Here is my Lauderdale OCR recap, more or less on my schedule of one blog post a week (racing ended Monday). It was a great start to the 2018 racing season, and was overall a super fun event!
We arrive in Florida just over a week ago (the evening of January 9th) so we had three days of training before racing started. Fort Lauderdale is on the east coast of Florida, so we are sailing on the open Atlantic. To get out from the yacht club you have to go under a bridge and through a busy shipping area with tankers and lots of cruise ships, so it is best to always tow with a coach boat. Once you are out of the port it is perfect ocean sailing. Almost every day there is great swell and chop, and if the breeze is on shore you can get pretty huge rollers. The water is warm and it is a treat to be wearing one thin layer for sun protection, after a couple months of cold winter sailing at home!
The regatta was Saturday through Monday (a stat in the US, MLK Day). The radial fleet had 96 boats registered, and they decided to keep us all on once start line! For our starts they set up a mid-line boat which also had a orange committee flag on board, so it was essentially like two separate starts right next to each other. I found the middle boat was often slightly forward of the pin and committee boat, so just to the right of it was a great place to start, guaranteeing you a bit of space to leeward.
The first day was medium strength, offshore breeze. It was tricky to predict the oscillations and pressure changes, so there was lots of mix up in the standings. I managed three top ten finishes (7, 10, 9), and that kind of consistency didn’t happen for many sailors, so it was enough to put me in second place over all.
The second day we had a bit more breeze and it was a northerly; a bit colder and parallel to the shore. There were still some tricky shifts to deal with, and about 4-5 knots of downwind current. In some races catching the puffs and shifts was the most important upwind strategy, while in others it paid off to ignore the shifts for the most part and sail directly for the shore to get out of the current. I had some good upwind speed in the heavier breeze, which I was really happy with, but made a few mistakes here and there on the downwinds, ending up with 20, 9, 20 for the day, which dropped me down to 9th place.
The third day was forecast to be really windy (I saw 40-50 knots in one prediction), so we started a little earlier with the idea that we might get one race in before the wind became too strong. The first race was actually only about 10-14 knots, mostly northerly, and shifty. Instead of the usual trapezoid race course we had sailed the previous two days, the race committee sent us on a windward-leeward course with three upwind legs and the finish at the top mark. I think the idea was to finish us closer to the port entrance, so when the wind came up we would have less distance to sail in. The wind did not pick up for the whole race however, so they sent us back down to the start line for the final scheduled race of the event. The full rigs got a few laps of their final race in before we started, and by that point the wind had come up significantly. We ended up doing three legs (windward-leeward-windward finish) in heavy breeze. At this point I was pretty tired from the whole event and I have to admit it was not my best heavy air performance. I managed 14, 21 for the day, and finished the regatta in 10th overall, 6th female.
Overall I am happy with how I sailed, and stoked to be racing in warm waters! Now we are in Miami, training for the Sailing World Cup Series which starts next week. Stay tuned for more updates coming this weekend.
P.S. For more pictures, you can head over the the LYC website: here.