by Paul Cayard
The fleet racing portion of the Maktoum Trophy started today with four very competitive races in great sailing conditions. The wind strength was between 20 and 12 knots from the south all day. It was shifty with the wind coming off the land so that made things tricky and it did get a bit softer toward the end of the day but the boats were powered up and planing downwind all day.
There was so much dust and sand flying in the air that you could not see more than a mile. We were only 2 miles offshore and we could not see land in the first two races.
Team Aqua had a "blinder" as the Kiwis would say. They sailed very well in three of the races and got really lucky in the last one to come out with a 2,1,2,1. On Katusha we had an ok day with a 5,5,2,8 and we are in 5th. The fleet stays very close together in these conditions and small mistakes can cost 3-4 boats. We were over the start line early in the first race and battled back to 5th. Even in the race we were second, we were back in the pack at the first mark. So, there is plenty of mixing and you just have to hang tough all the way to the end.
There is no "coastal" race here this time, so just more of the windward leeward racing tomorrow.
The forecast for tomorrow and Saturday is for more of the southerly winds, even going southeasterly, and a bit stronger. Four races in this breeze is a good work out for everyone.