"To start the Olympic Regatta, we raced on Course E today. Thats out in the ocean just south of the harbor entrance. The forecast was for a cold front from the south to arrive in the late morning and blow out of the southeast, going to the east by the end of the day.We got towed out to the starting line, about a 45-minute tow, and arrived at 11:00 a.m. for a noon start. We had no wind initially, but we could see it coming. The wind arrived at 11:15 and slowly built to 15 knots. We did some tuning up and got ready.
Race 1 This race was an outer loop course with the yellow "pumping" flag up (that meant we got to pump the sails and rock the boat as much as we wanted). The first start was a general recall, a good thing because we did not quite make the pin end and had to tack and duck.
Well, that put us back in the pack in 13th. We passed one boat on the remaining reach, then passed two more boats on the first run. At the leeward mark, we tacked right away and headed to the favored left, which put us in front of the Greeks and French and into eighth place. But we didnt catch anyone on the last run and that was our finish.
Race 2 We had a few postponements while the race committee tried to catch up with the left-shifting wind. The first start try was a general recall. On the second one, we got off in the middle of the line but not well enough to hold our lane. We had to tack out, but came back left and ate dirty air into the left corner. This was probably the best we could do, so we rounded the top mark in 14th. No fouls this time though. The reach was pretty tight, so most people did not set spinnakers. We held off our spin set until midway down the reach, then had a good set and passed Finland to leeward and Estonia and Italy to windward.
We went down the run and had to defend high and got passed by five boats that went low, but we stayed clear on the last part of the run and passed three back.
We tacked left again once we were going upwind and went past the lay line. This worked better and we passed three boats to move into 10th. On the last run, we worked past the Spanish and finished ninth. All in all a pretty poor day. We hope things change. The schedule calls for us to sail on the offshore course again tomorrow. Thats it for now.
Martha Mason's Olympic Commentary
This may be the Olympics, but you'd hardly know it from the amount of excitement outside the sailing venue. There are no food stalls, no T-shirt vendors, no one selling pins or hats, no parking lots, no obvious spectator boatsin fact, nothing to imply that this is one of the worlds most high-profile sailing events. Even out on the water, the kind of hype that TV viewers are seeing in the swimming and biking events just isn't present for the sailing. Yesterday, in perfect viewing conditions, there were only about 10 or 15 spectator boats watching the Solings, along with about 30 individual inflatables holding coaches and officials, and a small handful of police boats.
After the days racing, everyone converges on the CYC for an after-sailing libation and some race analysis, and the mood is very upbeat. Yesterday's main topic of discussion was the fault in the spinnaker material for the 49er class. The sails are brand new and were imprinted with the flag of each country. Unfortunately, something in that printing process is breaking down the resin material in the sail, and the races have been postponed until new spinnakers are either found or made.
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