Yesterday morning came quickly. Having worked on my boards until 1 AM the night before I set my alarm clock to 5 and I think I was probably already awake when it went off. Dressing quickly I scuttled downstairs to run a few last pieces of wet-sand paper over the now filled pinholes, then was out the door. The sun was still sleeping when Media Producer Rich Sabo dropped me off at Edgartown Marine. Knowing that we were going to be out at Cape Poge I had left my car on Chappy the night before and decided I would Paddle boarded across in the morning, this saved me from waiting until the 0645 ferry like everyone else. I already had a little jump on the competition.
It didn't take me long to drive around Cape Poge to the "Windmill House" and the drive alone was enough to get you fired up. Deer all over the place, the predawn light shining over East Beach and the water already starting to cap with white. I unloaded my car and started pumping my 15M and 17M TS BEST Kites just as the sun poked up over the bay, still no one in sight.
The first of the day started just after 0800 and it was easily the most "square" course we have sailed. This meant that there is a serious balance between holding an edge and yet still trying to let the board run fast. Leading into the Entry Gate was basically upwind and then you had a very short area to build your speed before hitting the starting line and trying to hold your line up in the smooth water before pressing the nose down and flying over the corduroy chop that was at the bottom of the course. For this heat I started out on my new HydroFlex board designed by Stan Pleskunas. I found it to be very fast at the bottom of the course and it was amazing at cutting through the chop. The only problem was that the course was so square that I really needed to be ultra comfortable on the boards edge and be able to push it 100%. Given my time on my older board I switched back and found this made this difference. I scored a 4th.
For the second Heat of the day the wind remained up and although it was still pretty square I felt good. I had found my rhythm and was starting to be comfortable with the lines I was drawing and I knew I was right on the edge of being in control. Actually I was out of control a large amount of the time and I had three hard wipeouts at the bottom of the runs. Towards the end of the heat I noticed the wind had shifted slightly more North of West. This slight shift would make all the difference as I noticed I could now hold a very fast line down the shore and keep the good water texture. Right at the end of the heat I made two solid runs. I knew they were fast but unfortunately my GPS case was fogged up so I couldn't see just how fast. When the heat ended and I pulled the GPS's out my thoughts were confirmed, I had VMAX'd over 42 Knots and had an average over 40 knots. I scored a 2nd.
The last heat was probably the most difficult. The NW breeze was starting to soften as the gradient pressure slackened. It had warmed up considerably and although the puffs were really good the lulls were really bad. I decided to stick with my 15M and my little board. After a few runs I decided the wind was lifted enough I could go with the big new board but after two runs I knew that I was still to slow at the top of the course. Finally I did what my gut had told me to do from the get go and I switched to my 17M and the little board. I made a few good runs and was able to connect the dots but I knew that my runs were inconsistent. I scored an 8th.
Overall I have been really happy with my performance thus far in the Competition. I can see that when I am dialed in on the equipment then my results are there. This drives me to work harder and find the ways to make the equipment better. I can see that the work I have done has paid off and now it is exciting to look to the future. The next week will be interesting as we have a couple of days off before the breeze on for Sunday. Then we will have just a few more days until the end of the event on the 31st.
Thank you to everyone for your support and words of encouragement. Also a huge thank you to my wife Sheylah who has put up with my incessant work and devotion to speed. She has done more than I could possibly imagine to insure that I am properly fed, rested, motivated and prepared to race everyday. Thank you Sheylah.
All the best from the Vineyard.