The Hutch Files: Early Days Yet

It's hard enough to be consistent in any TP52 event. Key West can be all that much harder.

Key West Race Week
A duck, a tack, a windshift, an inch or a centimeter. It all ads up in the TP52 fleet.Paul Todd/Outside Images

The sailing we had today is why I keep coming back to Key West as the conditions were absolutely perfect. Two days down in Key West and the only trend emerging on the TP52 course is that you have to fight, scrap, and claw for every point, not a surprise.  The racing is intense and the subtlety of the racecourse makes if incredibly difficult to find consistency. The guys on Platoon came out on fire yesterday and scored two wins. Today they were more human with a 6,6 while Gladiator won Race 3 and Quantum Racing won race 4.  Platoon is winning, 1-point over Quantum Racing and yet at this point it means nothing.  The top 5 are only separated by 5 points.

From my perspective, it doesn’t feel as if we have found our mojo just yet.  We are starting safe (except for the OCS in Race 2), but even that mid-line starting strategy has us rounding the first top marks at best in fourth.  Right now our downwind speed is what is setting us apart and in some ways keeping Quantum Racing in the hunt. Lorenzo Mazza has Doug (DeVos) sailing fast angles. Our high-angle sets, while riskier, keep us in the passing lane. This, coupled with a re-design on our A2, has earned Quantum Racing some quality downwind legs.

In the afterguard, I don’t feel as if I’m firing on all cylinders.  We are working on a new afterguard with myself, Bora Gulari, and Ian Moore and this development will take a bit of time. The subtlety of getting the decisions right is hard and in the end the competition is incredible so we have to be crisp. We have heaps of room for development so we have to be patient, and like the races, allow it to evolve.

Four races done six more to go and we know that it is all about getting to Friday with the opportunity to win. Right now, the focus is on continually improving, and with low-risk racing. Easy to say yet hard to do when there are 10 other boats loaded with talent.