Outteridge maintains his lead
|Three races (Races 5-7), were sailed on Day 2 of the CST Composites Moth Worlds, underway at Cascade Locks, Oregon. Similar conditions to Day 1 prevailed - flat water, a shifty breeze, cloudy with slightly lighter air. Racing was postponed a short time due to light wind and the first race got underway about 11:30am in 8-10 knots, which built to 12-15 by the end of Race 7.
Today saw the 47-strong International Moth fleet fully settle into competition mode, demonstrating outstanding skill at working through the shifty conditions, offering up plenty of lead changes, and exciting action at the top mark to entertain the large spectator fleet that turned out to watch shore-side.
Day 2 Top Ten Finishers: Nathan Outteridge (AUS) 12 points, Bora Gulari (USA) 14 points, Arnaud Psarofaghis (SUI) 21 points, Simon Payne (GBR) 22 points, Dalton Bergan (USA) 23 points, Rohan Veal (AUS) 30 points, Scott Babbage (AUS) 31 points, Kevin Hall (NZL) 57 points, Brad Funk (USA) 60 points, and Andrew McDougall (AUS) 62 points. (Note: 7 races sailed to date, with one discard)
Racing was again tight at the top of the fleet, with Outteridge and Gulari going at each other at every opportunity, clearly having a great time. Gulari is finding his advantage downwind and making every effort not to pull any mistakes on the run that may benefit Outteridge who is sailing very tactically. The Aussie blew away the spectator crowd watching from a point above the top mark on the last rounding on Race 6. Approaching the top mark, others around Outteridge tacked onto port as Outteridge went another 50 meters and got a massive left-hander. He was coming in very fast to the top and pulled off a perfect foiling tack, which put himself between the mark and Gulari, and in the lead. Impressive.
“I just committed to it, got around and was a length ahead of Bora going downwind,” said Outteridge.
Gulari then got a good puff and got away from Outteridge on the last part of the run and won the race. Said Outteridge, “He just jibed through the pressure and put 50 meters on me and I could never get him back because he just stayed between me and the finish after that.”
Consistently finding a clear lane off the start was Arnaud Psarofaghis’ weapon today, as he sailed three solid races for a third place in each, good going for the young Swiss sailor.
“I had some pretty nice starts clear of the other boats, which was good for the first upwind legs,” said Psarofaghis. “I passed on some really nice tacks and I jibed on the right shifts, and was happy to get three thirds today. If I missed some shifts and tried to come back, it was always hard to catch up.”
Tomorrow, Wednesay August 12, is a lay-day for the fleet. Racing resumes Thursday August 12 and will continue through Saturday 15th.
Notes from the boats:
Bora Gulari (USA)
My strategy is pretty easy. If I’m in touch with Nathan, I basically follow him around and wait until I can attack him downwind. We’re a pretty even pace upwind but he’s just so tactically savvy on the racecourse. I thought I’d pushed him past the layline once but we got headed going in and I looked over my shoulder and he went from 4th to first in just a 30 second period. It’s just amazing. As long as I can stay close and keep attacking, in the last regatta we sailed together it was the same thing. We’re always going back and forth. Today he even kept trying to throw jibes at me waiting for a mistake but I was just taking it easy.
Scott Babbage (AUS)
In the first race, I had a bad start as it took me about a minute and a half to foil. I picked my way through upwind and stayed in the right pressure and went the right way. I had a good lead at the top mark the first time and got Simon downwind then upwind. It was quite puffy so if you could tack into the pressure well, you could stay ahead. But I misjudged the finish and Simon got me by five seconds which I wasn’t too happy about. In the second race I went around the top mark in first place as well so I was happy with that. I was sitting on top of Nathan as he was tacking in my gusts the whole way up the track so I must have been going the right way! I rounded in front then just dropped back slowly. I think I started to get tired so my tacks started to fall apart.
Charlie McKee (USA)
If I get anything in the teens I’m totally happy. Today was a day when some of the mid-fleeters, if they had a good start could sort of stay with the front guys for a while but you’re seeing that the top ten is essentially the same every race. They’re just better in all conditions. It’s very impressive. It is pretty tactical because you don’t want to make too many tacks so the conflict is how many tacks do you make versus trying to sail on a good shift. In a normal boat you might make 3 or 4 more tacks than we make or the guys that are really good can make those couple of extra tacks and make it work, whereas most of us, if our tacks are a bit shaky, any extra tack could be twenty boat lengths and so it has to be a pretty big shift to make up for that. Downwind it’s pretty hard to know what’s going to happen. The hard thing is that the apparent wind is so far forward that you’re actually looking for the puffs on your beam instead of behind you. It’s a different way of thinking about downwind sailing, a lot more like catamaran sailing, ice-boating or any really high speed sailing.
The starts have generally been a little pin-end favored so if a guy really gets a great start at the pin sometimes he can tack and cross the fleet, or a couple of times a couple of people have been able to get across on port as well. Sometimes even if you don’t get across, you go behind a bunch of boats and you’re on port in clear air which isn’t a bad start either. Basically, about ten boats are able to get good starts on starboard, that’s about how much room there is, and everyone else fights for the rest (he laughs – a lot). Generally what we have is a start and then you’re sailing into lighter wind so it may be good for a minute or so, but pretty early on you’re looking to get onto port and get out into the river where the wind is a little more reliable.
Nathan Outteridge (AUS)
The first race was a shocker – it took me about a minute to cross the start line because I couldn’t get on the foils so I just watched everyone go and tried to be patient and sail back through the fleet. Lucky for me on the second beat I sailed every lift and everyone around me sailed every knock and I got back into 4th position. Bora’s sailing fast - he sails a different mode to me downwind, he sails higher and faster whereas I’ll sail lower and a bit slower. You have to work really hard just to get near him because I was back a bit up in the first race – at the top mark I was maybe 6th or so, and had to catch back up and put all that hard work in upwind just to lose it downwind. A bit frustrating but a second is a second and you have to be happy with that.
Andrew McDougall (AUS)
I’m in the top ten. I’m doing pretty well because I’m fast, probably because I’ve been doing it longer than anyone else and know how to make the boat go fast, that’s my job. The problem for me here is I do take some time to settle down, like it’ll take me 30 seconds to get sorted out because everything is changing all the time, having to tack through the wind changes etc. In a more settled environment I’ll just wind up and up, very fast because I’m not just thinking all the time where the next shift is or how I’m going to do the next tack or where the other guy is. The conditions aren’t difficult compared to where I sail in Australia, where I deal with big waves and wind, it’s just hard staying on it all the time. If I could nail every tack I could be in it …
Simon Payne (GBR)
I won the first race, which was good. I had enough energy for the first race then kind of died as the day went. I knackered my knee a bit yesterday and I’ve been really struggling to tack from port to starboard today which slowed me down a bit. I lacked a bit of confidence in the starts of the final two races as the breeze built so I could have done better but the first race was good. The standard is so high that everything is so close that it doesn’t take much before you lose or gain a place, which is why the racing is so great. I’m quite glad we have a lay day tomorrow.
You just have to be sure to pick up the shifts, the most dramatic ones on are either side of the river, and downwind as well, you really had to stay in the gusts, because downwind in these boats, is as important tactically as upwind, when you get to the windward mark it’s easy to be disheartened but when you put your back into it, you can get everything back and more downwind and that’s what I was having to rely on because I’m pretty light and when the breeze comes in I struggle a bit.
Dalton Bergan (USA)
Racing today was a little tighter for sure, the first start was challenging because it was so light and hard to get on the foils. Great racing. I was in the hunt but never pushed any good scores, but that’s ok, there’s still a lot of racing to go. The start lines are relatively small so that’s relatively challenging. I definitely had one really bad start and it’s amazing how far back you can get – one boat rolls you, then the next and it snowballs.