So there I am working my way nicely up the right side of the course. Managed to pull off the perfect squirrel start, tacked on to port and have a nice clear lane with nobody to leeward. I can foot off as fast as I want until I hit the first shift about three-quarters of the way up the beat. I tack back on to starboard and life is good.
There's a crowd of boats close to the port tack layline but I'm crossing almost all the boats in the middle of the course. I keep looking upwind to check out the position of the windward mark. A few boats manage to cross me but I'm definitely going to be in the top five at the mark.
About fifteen boatlengths shy of the port tack layline I tack back on to port for my final approach. There are some boats coming in from the right that look like they've overstood a tad, so I tack on to the starboard tack layline a bit below them.
Hmmm. Maybe I'm just a little below the layline? No worries. Keep sailing fast and I'll be able to shoot the mark. The boats that overstood are reaching in to the mark and are now ahead of me and to windward. I can still lay the mark. It's going to be tight but I can make it.
OK. Here we go. Just about to luff up and round the mark. Wham. The idiot ahead and to windward has capsized and his mast is now completely blocking my path around the buoy. I have nowhere to go and have to gybe below the mark and head back down the line of starboard tackers to find a gap.
Deja vu all over again. This is impossible. In a fleet this large and this competitive, the top twenty or so boats form a solid wall of starboard tackers on the layline. Eventually I find a gap and am able to tack back on to starboard and round the mark.
Much gnashing of teeth and beating of breast. Even when I sail well I still get screwed through someone else's mistake.
Oh well. Got to forget about it. Now let's see if I can catch some rides on these waves without using my rudder to steer.
Wave to windward. Heel to leeward, sheet in, flatten boat. Whooooooo. That was good.
Wave to leeward. Heel to windward. Keep sail trimmed. Release sheet. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
What was the adverb that Scrivan used to describe this technique in those words of wisdom? Gracefully? Oh well, I can try for gracefully next time. For now, life is good.