Friday, July 5, 2013

SSA Spring Series Report - Bryan Richardson

Thanks to Ali, Ashley, Russel, Sterg, Erika, Bruce, Paul, and Ian for coming out this weekend.  Ali and Sterg, please thank your crews as well who I did not get their names.

The weekend was a tale of extremes.  Saturday was light but steady and great weather to get the cob webs out.  Wind started about 8 to 10 and dropped steadily to about 6.  Sterg and his partner and Russell & Ashley were battling it out all day, but Sterg persevered and edged them out. Paul Andron (new owner of Ashley Love and Evan Harrell's boat) also came out for his first sail with me and I will say did a fantastic job driving.  Even kept the kite full on his first spin gybe.  On the last leg of the last race, the wind shifted right 90 degrees leaving Paul and I on a wire reach straight to the leeward mark.  We went from almost a quarter mile behind everyone to miraculously edging out Sterg by mere inches at the finish line.  Further proof that the sun shines on a dogs ass some days.  

Back at the dock, the rain and storms started rolling in so we retreated inside to Blue Point oysters and cold beers for a de-brief in our beautiful new classroom (complete with whiteboards, little boat magnets, and an HDTV).  Between the beautiful new changing facilities, the expanded new deck, classroom, and upgraded Dark and Stormy's, our new facility will absolutely be an asset as we host regional regattas and pursue our bid for the Worlds.

Sunday was another story completely.  Wind graph for Annapolis Buoy is attached and as you will see, it was spicy, steady low 20s, gusting 30.  So spicy that the race committee has since informed me that they abandoned our races because of too much carnage (including a de-masting) among the Lightnings who were having a big regional regatta.  Ali and his partner, Erika and Bruce, Ashley and Russell, and Ian Conners and I headed out into full force awesomeness.  

The talents of Ashley and Russell were fully on display as the Love Muscle headed out with a Go Pro on his noggin to show us all what a big breeze downwind technique looks like.  Take notes on there movements in and out of the boat as they cross the wind.  Thanks Ashley for putting this together!      

Ian and I ended up staying out for almost 3 hours despite there being no racing just to see if we could break the sound barrier.  I will be the first to tell you that I have historically gotten skittish in the big stuff.  But under the insisting of Ali, Jesse, and Macy have been looking for a day just to get out there, fight it out, and get used to it.  I am hear to tell you there are right.  The only way to learn to sail steady and flat in the heavy shit is to pull your pants up, get out there and do it.  We had a total blast, and came back 100% more confident in our ability to persevere in heavy breeze.  It also proved important to get out there in the heavy stuff to see how your set-up and equipment holds up to the demands of bigger wind.  Overall, I think our set up held up well, but it was another reminder that getting your controls and lines solid makes your job easier, is less tiring, and is safer.    

We're off to a great start, SSA.  

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