Redline Racing has just completed our third of five regattas for the second tour this year through Poland and USA. Our first event was the World Mtch racing Tour, Energa Sopot Match Cup held in the Baltic Sea in northen Poland. This event had the toughest field to date with 7 of the 8 tour card holders plus formidiable wildcards including 2002 world champion and past Amercias Cup skipper Karol Jablonski. Being a world tour event we were treated like royalty with a 5 star hotel provided by the organisers and high class post racing functions amoungst the event sponsors. This event though was cut throat with one round robin leading into quarters, semis and finals.
Having never sailed the boats before and our training session cut short after 20 minutes due to no wind we were put on the back foot going out on day 1. Our first race of interest was against Johnie Berntsson’s team, to escape from the dial up before the start we attempted a “steel balls” manouver where we attempted to dip his stern, unfortunatly our judgement was slightly out and our two boats collided causing damage to the fiberglass on both boats. Redline was penalised with a half point penalty which came back to bite us later in the regatta.
Moving further into the round robin we had nail bitting finishes with both bows crossing the finish line within a foot of one another, these races are decided by the final decisions where every move by every person on each boat counts, if any one person makes an error the race is lost. We found ourself doing well in these tight finishes and just got 2 important wins. We put ourselves in a reasonable position going into the third day where we needed to win 2 of our final 3 races to make the cut for the semi finals. Unfortunatly the team was just out sailed in the first two races against top teams and going into the last race we couldn’t qualify for the quarter finals. Our last race was against the Swiss team skippered by Eric Monnin who we managed to beat after sailing the shifts on the second beat to put ourselves in 8th place for the regatta with 5 wins and 6 losses but 4.5 points. Although we just missed the cut for the quarter finals we were happy to be an influence on the results and only missed out by half a point from the damage against Johnie Berntsson.
Our next regatta on the trot was the Knickerbocker Cup held in Manhasset Bay with the regatta having a long history over the past 32 years. This year was the first year that the SM40s were not used and the Sonar boats were used. These are small light boats originally designed for 3 people, hence we found the boats a little cramped. As the locals at Long Island said the wind is very unstable in August with the potential for back to back days of no wind, hence the race committee were very keen to get racing under way with any breath of wind.
The reagtta was sailed with a double round robin then quarters semis and finals, We finished our round robin on 10 wins and 4 losses placing us in equal second and third on count back, this put us up against the top US team Skippered by David Storrs with 2013 world champion Taylor Canfield to call tactics and Current world no1. Bowman Ricky bobby to crew. We sailed well in race one to lead comfortably until 50 meters before the bottom gate we noticed one of the gate marks was being pulled from the water, we incorrectly rounded the remaining gate as a gate mark rather than as a sperate bouy, resulting in our disqualification much to our disappointement giving the race to Storrs. The following race was saw us infront again as we won the start but up the second beat we fell into a hole of no wind and Strors sailed around us. The final race was equal off the line until we couldn’t quite hold our lane to windward, missed forcing us to the wrong side which inturn put us behind and the experience on board helped the team stay infront to the finish. We were very disappointed to ose the quarter finals but it was fair and our opposition out sailed us.
This gave us a few days to recover from a little bit of sickness the team was experiencing and gave us a chance to check out New York City.
Our third regatta was the Oakcliff international and once again the competition was feirce with previous legends sailing amoungest current talent. The competition format was once again a double round robin with quarters, semis and finals. With wind failing to come in before 1300 each day the second round robin was cut short to only 4 races. We were surprised to end up winning the split round robin with a race to spare, giving us a slight advantage going into the final series because if we couldn’t race due to lack of wind then we would win on default and if we raced then we could choose who to race in the semi finals. Through some contraversial discussion it was decided that we couldn’t pick who to race in the quarters and had to race the 8th place boat, this happened to be David Storrs again and even though he didn’t have any world champions on board this time he still put together a very strong team. The racing was held in extremely shifty conditions under a head land with a developing seabreeze. We defended the right when in doubt to win the quarters 3-1, a good comeback from the week prior.
Next up we came aginst local legend Chris Poole and his team Riptide Racing who have a lot of expereince in the SM40s. Coming to the end of a long day the race committee shorterned the series making it first to two points rather than three points. Redline won the first start and sailed away to win convincingly in race one, giving us one point. The second race saw Riptide Racing come out very aggressively to try and take down Redline. The first incident went against Riptide putting them a penalty down but this only further fueled the aggression as they kept attacking us and they successfully put a penalty on us resulting in both penalties cancelling. Riptide kept attacking but the next two penalties went against Riptide, leaving him behind and carrying a penalty into the race. We started infront and made a few boat handelling unforced errors putting Riptide back in the race, on the second beat we split gates and they came back in front but they still had the penality and decided to try and spin before the finish line. We positioned ourselves to be on startboard as they finished the penalty on port, just as they finished the penalty we put another penalty on them for port vs starboard giving us the race and the semi final win.
Our final was aginst tour card holder and world no.3 Eric Monnin from Switzerland> The finals day had no wind forcast and in the event that we didn’t sail would default in us winning the regatta but of course we wanted to win in a final showdown rather than by default. The first two races were a carbon copy, the winning stragery was simply win the left and defend the left, both teams knew this and fought hard for the pin end start. We led back early and managed to burn the time to start at the pin, giving us a massive advantage to go left, this paid for us and we won the race. The second race was not to be, we again lead and tried to burn time to the pin but couldn’t quite burn the time hence we lost the left side of the course and lost the race.
With time ticking by we had time for one last race to decide the winner. The race started with both boats over the start line and needed to return. We both returned except Monnin put pressure on us forcing us to take a longer manouver to return to the line resulting in Redline behind by a significant margin. We kept pushing as the win was very unstable. By not jibing at the top mark we halved our lead and on the final upwind we got a big right shift while sailing on the same line and Monnin and managed to use our starboard advantage to control the top mark rounding and zip downwind to the finish. The shift was fortunate but nevertheless gave us the win! The team is stoked to have won our third grade 2 for 2015! This will help our world ranking and is a great comeback from Knickbocker. We look forward to Chicago for our next event.