Redline Racing has just finished up its second tour of the year over in the US. Since our last update the team has been in Chicago and Detroit catching overnight buses cross country to compete in the final two events of the Grand Slam Series as well as an M32 Catamaran training camp. It has been an intense two weeks sailing where we have been on the water for long hours for 11 days straight!
After our win at the Oakcliff International the team had a day or two to rest up before we caught an overnight bus to Chicago for the next event, the Chicago Grade Two Grand Slam. The bus ride was a bit of an adventure taking 15 hours but we got to Chicago in one piece, settled into the apartment with our hosts and quickly realised they had
Netflix. This meant that Netflix combined with the tetris style arranged living room covered entirely with air mattress became a haven for after racing R&R. The wind in Chicago was 5
-12 knots for the most of it and was sailed in Tomm 28 Max yachts which are hard not to like. They’re manouverable, quick and ergonomic boats which most teams seemed to enjoy. We finished the round robin off on 7 wins and 4 losses with a few silly mistakes costing us a couple of races leaving us in 4th going into the quarter finals. This left the team without a pick of opponent and leaving us
to race training parteners Neptune Racing in a first to 3 point quarter final. We knew from the outset it would be a brutal affair and after 3 tight races we finished the day ahead 2-1 going into the last
day. The next day though the Neptune Racing boys came out swiniging and even though in race 4 we rounded mark 1 ahead they forced an incident at the bottom mark which the umpries judged us to be in the wrong and left us behind and unable to catchup. The decider was within 1-2 boat lengths the whole way around but we just could not break through the defence of our opponents and they took the series 2-3 and knocked us out. We were incredibly dissapointed as we had felt
like we had sailed a strong series and had been fast all week but we just could not finish them
off, credit to the Neptune boys.
The next morning we caught the bus to Detroit where we would sail our last regatta of the Grand Slam where the four teams could still win the series if they won the event. The event is sailed out of the Bayview Yacht Club in the Detroit River, which has a strong current that runs from Lake St Clair down to Lake Erre making for some very close tactical racing as boats fight to get in or out of the current. The boats were small, three man, A-Symetrical style boats which were super light and could turn on a dyme. With the current though it was all about getting to the current relief upwind along the exclusion zone along the shore and then jumping out into the current at the right time to get
around the mark and shoot off downwind. If you didn’t win the left hand side off the start it was very hard to win the race. We started the regatta slowly finishing the first round robin on 4 wins and 5 losses and with only a top four go through to semi finals we were in serious danger of not making the cut. The team though came out stong in the second round robin and won 5 races straight including a decider against Chris Poole for who was to make it into the semi finals. We managed to dominate the race getting to the left first and scraping into the semi finals! The last day brought a different wind direction where we were now flying upwind with the current and struggling
downwind against it making it incredibly hard to defend a lead downwind. Neptune Racing won the round robin and elected to pick local hero Nate Hollabach leaving us to race other Grand Slam
contenter and world number 7 Chris Steele! The result meant a lot for us not just in terms of the
Grand Slam series but if we were to lose the semi Chris had a chance to over take us on the Wo
rld Tour Standings. In an epic five setter we came from 1-2 down to win 3-2.
In an incredibly mentally and phycaically draining seires. This left us to face Neptune Racing in a sudden death final. The winner would not only win the regatta but also the Grand Slam. After a tight tustle in the start we came away with a small advanatge and held it to the top mark but had Sam and his team only 2 metres behind us. They managed to sail the boat fast and got a little puff of
wind that we did not and postioned themselves to block our turn and held us until they needed to turn and overtook us leaving us to follow him around the bottom mark now behind and trying to catch up. Sam and his team sailed fast and were able to extend away enough on the leg to be
just too far away for us to get him on the last leg and they eventually won by around 10 metres. A great race all the way around and well done to the Neptune boys for taking it out. This left us second in the Grand Slam and the regatta, a performance we are proud of but one we know with a little more experience could have been one step better.