Saturday, 28 August 2010

Baltic Match Tour - Sweden: Frustration for WAKA Racing

by Garth Ellingham

It has been a tough couple of days onboard our boat. We have now been knocked out of the tough formated, first event of the Baltic Match Tour, missing out on the semi-finals.

The event started yesterday with an extremely frustrating day in light, very shifty conditions. Our first opponent was no slouch, top ranked skipper Bjorn Hansen (ISAF 7th) and this pretty much set the tone for us for the day. Our start was not good but we came back strong to be right behind and enforce a penalty on him on the final run to the finish. We were in a very strong position and as we were approaching the finish we had managed to gain mark room on the finish mark so the race was pretty much ours.

However, Bjorn never gave up and illegally forced us to the other side of the finish bouy so we couldn’t finish. The umpires penalised him for doing so, which meant he now had two penalties owing. By doing so he had pushed us into a really bad position and was able to complete one of his penalty turns and then line us up on starboard to wipe his remaining turn.

In this situation normally Bjorn would have been penalised twice for pushing us outside the mark as it disadvantaged us so much and therefore would have been black flagged from the race. However in the heat of the moment the umpires were gun shy on getting out the black flag, handing the race to Bjorn. We were furious as we were completely robbed and on reflection the umpires apoligised for not disqualifying him from the race. After this we talked about not letting the race affect us and hoped it would not come back to haunt us.

However the frustration continued not only with umpires but wind also. Next race against Mike Perris. He ran into the back of us in some close quarter action and the umpires completely missed the incident.

In two other races we were right behind or ahead with penalties on our opponent on the final run and wind that was not visible on the water hit our opponent but not us allowing them to extend enough to complete their penalty and finish in front of us.

By the end of the day we were pretty much pulling our hair out as we were sailing really well for 85% of the race and then using the remaining 15% to give away all we had worked for. At the end the day we sat down and could honestly say we were the ones that should have won all 8 of our races but through our own fault and others had lead us to a 3/5 win-loss ratio.

Coming into day two our previous days performance had pretty much certified that we had no chance of making the top 4 after the single round robin was completed. This meant that today we were racing for pride and to try and move forward from this rut in form that the team seems to be in. Full credit to the boys, as we came out firing for our final two races to demolish both Eugeny Neugodnikov and fierce rival/great mate Keith Swinton.

Onboard today everything clicked for the first time in a long time and the confidence definitely jumped up a level. So luckily for us we have our next event starting on Monday in Tallin, where we are 100% focussed on redemption!

Watch this space...

The Waka boys.

Waka Racing would like to thank our main sponsor Tax Management NZ and all the support we receive from the RNZYS, Frontend, Zhik , Wells and Co, PredictWind and Devine Consultants.

WAKA Racing
Baltic Match Tour