Good day for the Brits

Good day for the Brits

Sunday March 7 2010 Author: Tim Penfold Location: United Arab Emirates

I decided yesterday was the day to break out my new secret weapon Hyde Sail. Well actually Adam May had told me to get it out in the sun because when he measured it he found it was 0.008 square metres too big. Apparently the film that is used in these sails shrinks with use, I guess it's something like putting crisp packets in the oven when you were a kid to make mini ones. Anyway the resultant faffing with outhaul and kicker lengths to get the sail to fit my boat nicely meant that I missed the first race. Not really an issue as it was the lightest one of the day, most people barely being able to foil at all round the course.

I got out in time for the second and we had a general recall, which was handy to give me a bit of starting practise. Then the blag flag came out and we had a more orderly start.

My start was OK but I quickly found that my low-rider technique was sub standard and I started losing height rapidly from the boats around. When it's like this you have to make a decision whether you are going to sit it out and low ride until the breeze fills in, or try and find a few puffs to get you up and going. I spotted that Simon and Mike who were to windward of me had tacked and found some breeze to foil in, so I followed them and after a couple of minutes also got up and going on port. I foiled all the way out to the port layline, and was just clear of the rest of the fleet with Mike and Simon way out in front. If I had some magic way of tacking and getting back up in 4 knots I would have easily been 3rd to the mark, but I didn't, so ended up rounding about 10th, still not bad for my first beat. I ended up finishing 16th in that race and 17th in the next one. Given the amount of things that I did wrong during those 2 races I am pretty happy with that and I should be able to improve next week.

So the top brits had a good day with Mike Lennon winning the first race, Simon winning the second and Adam leading the third race, but unfortunately losing the lead downwind to finish 3rd.

My boat is working well and the new sail seems nice and powerful in the light stuff and very controllable with the kicker and cunningham, very different from the KA sail. I'm definately going to use it for the rest of the championship (as long as it has shrunk enough now to measure!). The fleet is now resigned to the fact that this is going to be a light wind event and this prompted a big debate about illegal pumping to get foiling. I think we're going to hear more on that as the event gets underway.

Today is a slalom race with prize money for 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Should be fun, might be a bit of carnage. Tomorrow is the first race of the World Championships for real.

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