Sunday, 25 October 2009

Rolex Osprey St. Petersburg 2009 part 2

I did not have time to keep you up to date on a daily basis. There are however several diagrams and situations I've been working on, which will be published asap.

I've just finished packing to go home again and found a few minutes to write this post.

The Rolex Osprey is done. Four good days with wind and the complete program was sailed. Together with Tom Rinda and Glenn Oliver, I umpired the finals between Giulia Conti and Anna Tunnicliffe. Up until the finals Anna had a spotless record, winning all her matches.

Not so in the finals! The first race was very close the whole time, with Giulia pushing hard. After a second rule 17 battle, with Anna clear astern to leeward of Giulia, pointing above the pin-end finishing mark, the latter got an overlap and Anna had to gybe to stay on her proper course.
Both entered the zone moments later, with Giulia as inside boat.
By bearing away hard, just passed the pin-end, Giulia won the first race by inches! Anna had not expected this and was visibly disappointed. She and her crew sailed off, to shake the loss...
She did so magnificently by winning the second race convincingly.

The rest will have to wait.. My ride to the airport is imminent.

The flight has been delayed, which gives me a little time to finish this post. Where was I?
Ooh, yes, the score was 1-1. Best of five reduced to best of three. It still could go either way.

In the third start we had some light sparring but it got a little more serious when Anna was called OCS by the RC. She was over the line and had to turn back. Not because she was forced but because she just slightly misjudged the signal... After that she was forced to play 'catch up' and make good a six boat-length lead.
At the second windward mark she was almost there and right on the tail of Giulia. Very good sailing indeed. Unfortunately the spinnaker set was a mess. It "hourglassed" and it took her crew almost a minute to get it straight. That was, as they say, it. Race over and done with. One downwind leg was not enough to catch up again. Giulia finished 3 boat-lengths ahead.
That made the score 2-1

In the meantime some darker clouds were moving in slowly but steadily. It was beginning to look like we were going to have some rain in the 'sunshine state'. With those clouds came wind! it increased to 15 knots and suddenly boats were moving very fast in the pre-start.
Giulia got a penalty for not keeping clear while gybing, Anne relentlessly drove her into that mistake. Very fast and good match racing.
Then, the signal came and again Anna was called OCS!. She immediatly returned to go back but Giulia took the oppertunity and turned also, to get rid of her penalty. She gybed and luffed very quickly followed by a tack, coming out still ahead of Anna on port. That was fast thinking!

We were following closely and expressed our surprise when suddenly the race was abandoned! In the whole fast paced pre-start we missed a 45 degree windshift. Both boats were practically laying the windward mark.

It took some time to adjust the course, the wind moving over to the right, all the time. But we eventually went to race four. Guilia won the start by half a boat length and never looked back. She carefully defended the right side and took advantage of every wind lane and shift.
Although it looked like Anne also found some wind on the left, that did not materialise into any lead at the windward mark. She was a couple of boat-lengths behind.
Giulia won the match by four lengths!

I thoroughly enjoyed umpiring the races with both Glenn and Tom. We were almost always of the same opinion and when not, could resolve our issues quickly.

This has been a fantastic event. Very good sailing, nice atmosphere and fantastic hosts and club.
I feel privileged to have participated and hope to return. Thanks everybody!


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