This year's first installment of Coach's Corner features a recap from this past weekend's opening competition.
Saturday, September 10:
In the first Southern Series of the fall 2011 season, a gentle northeasterly breeze greeted competitors along with a strong ebbing current. All told, it was a gorgeous day. By the second A race, most had figured out that there was current relief to be had on the left side. Throughout the day the breeze was up and down, from 5-10 knots.
Sunday, September 11:
Teams gathered for a moment of silence to remember the 9/11 victims and the people who have fought in the war on terror in the decade since. With the ebb tide still doing its thing, Mother Nature threw us a curve ball with a shifty easterly breeze moving slowly to the right as the day went on. This cross current forced sailors to make some difficult decisions on the race course. Towards the end of the day, it also got pretty light and some competitors were going faster sideways than forwards. So after a straw poll of the teams, we called it a day.
Congrats to the RWU Hawks team that was chasing down the Vermont Catamounts all day and clipped them in the last set. The Dartmouth Big Green was also able to sneak in there for second place.
Mitchell's few days of practice showed as we had difficulty getting off the starting line. Speed wise, I was pleased to see we were right there, if not faster at times, than the teams present. We ended up squeaking by Mass Maritime for 14th place out of 15 teams, primarily thanks to Brendan Griffiths and Alexandra Bollela's solid finishes which broke the tie (Brendan had high scores of 9, 10, 11 during this regatta). Alex Hering and Chelsea Abbenante finished 15th in A Division and Brendan Griffiths and Alexandra Bollela/Deborah Lee finished 13th in B Division.
Sailing in current and light wind proved to be very difficult conditions for our team to find their groove and get in a rhythm. We had poor starts on the first day, but we greatly improved our starts on Sunday. Our tactics were solid on Saturday, but being off the line late made us try and play catch up too much. On Sunday our solid starts were counter-balanced by our frustrating experience with the light winds/heavy current and poor tactics.
What we showed ourselves today was that when there is decent wind we can compete. We are NOT light air sailors and we need to be more patient and think through our tactics more. This regatta was our warm-up and got us sailing/starting on a line with other than the two boats we can put on a line during practice. It was a valuable experience that gave us a solid foundation on which we are going to work on in preparation for this weekend's regatta at UCONN - the site of our first regatta victory in recent history. Stay tuned for more up dates in the future.