Erica Dawson
    Ellie Copeland

    All team news

    E+E Day 2 49erFX worlds Sept 2013 2

    We thought it was about time for an update, after having been a little slack over the past few days (haha oops)… yes it’s a bit long and detailed, so brace yourselves! I got a little carried away – I guess this is the way we debrief ourselves! Thanks for reading, we forgive those who don’t quite make it to the end ;P

    Day 3
    phew, this seems like a while ago now! So we were racing in the morning for the first time, and it was the first day that the sea breeze didn’t fill at all until much later – it was a really light day (again) overall.
    We got about 3/4 of the way through a race in which the wind progressively died out, and it ended up being abandoned just before the last downwind. A real shame for us since we were looking really good – probably around top 5 coming towards the top mark, but there was no way anyone was going to make it considering we had no breeze, and that the current was taking us away from the mark.
    Thankfully the breeze filled a little more after that drop, and we got three races in. Our first was a really good one, as we finished with a 2nd! Making sure we had clear air around the racecourse, and really keeping in the pressure was key in that race; and our speed helped too.
    Race 2 was a bit of a contrast unfortunately. We were looking pretty good at the first top mark, but we came in just in front of a massive bunch of boats – we got pretty tangled up with them trying to make it around the left gate mark, and ended up getting rolled by heaps of them which put us back a lot. In retrospect it would have worked better to head for a rounding away from all the boats when it looks like it could get that messy, so that’s something to remember for next time. From there we couldn’t seem to come back – we couldn’t get clear air and didn’t have many passing lanes around the track.
    Our last race was ok – can’t remember a lot, but know our start wasn’t great and we had to tack out. Our upwind wasn’t bad and we ended up looking ok, but probably could have sailed the downwind a little better. Unfortunately we had a few issues with the kite when hoisting for the 2nd downwind, which also lost us a few boats in a bunch we were close to – a shame, but those things happen.
    We were really gutted to miss out on gold fleet by only about 6 points, but onwards and upwards!


    Day 4:
    Definitely not an ideal day for us, considering our pole snapped in race 2.
    We finished the first race in 13th – a placing that probably didn’t represent the way we felt we competed, as we were really happy with our speed in a much nicer sea breeze (around 13 knts came in for us, yaay!) and we were racing nicely, gaining places around the track.
    The second race was actually going pretty well! We had a better start and a better upwind, managing to pick the shifts and breeze nicely which put us in the front bunch rounding the top mark. That’s when it all went wrong – I hoisted, pulled the sheet in came out on the wire to flatten the boat, then we both heard a loud crack/bang, and all of a sudden our pole was skying like in a 420/470 – not what you want to happen in an FX! It snapped pretty bad, with crazy splinters, so that was the end of our day 🙁
    We were totally gutted to lose 2 races after coming all the way over here for worlds, all due to gear failure (chartered gear too! what a bummer). A real shame, as getting a DNF and a DNC on the scoreboard took away any chance of us winning silver fleet to get bumped up to gold. The conditions were great and it would’ve been awesome to get the practice racing in that. At least we felt we were doing really well in that breeze, and our speed seemed good which was encouraging. Oh well, these things happen in sailing, and we were ready to treat the next day as a new start 🙂

    Today (day 5):
    We had totally different conditions today! The breeze build from offshore (NE?) and continued to go right to SE, giving us some really tricky shifty conditions and a lot more breeze! It really came in for the last race, and we were totally stoked with how we were going, especially considering we’re pretty small. We didn’t capsize at all today, which counted for a lot considering the majority of the fleet was upside down at one point or another, especially in that last race. It was an awesome day for us, finishing with some solid placings, and the knowledge that we can really compete with the best in that breeze! That was something we were not sure about before this regatta, so it’s great to know that we can do it (and in fact do it better than most of our fleet today too!)
    Our first race today was ok – we didn’t quite manage to get on the right side of the shifts and breeze on the first upwind, but we had an awesome downwind as we got on the favoured gybe early, and gained a few places around the track.
    Our second race was a really solid one. We picked the breeze a little better and managed to take advantage of the shifts from both sides – staying on the lifts and working our way across to the right hand breeze. Again our speed upwind and downwind seemed good, and we gained boats around the course to end up around 5th.
    As mentioned, we were totally stoked with our last race. We were absolutely overpowered – the controls were cranked and board was up, but needed to be in our ultra-heavy setting for sure! Our boat speed upwind was pretty average as we we were struggling just to keep the boat upright, but this didn’t prove to be much of an issue as we managed all three laps without a capsize when everyone else seemed to be upside down! We sailed the race sensibly, taking the safe options for mark roundings when we could – a great tactic in the end! It seems all our boat-handling training (pretty much all we could do – all alone back home haha) payed off too, because our boat handling didn’t let us down at all today… apart from in the starts, in which our down-speed handling needs work.
    All in all a really great day – super happy with how we managed in the breeze 🙂

    Sweet, that’s about it! Bring on the last day! We’re really not keen for this to end – despite a few ups and downs it’s been an awesome experience so far 🙂

    Ellie and Erica :)))))