am glad to know which race I will be dropping. Adam won and has set up a real battle with Michael.

What did not work:
  • Still have not got it all together in the waves in the run (see below about Slingsby).
  • Had my head up my butt for most of the second race.
What worked:
  • Holding my lane off an average start worked well.
  • Conditioning was good but was totally out of gas by the end of the second race.
So, we have a rest day which I need, not to rest but to get a change in the weather pattern. The normal conditions for this time of year are 8-14 from the northeast, not these stronger conditions that we have had from the south. The Kiwis and Aussies are amongst the best sailors in the world in this because this is what they get most of the time. It would be great to mix up the conditions a little.

Special note: I received a copy of two videos from the Perth World Championships. The first is a highlights video for all of the classes. The second is the entire Laser gold medal race with superb coverage of how 4-time World champion Tom Slingsby (AUS) sails. The part that surprised me the most was where his boom is when on a run - it's so far in that he is almost jibing much of the time. He's really powered up and sailing hard by the lee and pressing the soft leach out. I'll try to get permission to post these.

Day 4 - Lay Day

Day 5: light (yeah) variable (wohoo) winds that did not settle down enough for racing (bummer), so we came in after 3 hours on the water. The North Americans and Europeans were disappointed because these are the conditions that we do best in, while the Aussies and Kiwis were happy to not have to sail. We're switching to 3 races/day with more light winds in the forecast.

Day 6: 12 to 14 with bright sunshine all day. An absolutely beautiful day to be on the water. Three races were scheduled and we got them in.

Races 7 and 8: these races were almost identical - clear starts in the middle and charging off to the left to get into the flooding tide on the port tack layline. Rounded first in the first race and second in the second. So far, so good. Held on the top reaches and run (yeah!) and went left on the second work, but came in on a header in both races. Finished 4th in both races. Upwind and downwind speed was good in both but I missed some shifts on the second beat.

Race 9, first through fifth from the finishing line
Race 9: under a black flag, decided to go right, so I started beside the committee boat (scary) and got a great jump on the other boats. Tacked on the first header and went right this time on a long lift. At the starboard tack layline was headed and tacked again, and rounded just ahead of John Sprague (AUS) at the first mark. Held on the reach and then stretched on the run by trying something I had seen in the Slingsby video: boom way in, vang way off, and pivoting on top of waves to get the best angle to surf. The boat felt unstable but powered up. Rounded the bottom mark 20 seconds ahead. Went right again (duh) in phase and reached the top mark with a 25 second lead. Another good run stretched this to a minute. Tried different vang settings on the bottom reach and all felt good. Won by just over a minute.

What did not work:
  • Going left on the first 2 races when the leaders went right. With good upwind speed, why was I not covering the nearest boats? Bonehead!
What worked:
  • Good speed all day, finally feel the boat is moving competitively going downwind.
Three more races scheduled for tomorrow - need good finishes and others to make mistakes to move up. Should be fun.

Day 7: Well, we finally got it - a light 5-10 southerly that built to 12 with the final 3 races completed. The tide was more of a factor with the lighter breeze.

Bruce winning race 10, me second
Races 10 and 11: U.S. competitors did well today, with Bruce Martinson (USA, 2nd at the last Worlds) and me getting a 1, 1 and 2, 3 respectively in some great close racing. The big surprise was the heavy-weather expert Kiwis who also having a very good day, with Pete Thomas (NZL) scoring a 4, 4 and leader Mike Keeton (NZL) a 3, 6. I took out a pen and paper to keep track of the scores and knew it was going to be close as the breeze started to fill in.

Race 12: started near the pin and went left with Pete below me. Had problems with weeds and he pulled ahead and led at the first mark. I rounded in a crowd in 9th and could not catch up on the crowded reach and run. Recognizing the downwind wave patterns was much harder for me, so there's still lots of learn. The final beat was good and I moved up to 6th by playing the right shifts. Tried but could not catch Bruce, Mike, or Bruce Jones (NZL) on the run or bottom reach. Pete nipped Jeff Loosremore (AUS) on the finish line by less than a foot to win, while I came in on port, ducked Bruce, and then tacked to jam him out at the pin to gain one place to finish 5th. Really wanted to pass at least one more boat but could not.

Final standings: Mike won the Worlds with Adam French (AUS, 3-time world champion) coming second after 2 rough races. There was a 3-way tie for third between Pete, me and Jeff that was decided on the number of first place finishes, so we got 3, 4, and 5 respectively. Pete sailed really well and deserved his 3rd place, Jeff was really quick in all conditions, and I had the satisfaction of having the lowest drop race in the fleet (5th). It was one of the closest Worlds I have competed in and one of the best. Australia has and attracts some of the best sailors in the world and the competition is always fantastic.

One final thought: I like to stretch myself and try things that are almost impossible. I feel that it keeps me young and gives me a purpose. Along the way I meet people from around the world attempting the same crazy things. While winning a Worlds is fantastic, I have to admit that the journey is just as satisfying as the destination. As Lyndall said, it's not about the people you beat ... it's the people you meet.

March 09, 2012

Worlds Prep

by Doug
I had this brilliant idea - in race 6 I was wearing a hat cam and took a video of the entire race. One of the best Laser coaches in the world is Brett Bayer who has won 7 Laser Master Worlds and is favored to win in his division again. I asked him if he would care to comment on my raw footage and he agreed. Actually, he watched the entire race, commenting on individual wave selection, control setting, and about a dozen other suggestions. There was so much new material that I used screenshots of individual frames and then commented on what he saw and wanted improved. I'm now cramming for the exam that starts on Sunday.

March 05, 2012

2012 Australian Laser Masters Championship

by Doug

Head-cam screen shot taken from video in Race 6

3-5 About 160 people have shown up for the Aussie Nationals with 26 in my division (Radial Grand Master). It rained all day and blew about 15. Weeds are unusual here and were a problem for everyone. In both races I got away cleanly in this my second radial competition (the first was 20 years ago at RCYC and was a drifter).

Upwind speed was good but downwind was really bad. I'm trying the Luke Lawrence 90 degree turns and it just is not working for me. So I was talking with my friend, Brett Beyer, who sails in a younger division, has won about 6 Worlds, and is also the Olympic coach for Norway, Korea, and Singapore. Great guy and great sailor. His specialty is downwind and he's only doing 20 degree turns, so I'm going to practice with him to improve my downwind speed.

I had a 3 and a 3 (lost 2 on the second beat of race 2 because I missed a rightie at the top of the second beat). There's a lot of speed in this fleet and I feel fortunate to be in second place.

3-6 There was a strong wind warning and the weatherman did not disappoint. The breeze started at 15 mph and picked up, with recorded gusts over 30. We had 3 races back to back. I am soooo glad to be using an old sail!

My starts and upwind speed were good and my downwind speed was better. My positions after the first windward-leeward were 1, 1, and 3. I tended to lose on shifts on the second beats that were left favored, with a parade of boats coming in from the right in the second race.

The runs and reaches were screamers, with the first race being the most memorable. At the bottom of the outside run on the trapezoid course, the first 2 boats could not jibe onto the bottom reach because they were in a very hard gust and on a big wave. So, they had to keep going and sailed right off the course - something I've never seen before. Third and fourth (me) had jibed early and took the lead, but at the bottom of the reach the end of my boom touched a wave and I spun out and then had trouble bearing off again and not flipping. It cost me one position. People did everything to survive rounding the bottom mark and only then pulled in all of the controls. Definitely wet and wild. The seamanship of these sailors is remarkable with hardly any capsizes.

Lasers sometimes have interesting breakdowns. In a strong gust going downwind, one of 4 things sometimes happens. If not perfectly balanced, you tip to leeward or windward. If perfectly balanced, you fly or your break your mast. In the second race on a reach, Mark Bethwaite's mast broke at the deck which tells me that he was balanced and something had to give. Sure glad it was this week and not next.

So, I've slipped to third place behind a Kiwi (the heavy-air specialists) and a fellow from Sydney. Two more races to go with a forecast for lighter conditions.

3-7 The conditions were similar to yesterday but there was no rain and it was not as windy - about 15-18, and certainly not the light conditions that were forecast. In the first race, I got away cleanly and led at the first mark by 25 seconds but was reeled in by the bottom of the run by Adam French (AUS). We were even on the next beat and then he took off on the reach and run, so downwind continues to be problematic in a breeze. Finished second.

In the final race I started between Adam and leader Mike Keetom (NZL) without a good lane, but was able to protect my lane and force Mike to tack. About 300 meters from the mark ducked them before tacking onto the port tack layline. With the current going right to left, ended up overshooting the mark by about 50 meters and rounded 4th. On the run was able to stay with the leaders for the first time until I ran into the back of a wave and filled up with water. The leaders pulled ahead and I rounded in traffic, forcing me to tack away. When we converged they were 50 meters ahead. Did not feel fast for the rest of the race and struggled to finish 7th, my worst race.

Final results: finished 3rd. The old sail I used probably did not make a difference, although it will be good to use my new sail for the Worlds that start on Sunday. My starts and upwind speed were as good as anyone in the fleet in a breeze, so I'll be practicing my reaching and runs, along with my transitions at the mark roundings. While the Aussie Nationals had some really good sailors, there are more to come for the Worlds. Should be fun.
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