420

What a difference a week makes!  Just last week the women racers were a little too wary of the cold water to race in 420s but today we were all ready.  We had a few sailors new to the 420 so I started a rigging walk-through.  Thankfully Loren showed up to rescue me and finish the walk-through.

I sailed with Laura which was great because I’m not sure I ever sailed a 420 with her.  I think we may have sailed on a keelboat, but that’s not quite the same.  A 420, with just two people on a small and light boat, really encourages closer teamwork.

After racing people like to talk about the rules.  The rules are on the internet: http://www.sailing.org/documents/racingrules/.  Read.  18.3 is in there.  I also recommend the case and call books:  http://www.sailing.org/documents/caseandcall/.

Green Flag, 58F, NE wind 3kts gusting to 7.  It was enough for a first day of the season in 420s.

More, April 30:  I’m watching the replay of the Extreme Sailing Series and for the start of race 6 in Qingdao, the line is heavily favored to port, almost exactly like our line for women’s racing this day.  Let’s see how the pros do it, and what worked for them.  At 20 seconds before the start, the Chinese Team Extreme has plans to run up the line on starboard, using right of way to get to the favored end at the gun.  Seems reasonable, but not to anyone else.  Everyone else is planning a port start close to the favored end.  At the gun (2:11:58 in the playback) we see Alinghi is downwind of everyone, seemingly the in the least favored position on the line.  But wait, the commentator just said they were “the best off the line”?  When the SAP placings go on the screen a few seconds later (2:12:21) we are reassured that Team Extreme won the start with their starboard tack strategy and that Alinghi is down in 5th, only ahead of boats that were caught out and late for the start.  Pause right there and look at the boat speeds though.  Alingi is ripping and Team Extreme is wallowing.  The commentators are talking about their ideas of the starboard side of the course having more pressure.  Is it really that much difference of wind or is a lot of Alinghi’s strategy just maintaining headway and clear air?  At 2:12:52, less than a minute into the race, SAP numbers show Alinghi in first.

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