Sunday, February 03, 2008

Bang the Corner

Sun 13 Jan

It's the last day of the Laser Caribbean Midwinters at Cabarete. So far in the regatta my race results have been dismal to bad. One last day for redemption.

The wind is similar to Day 2, starting light but increasing as the day progresses. But the current is running the other way, against us on the beat. Hmmm, need a different strategy I guess.

In race 1 there is a mass of boats at the pin so I start mid-line and tack on to port in clear air. There seems to be a huge pile-up at the pin so I'm feeling smug and self-satisfied to have avoided that mess. Keep trucking in clear air for a minute or two.

But what now? The boats on the left are passing me. I'm confused. How can this be? I dig back in to the left so as not to lose touch with the leaders.

But wait. What's this? The boats that went to the right are winning out big-time. In fact the boat that went the furthest right, a guy who had been in the middle of the fleet up to now, is in first place at the windward mark.

I am DFL at the first mark. Ho hum. This is the first time I've been last. Let's make it the last time.

I catch a couple of boats by playing the shifts on the second beat, but this is not turning out to be one of my best regattas.

While the race committee are moving the buoys before the second race I ponder my options...

Hmmm. So right was right. Well maybe I should just bang the right corner in the second race, roll the dice, see what happens? Hey, I can't do any worse than I'm already doing so what do I have to lose? It's probably because of the current. Going right gets you out of the adverse current. It's a theory. It's a plan. Let's do it.

The wind has strengthened for the second race and also shifted left quite a bit. I get a good start and execute my plan. Bang the corner. Rightsville Population 1 here I come.

I see that all of the smart sailors are going left. So what? There are two possible outcomes...

  1. They are correct and I will be last at the windward mark again. What's new?

  2. I will be right, I will look like a genius, and I will have something spectacular to write about on the blog. Worth a try.
Hmmm. It's getting lonely out here. Everyone else is bailing out and heading left. But I'm tanking along on port tack, way, way, way out to the corner. One tack and here I come.

How does it look? Pretty good. Start rehearsing suitably modest comments for when everyone congratulates me for being so brilliant.

Hmm. Maybe I misjudged the angle. Looks like the leaders might cross me.

Uh oh, maybe I was wrong? Looks like a bunch of boats will cross me

Uh oh, oh no. They're all crossing me.

At the first mark I'm back with the tailenders again.
How did that happen?

Possible explanations...
  1. With the big shift to the left between the races, the right corner is not so far inshore and so I didn't get out of the adverse current.

  2. The wind kept shifting left and I didn't notice.

  3. The right corner paid in the first race because of pressure or a shift, not current.

  4. I'm just slow.

  5. God hates me.

  6. All of the above.
  1. Lightning never strikes in the same place twice.

  2. If the smart money is all betting the same way it's probably right (or left in this case.)

  3. God does hate me.
OK. One last race for redemption. Let's roll.


Litoralis said...

Interesting. How do the top guys figure out which way to go in those conditions? And, how do you decide when to give up on your plan and follow the top guys instead?

Tim Coleman said...

You sail in the same water with the same wind as everyone else. Its up to you which way you go. There is luck but if its jusy luck the odds are you will be right 50% of the time, the fact that it doesn't work out like that means that some guys, the ones that win, know something you don't and what they know is what the wind and tide are doing. Figure out how they get that knowledge and what to do withit and you will be up there with there leaders, if you always follow them then you will always follow them. If you do figure it out (and I hope you do) let me know too and I'll do the same for you.

Oh and God doesn't hate you; he gave you sailing for crying out load! Just give thanks and go sailing and enjoy!

Tillerman said...

I think the truth about what the wind and tide are going to do is hidden somewhere in all those Stuart Walker books that I can't understand. I never even finished that project I started on this blog to decipher one of his Sailing World articles, so what hope do I have?

If God really loves us why did he make Stuart Walker so hard to understand?

Tim Coleman said...

Maybe Mr Walker is influenced by.....The Dark side!

Tim Coleman said...

No on second thoughts its Mr Walker is a fine sailor so there is no chance of any hint of darkness.
It must be that the value of some mysteries is in the pursuit of understanding and not the acquisition of it.

Deep eh?

Tillerman said...

That's Doctor Walker to you Tim.

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