Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Nicky Souter (AUS) in the match racing in Palma. Image copyright Jesus Renedo/Princesa Sofia/MAPFRE.
by Anna Tunnicliffe
It was a succesful day of racing for us as we wrapped up the first round of racing with a 7-0 record at 42 Trofeo S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre. This means that we qualified for the gold fleet. Tomorrow we will sail a seeding round for the quarterfinals. The gold fleet is initially made up of the top two teams from groups A, B, and C and then included will be the top two teams from the repecharge fleet. Racing starts tomorrow around mid-day.
We left the harbor today around 1pm to watch the last couple of races of group B, the group that started first today. They were delayed by about an hour and a half due to the lack of wind, which meant that we had quite a relaxing morning. We watched the racing and studied the course so that we would know what was going on for when we jumped in the boats. We watched Sally, our USSTAG teammates, and Alana (FIN) go undefeated in their rounds and also advance to the gold fleet. As the last races in group B crossed the finish line, the wind was dying quite quickly and looked as if it was going to fill in from the sea breeze direction.
As we rotated, the sea breeze line was out on the horizon and the race committee made a good decision to wait for it to come in and settle before we started racing again. When the breeze did come, it came in quite nicely and filled to around 12-13kts accompanied by a "lovely" chop (not).
Our first race was against France's Anne-Claire Le Berre. We had a fantastic race with them which came down to the last downwind leg. They led us around the course for three legs, but on the last leg, we were able to roll over their breeze and take the lead just as we got down to the finish line. As both boats gybed for the pin end of the line at the finish, it was a race as to who had the better speed going into and coming out of the gybe and we came out ahead, crossing the line about two feet ahead of them.
Our second race too was quite close for the first lap. We started to the left of Lotte Meldgaard (DEN), but were able to work up to their line and pinch them off, forcing them to tack away. We led them down the first downwind leg but they caught up a lot and at the bottom of the leg, we had to pin them out past layline to make sure we rounded the mark ahead. Up the second beat, Molly and Debbie called great tactics and we managed to extend our lead and win the race by a few boat lengths.
The last race of the day was against GBR's Lucy Macgregor. Off the start line, we were behind by about three-quarters of a boat length. We played a great beat to be right behind them at the top mark, and hung with them downwind. At the bottom mark, they had a bad spinnaker drop and we surfed a wave to have a fast rounding and managed to tack away before they could get sorted out. At our next encounter, we were bow to bow with them with us controlling the right side of the race course. We stayed like this all the way up the beat and at the top mark, managed to luff them to a stop before bearing away. We had a great set and extended on the downwind leg and we held on to a two length lead into the finish.
Having a couple of really close races today got the adrenaline flowing and now we are looking forward to racing the gold fleet tomorrow. We start again around mid-day as the repecharge group starts the day with three races before we head out. I think the forecast is similar tomorrow as it was today which will provide for great match racing conditions. You can follow along on the regatta website.
There is a very short interview, recorded this morning before sailing, with Anna at this link On The Water With Anna Tunnicliffe 1:25 (scroll down to and click on #3 on the righthand side of the page)
We would like to thank our gold level sponsor 11th Hour Racing, and our bronze level sponsors Carmeuse, Trinity Yachts, and Chicago Match Race Center for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympic Games. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their continued support. Also, thank you to our private donors. Please remember that any and all donations/contributions to our campaign should be made payable directly to either The Sailing Foundation of New York (tax deductible) memo'd Anna Tunnicliffe, or to Anna Tunnicliffe.
Trofeo Princesa Sofia MAPFRE