Club Championship 2011, August 14

Exciting times: would we be able to obtain this title for the 3rd consecutive time or would we have to pass the honor to the upcoming talented youth team Anton Coppens Anton en Louis Verstraete on their Nacra 500?

I don’t know how long I am already talking about driving a race but anyway in the week before the race we decided I was going to drive 1 race to see how this would go. After this decision I had 3 more days to prepare mentally (in other words to get nervous). Sunday came and the sun was out, the water was flat and the wind was a nice force 3-4. We went out a bit before the start so I could drive the course once before I had to drive the race.

We went over to the starting line and this was something I was a bit afraid of, but nothing to worry, Gill knows what he has to do and he just told me to bear off, go up again, stay, go,… we didn’t start on the second, but pretty close so this felt rather ok. The first upwind mark along the coast we could both trap and Gill kept telling me “watch the jib, watch the jib, watch the jib…”. The second upwind tack we noticed that the Nacra Infusion (not from our club and with a good sailor on it) was in front. Again I heard a lot of “watch your jib” but I found it very hard. If my tell tales in the bottom were ok the top ones weren’t, and each time I was about to correct my steering Gill was already seeing it just a second faster so he had to say it again “watch your jib”. Difficult! So we were second at the upwind mark, dog leg went ok, bearing of to pull the kite also. The downwind leg went fine, short courses, so a quick run to the gate.

Now I know what Riley meant when she told us in her interview that she likes the downwind best because she feels in control. I didn’t understand this when she told this because as a crew I like the upwind better than the downwind (although this is changing too). But as a skipper the downwind feels indeed so much more under control, you get the speed, you feel the boat, you go up and you feel the speed increasing, you bear off if it is too high and you can feel that the crew can control this too. The only thing here is learn not to bear off to quickly, but this is just getting used to. It was nice to have a silent crew for a bit too, haha.

The thing I liked the most about my first drive was the feeling you get when you get out on the wire with the stick in your hand, it feels so powerful!

On the last downwind run to the gate, Gill was on the wire and he fell forward, I did a bear off, but… too much and we gybed! Ah shit! Since we were both still on the same side, Gill on the trapeze, gybing was NOT a good idea, so we went over (well over is not really the word when the boat just falls onto you). I thought this was really funny, my first race and I capsized! Especially since when I am the crew I always tell Gill to be careful and not to capsize. Haha. But my crew was pissed off. “Why did you do that?!.

After righting the boat Gill stated “I’ll drive the 3 other races!”, owkay message understood! The 2nd race wasn’t all that good either, we weren’t focused and since I prepared myself so much for driving I forgot to do my crew job, so not a happy boat! The last 2 races we were back in the groove and we managed to stay in front of the Infusion right up until the gate. Due to some tactical errors (we’ll have to get into match racing a bit more!) we let the Infusion creep in front of us just before the finish. Damn!

We were very curious to know if we would still be Club Champions, the boys on their Nacra 500 sailed very good and with their rating it is hard to tell if they sneak in front of you or not. Luckily the price giving started with on place 3 the boys, on place 2 us and on place 1 the Infusion.

Since the Infusion wasn’t a club member, we were crowned Club Champions 2011, yiha! We got 2 nice big bottles of Duvel beer again (who wants to share?) and the trophy is ours!

After the racing a nice evening bbq with all the participants (16 boats!).

Our next races are the Diamond Cup (compulsory mixed event at RBSC Zoute) on Saturday August 20 and we’ll also participate in the 2nd day of the Raf Verhaeghe Challenge on Sunday August 21 at Sycod Oostduinkerke. Stay tuned for more reports!

No comments: