With 4 races in the book, a number of protests fought with juries, and another delayed start to 1400, one might think the teams would be a little tired and less aggressive at the start…NOT!
The first start, as has become habit, was pushed by everyone without penalty. We had a great start, only to be buried on both sides as the boats surged over the line for the first recalled start. The black flag was posted for the restart, which was recalled with 6 boats caught over the line and disqualified, including regatta leader Tim Healy.
The 2nd restart (under black flag) saw another 12 boats over early, including our friend Scott Milne. With 18 boats BFD’d and sitting around watching the 3rd restart, only 39 boats remained. The gun went off and somehow we found ourselves buried but finally racing in 10kts of southeasterly breeze. Finding a clear lane proved tough, but we managed to sail a clean race.
The first start served as yet another practice start. The restart again brought out the black flag, and with the breeze building and 20% of the fleet having sat out the first race, boats lined up well below the start line. With a decent hole on the line, and Peggy calling the line with precision, we had weigh-on and were off to our best start of the week!
We had Keith Whittemore punched a few boats above us and Tim Healy with his nose out a few boats below us and nothing but clear air ahead! We worked our way up on starboard tack forcing Whittemore to tack away. A third of the way up the leg, Tim Healy crossed us on port and we followed, seeming to have good pace, and crossing all of the boats coming back on starboard.
By the time we got up toward the weather mark, we found ourselves near the port tack layline, potentially rounding 7th with only a couple of starboard tack boats that would cross ahead of us. That all changed when a boat (who helmsman shall remain unnamed) came in on port layline at the pin, forced the boat inside us to tack, creating a domino effect with the boats outside of us being forced to go to port head to wind with a whole parade of port and starboard tack boats charging into the mark. We were bounced around like a ping pong ball, with no wind to fill our sails, we patiently waited as 20+ boats sailed past us before we could fill our sails and continue racing. Amazingly there were few, if any, protest flags flying as the boats all continued racing.
The wind built throughout the race, and by the time we rounded the 2nd leeward mark, many in the field changed down to the jib (smaller headsail). We probably had 20-22 knots during the final run and beat to the finish line, along with big waves.
The boat that originally rounded 3rd and created the chaos at the windward, flew a yellow flag, taking their 20% penalty after ending up 4th across the line.
With 6 races sailed, all boats get to toss out their worst score, which for us like many others, was a BFD/59.
Provisional Race Results: http://www.j24worlds2011.org.ar/Popup.aspx?Id=1290
Race Day 4 is scheduled for the planned 1100 first warning (and rumor is for 3 races!)