AmericaOne Steinlager/Line 7Chronicles:
Daily Report - March 27, 2000-
Another day of light winds! The Steinlager Line 7 Cup for 2000 was won convincingly today by Bertrand Pace of France. In a rather anti-climactic final, reminiscent of the America's Cup final not long ago, Pace beat Cameron Appleton of New Zealand 3-0.
If the final was the America's Cup, the petit final between us and Dean Barker's team was the Louis Vuitton Cup ! In very shifty conditions that would normally see one team win by a great margin, we had three VERY close races.
Race 1 had us using our starboard entry to good effect, controlling Barker for most of the pre-start. Unfortunately he was able to wriggle out of strong hold just before the gun and we actually started even. Barker took a slim lead early on the beat, but in our usual fashion our speed loop was in tune and we were back into them at the top mark. A very close tack could have drawn a foul on him, but the umpires green-flagged our protest. We led by a narrow margin at the top. The run was very close but they were able to bring pressure down and lead at the bottom. Our tack out of the bottom mark forced their on-board umpire to duck - - this was close racing! A speed edge and some nice shifts again saw us take the lead up a hard-fought beat. The run was very dicey. We rounded about 20 seconds ahead in no wind at all. We had to make a call. We gybed and they went straight. We sailed in two different pressures and as we came together it was neck and neck again! Damn! Barker's bow was closer to the line and so we attacked, trying to roll them as time was running out. He defended well and we crossed the line a few seconds behind.
In the next race, the start was almost identical. Again the lead swung to and fro, but this time we weren't going to let it get close - it was way too stressful. We sailed really smart and once again our speed kept us in control. The race was close but we felt comfortable. As the wind died on the final run and the current was speeding up,m we were afraid we would get washed past the finish line. We milked every bit of speed out of the boat and crossed the line. It was fun (cruel I know, but hey...) looking back as Barker drifted away from the line. He struggled and struggled and just finished inside the "let's just give him a DNF" 5 minute time limit.
Now it was best of one. The pre-start was aggressive. As we sailed over a spectator boat clear astern of Barker, he bore away hard and claimed we were entitled to room. We were bitterly disappointed as our penalty flag was raised. This had to be regarded as a very technical call, one which chief umpire Russell Green said he would have green-flagged had he been umpiring. They had effectively decided third place themselves. But we weren't going to give up. Again the race was close, but as it went on we gradually stretched. At the final top mark we began a crucial discussion. Do we have enough room to do a gybe and stay in control? Should we wait until the finish? We decided we should do it now. As we prepared to gybe, a 15 degree lift changed our geometry completely "let's do it at the finish". Wouldn't you know it, on the final run Barker started bringing up breeze. We estimated he was 8 boat lengths behind, and we needed 5 or 6 to do a good penalty. We had room to do it. As we set up he kept getting pressure, closing the gap. A final shift on the line decided it, we finished our penalty but he sailed over the line a few seconds ahead of us. Needless to say we were fairly emotional. We had worked so hard to get the lead to win third place, but were robbed right at the end.
Awesome racing though. We had so many close races in the regatta. No one ever beat us by more than a length or two. We had won some by minutes. I speak for the team in saying that we learned more about close match racing in this regatta than we had in any other. We were encouraged by our speed and how well we sailed as a team. This all bodes well for our future !
AmericaOne Sailing Team
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