It's not ALL about the racing...

NZL-145 Epilogue

Paul & Pavel (red kite) searching for a clear lane

Was it worth it? A typical question after a mediocre performance. In my case the answer is an emphatic yes, not only because it was such a beautiful venue but also lessons learned. Catching up with old friends and acquaintances was also a big highlight.

Pavel and I arrived had no preconceived idea how we would perform, as we had not sailed together for over a year before the Nationals. We had decided to refurbish US-1453, a 1984 Lindsay, with the latest ideas that included new spars and foils. What we found at this years worlds, was that we were lacking in most departments including equipment, large fleet experience,against teams that I firmly believe have improved since we last sailed against them. Therefore, Lin and Richard’s placings are probably more indicative of the state of the US FD standard than ours.

I won’t go too much into the starting issues as Lin has already commented elsewhere, but I will add that there seems to be different standards between regattas as to what the RC will tolerate. I agree with Torban Graels recent comments and feel that a crackdown on starting at this level would make racing fairer. His comment on bringing out the black flag for the first start, certainly at this level, and perhaps making it for the formed triangle only, combined with a consistent tough stance by the RC’s, could cut out the nonsense that currently persists.

The regatta got more difficult for us after race six, when the fleet was split into gold and silver. Being in the gold fleet, we found that being grouped with the top sixty-five boats meant even more aggressive starting techniques and less clear lanes and gaps to maneuver in. This meant that it became even easier to have poor results if you made even the slightest of mistakes. The decision to run three gold/silver fleet races on the final day and with the morning race being abandoned after the second windward leg, effectively made it a four race day. This took it’s toll, and left me both physically and mentally exhausted. A lesson here is to get fitter.

The basis for attending the Worlds on Lake Garda was to gain a realistic perspective of where we are at present and use this as a platform to build toward getting internationally competitive for next years worlds in Santa Cruz. In our case, some of the system changes we made saw knock-on effects that caused handling difficulties. These probably wouldn’t have been so obvious if we hadn’t been competing at this level. The aim now is to finesse these improvements as well as spend some time on the water together. There is a steep mountain to climb and the journey for us begins today.{jcomments on}

Worlds review

Lin & Richard heading upwind

After all the stories and images before coming to Garda, I'd have to say in this case the anticipation could and did not exceed the reality. As all those attending know, we sailed in one of the World's most beautiful places.

Racing could be a very one sided affair tactically, although in some races the unapparent side held advantage. I was struck by the emergence of more teams sailing at very high levels, with no one equipment approach holding dominate. In the end it was the best prepared packages and tactical decisions on a difficult race track that carried the day.

One note about the starts, I would like to see going forward a tougher stance by race commitees on using and enforcing the black flag. There were too many premature starters that went undetected. Enforced black flag starts keep starts legal and save time in the end.

Richard and I did not achieve our goals, but the process was challenging and we did have some results we were happy with considering the limited time we had to sail together. Now it's back to the gym and refocus on Santa Cruz.

Great scenery, people and racing during a work week, that's a really fine way to go!

More later as bandwidth gets better,


Long start line with 3 rows
Reaching toward leeward mark Crowded rounding for the leaders
Pavel having a good day Nigel & Jonathan at the Cafe Lin & John Best talking it through

Photos courtesy of Caroline Kramer{jcomments on}

Getting There and Back

Kurt on the wire in Santa Cruz

On Friday our container with all our boats and equipment left Genoa for the return trip to the US.  On board was an additional boat belonging to Javier Valdes from Mexico, who plans on moving it out to Santa Cruz to participate in preparations for the 2012 Worlds. 

The arrangements for all this can be difficult for the uninitiated, but Kurt Hemmingsen and his team from Agility Logistics is making it all happen without skipping a beat. Kurt, an FD sailor with the NorCal fleet, filled us in with some perspectives on shipping boats around the world. 

How is shipping sailboats and working with sailors different from your usual projects?

Kurt: Shipping someone's personal items is always nerve wrecking because I know how much the owners care for their FD boats and gear, and I know that the FD boats travel on a schedule to make it to the sailing events in time. Commercial customers apply a fair amount of rationale and have greater tolerance for unforeseen delay and schedule interruption. I am happy to say that I never had to tell a sailor that they couldn't sail an event because their boat was left behind or delayed on schedule.

It is very typical that loading of boats into containers commence shortly after a regatta. We all want to use our FD boats longest possible and while they are on the water we have no use of them, so we try to plan it so FD boats are available for use as long as possible and on arrival as early as possible. This makes for a tight shipping window. I am fortunate that I work for a very large logistics company, Agility Logistics, with a global network which comprise of more than 550 offices. I have colleagues in every corner of the world to step in and help if containers are not moving as planned. We have Customs experts in proximity of all major sea ports. Because this is important to FD sailors, it is equally important to our team to make sure that their expectations are met.

Read more: Getting There and Back

La fine

The 2011 FD World Championship finished up on Friday with HUN 70 taking top honors, closely followed by DEN 21 and NED 26  Results from both fleets can be found here.

The early 09:00 start did not work out as the morning northerly continued to slowly die out and the race was first race was abandoned.  The fleet went ashore with racing postponed.  Then return to the course at noon, but no racing started untill 14:00 at which point 3 races were run for both fleets, making for a very long day, but the  scheduled 9 races were run. 

There was a lot going on and we should be getting more descriptions, photos and wrap ups from contestants.  Check back with us over the next few days and we should have more details.