By the time everyone arrived and rigged the wind had shifter slightly more into the east it was just barely favoring a starboard tack course in the eastern end of Sengekontacket (Sengie) Pond. I went out and took a few practice runs on my 12m and you could tell it was a building breeze. The puffs were large and unpredictable both in direction and velocity, making the already tight course very interesting and tricky. Luckily the course had an excellent water texture as the tide was high so you could get right in next to the spartina and I have a few nicks on my legs to prove it.
At 10:05 the green flag went up and I was the first one down the course. I love that feeling of timing the starting line perfectly and ripping down the course before anyone with nothing but smooth water in front of me. The run felt good and I quickly averaged 37 Knots but on the second or third run I crashed hard doing multiple rotations on my back as I skipped downwind. When I finally regained control I was a few meters downwind of the course and started to look for my board but couldn't find it anywhere. Evidently fellow competitor and sponsor of the event Bill Lynch did find my board when he came down the course and ran right over it. I was unaware of this however and rode it for the rest of the heat only to fins out afterward that there was a massive crack in the bottom. During the Heat I was fortunate enough to lay down one solid run over 39 Knots but I just couldn't put together a second run over 39 again. I knew things would be tight and they were. Alex Caizergues won the heat with an average of just over 40 Knots. Second place went to Rob Douglas with 39.7 Knots and I was 6th with 39.1 Knots. It still amazes me how tight this fleet it is.
At the end of the first heat the wind had shifted more to the north prompting the race committee to move the course further to the NorthWest and changing to a port tack. After having a quick snack and water I went out on my brand new HydroFlex Board for a few practice runs. I had seen that the wind had built so I dropped down in size from my 12M to my 10M but when I sailed up to the course and took a number of practice runs I felt very overpowered. The board seemed very fast but my shoulders were dropping over my hips and I wasn't quite able to control the power. Moments before the start of the second heat I made the decision to sail back downwind to the rigging area and change down to my 8M. I was very quick in the pits as I had everything setup for the change but evidently the rapid build in pressure had been short lived and I felt myself sailing the second heat just slightly underpowered. It felt good and I could tell I was peaking at some good speeds but just didn't have the power all the way down the course. Again I scored a 6th.
The Third and final heat of the day was easily the best of the event and the most fun to sail. The wind had built to well over 30 Knots and had shifted further North. The course was perfect water texture, the beach was lined with spectators and the speeds were incredible. I sailed a great heat pushing it first on my 10M and then dropping back down to my 8M. The 8M was the ticket as I was really able to send it down the line and I even hit a new top Vmax speed for myself. 47.05 Knots! I also laid down a 44 Knot Average run, not too bad for the first day on my new port tack board. Although I was only 4th place in the heat I feel like I really sailed well. This dropped me down to 4th place but only by .6 of a point as Alex Caizergues the former outright world speed record holder passed me to take 3rd place.
Given the magnitude of this storm the Race Committee decided it would be prudent to take the day off and allow the 60-80 Knot Winds to pass through before returning to the water tomorrow. While this was disappointing to some members of the fleet I think this was the right thing to do.
Enjoy two great shots from Deirdre Rynne who came to watch the racing yesterday and definitely check out www.cohenphotography.com for more from the entire event.
Thank you all for the support.
All the best.