September 2014 Report

I’ve just finished my third event in the past six weeks, so a good time for a little update. First up for me in early August was Cowes Week, one of the biggest sailing events in the world, with 36 classes, and close to 1000 boats. Based out of Cowes, on the Isle of Wight, just off the Southern coast of England, the event is sailed in the body of water between the two called the Solent. Huge currents, lots of tricky shoals to navigate, and complex winds, makes this one of the greatest places to race in the world. Except for the weather! It can often be miserably cold and wet, and I am always amazed why so many Brits took up the outdoor sport of sailing. Anyway, we actually had relatively mild conditions for the 10 days we were there, so the racing was really enjoyable. We had added a heavier bulb to our keel since the Caribbean to try to improve our upwind performance, and this event served as our first test. We had some great racing against a diverse group of boats in the IRC 0 class, and the mods to the boat proved good, as we took the lead on the opening day, and held it through to the end to win our class. Some really challenging racing, in the same waters where the Americas Cup all got started. Great stuff.

Next up for me was the Newport Bucket in Rhode Island in mid August onboard P2, the Briand 125 that I’ve been racing with for the past 5 years. This was our first event in a year, and followed a major refit in the yard in Italy, so several new systems to be tested. It also served as a warm-up event for us before the big racing season starts next year in January. We had several days of good training before the regatta, and so went into it feeling pretty good. We had a great regatta, the team all sailed really well, and the boat with its new systems performed perfectly. Three races, three firsts, so mission complete!

Next up was the Rolex Maxi Worlds in Sardinia Italy on the RP 82 Highland Fling. It was also our first event on this boat in a year, and followed several upgrades and modifications to the boat. Porto Cervo and the surrounding coast and islands where we race is one of my favorite places in the world to sail. The courses take us around a multitude of rocks and islands, all with spectacular rock formations, with challenging wind changes at each turn, making sail choices really difficult. It was a small fleet this year, so we mostly challenged ourselves to sail as well as we could, and judged ourselves accordingly. In the end we sailed really well to win the event, and also enjoyed a great week of racing on a really fast boat.

So three events, three wins, makes for a pretty nice couple weeks of racing. Now for a two week recharge at home, and then off to France for two events- the Regatta Royale in Cannes, and the Voile de St. Tropez, where I will be sailing the restored 1930 Fife 6meter NADA. After flying around in carbon fiber boats all year, it’s a refreashing change to step into a classic wooden boat and sail in these two events. Really looking forward to it, and maybe a little of the rose wine that they are famous for!!

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