Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Bermuda Race Week- High School J/24 Team

one-design sailboat- sailing on Bermuda Great Sound* Lance Fraser - Bermuda J/24 sailor, aspiring 16 year old racer still in high school, wrote an entertaining blog during Bermuda Race Week (note to Ken Read- he wants to race on PUMA!):

"We went into the week with a goal of top 3, but after the first day, we realized we could win the J/24 fleet.  Everything had fallen into place leading up to Race Week and we couldn’t wait to start sailing Sunday morning.

Thanks to RBYC, RHADC and BJCA our entry fee was covered as we are a group of students, all 16 years of age. Trevor Boyce (New Wave) lent us some sails and Jorge Chiapparro helped us get spoRHADiC race- ready.

Day one started with a bang. Erin (Tim Lynch) had an amazing first upwind leg and took a huge lead around the first mark. We passed them on the next upwind leg and continued to duke it out right until the finish with only a couple of feet between us, with Erin coming out on top. It was a tough loss for us.

The second race was also very close as we finished in second just ahead of Erin. We ended the day tied for 1st place with 4 points.

Monday was tougher and we ended the day with a 2nd, 3rd, and a 7th leaving us in second place. In the last race we had our only horrible start and could not recover. This is evidence of the top-rate competition we faced throughout the week; one mistake and you’re out of it. Our crew work and chemistry was great - when we were doing well; but when we got 7th there were a lot of unhappy people onboard, including myself.  It was a long sail back to the club.

One tends to forget about Trevor Boyce, Bermuda’s top J/24 sailor, when he’s not dominant. When I was asked how Trevor did on the second day, I responded, “not that good. He didn’t have a good day, again.’ Well, looking at the results, he got a 1st, 3rd, and 4th. I would happily have traded my results with his that day! And day three he returned with 3 bullets! He was unbeatable and I have to give him and his crew credit for working very hard and going incredibly fast in the heavier wind. We just couldn’t keep up. A 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, were good enough to keep us in the hunt going into the lay day.

On Wednesday we had to go to school and there were a lot of people rubbing it in our faces Tuesday night at the party.

Thursday we came back rested and ready to go. The first race we took 2nd to Trevor, which was not quite what we wanted. We were also protested by the Canadian boat. Thanks to the advice received from seasoned Bermudians in other fleets and the fact that we were right, we came out of the protest victorious and kept the 2nd. The second race of the day was the biggest eye sore of our entire week. We went around the first leeward mark in first, and the next mark in last! I had tried to cover the entire fleet and of course, it didn’t work. I got caught in the middle and watched everyone sail by me. I was not at all happy with myself when we finished in 7th and I had only myself to blame. We rebounded in the next race with a convincing bullet, our first of race week, which provided a big boost for us mentally. We had led four of the first five races at one point or another and until now had not yet finished first.

That put us tied for second, 3 points out of first. With Trevor 3 points ahead of us, and the wind blowing about 15 knots, it was not easy to come back. Unfortunately, Tim Lynch (Erin) was unable to skipper the final day and was replaced by Rickki Hornet. I knew I had to put a boat between us and Trevor in both of the last two races to win the regatta. In the first race I had Trevor beaten, but there was no other boat between us. I also couldn’t let Erin pass us.  I gambled and let Trevor go to the right, and myself to the ‘Lucky Left.’  Not so lucky this time.  Trevor passed us and we settled for a third in the race and second in the regatta.

Going into the final race, we had 1 point on Erin, and New Wave had deservedly won the regatta. We had a little fun on the downwind with Erin, securing 2nd place in the regatta, a finish with which we were extremely pleased.

There are so many people to thank for putting this regatta together. Jay Hooper and his team ran a fabulous regatta on the water. Of all the race committee’s I’ve seen locally and internationally, Jay runs the best; Race Week was no different.

In addition to those already mentioned, I wish to thank our coach Luis Chiapparro, who sadly is no longer on the island, for teaching us how to sail and race. He was the biggest and best role model for me, and there’s no way I would be where I am today without him.  Also, full credit is due my crew, James Anfossi, Jason and Jordan Saints and Catalina Sposato.

Whoever picked up our spinnaker pole out of the water in the last race, THANK YOU, too!"  Read more about Bermuda Race Week events.