The sailing at Dana Point, California was incredible. The wind was plentiful, the races intense, and the weather nice and warm.
The first day was qualification day, so sailors would compete to try and make it to the gold fleet. Once in the gold fleet, sailors would battle it out on the second day for the potential title of North American Champion. The first day was action-packed, plentiful winds with gusts of up to 20 knots. Sailing in the ocean was tough though. I was definitely not used to the currents, so I had to follow the pack most of the time, but I gained places on the downwinds. I finally figured out that the favored course was to start middle, sail on starboard for a bit to skip past a patch of heavy current, then tack across until you reached the ley-line and tacked back to the mark. You usually had to tack again as the current pushed you downwind, but following this course landed me a place in the gold fleet with a 9th overall out of the 16 that qualified.
The second day was less eventful, very minimal wind, so the strategy was key, and the favored course was pretty much the same. The wind died off completely at the end of the day, so much that the last race was called off because there was more current than wind. I placed 10th overall on the second day. The sailing at Dana Point was amazing, I would definitely do it next year if I could, and hope I can take the title too!
I was so excited when we were almost at the marina, I really wanted to go sailing. We were only going to the practice (which I thought was great). Once we got to the dock I started rigging my boat. After a quick chalk talk, we went out to sail. After we went down the long channel we headed upwind to the green buoy. It was nice to get a feel for the waves. We ran some races at the end of the channel and then went back up it. I was in the lead for most of the time and was even beating a Tera pro rig sailor. After it was time to go in, we went to our hotel room to wind down.
On Saturday, it was the qualifying day, we had a skippers meeting and then got towed out. My first start was really good and I ended up winning that race. The same thing happened in the second race, I had a great start and pulled away. The wind started to pick up at the end, I got second in the third race which put me at the top of the leader board.
The second day was a drag, there was almost no wind and a lot of current!! I managed to get 8th despite all of the bad wind. There was good wind for a few of the races. I was happy with my result. I improved from last year and had a lot of fun. I think the trip was worth it.
The first day of the RS Tera North American was a qualifying series that would determine who would be in the gold fleet and who would be in the silver fleet. After rigging, checking in, and attending the skippers meeting we launched. After sailing through the channel, I sailed into the open ocean for the first time ever and checked out the course since racing was not starting for another 45 minutes; at Dana Point, the wind fills in around noon. As the wind picked up, so I was sitting on the rail of my boat and I was able to hike during the gusts. At the first race I got in 7th place. I was surprised because I had never sailed the ocean and I really did not have high expectations. The next race I had a really good start but I made the mistake of staying on the port side of the course where it had a lot of currents. I was able to get closer to the center of the fleet with two good downwinds and managed to finish in tenth place. The next race was three laps around a far windward mark and two gate roundings then finish. In this race, I still had not figured out that the port side of the course had more current and chose the port side of the course to the first windward mark again. I soon realized that the boats that had chosen the starboard side of the course rounded the windward mark before anyone on the port side of the course did. After this, I did not make this mistake again and was able to pick up three places and finish in ninth. At the end of the qualifying series I tied in 15th place, but with the tiebreaker, I was in16th. I was happy because I still made into the gold fleet, which was my goal.
Day 2 championship series: After I got into the open ocean the wind at the starting time was 7 knots. I was beginning to think that there would be very little wind. At the first start, the wind was still light and there was a little more current than the day before. At the windward mark, there was a very strong current and I kept missing the lay line and I ended up hitting the windward mark. I ended up getting 13th in that race. In the second race, I faced the same challenges and finished in 13th again. The third race was very long as it had 2 laps around a course and the wind was terrible. That race took one hour, but it felt more like three hours because the wind was light and it was hot. I ended up this race in 12th. Then we started our last race and it was my worst start because of light winds and current sending me backward. But thankfully, two minutes into the start, the race committee called off the race and sent everyone in. The wind was dead. All in all, I ended up getting 12th place overall which I think was a great result for me because it was my first time sailing in the ocean and in a big regatta.
The wind was great on day one. The second day the wind started out decent, then it started declining until there was practically no wind. I must say that it feels strange sailing on the ocean, with all the waves tossing the boats around, and big currents drastically changing the outcome of the races. The starts were crazy and exciting, with boats going every which way. I had pretty good starts on the first day but on the second day they were a bit miscalibrated. I would have preferred a bit more wind on the second day because that contributed to my bad starts. I think I had solid tactics throughout both days of the event. In conclusion, I am happy with how I did, placing 3rd overall out of the 44 boats that attended the event.