A Dismal Medal Race Day

The Germans finish a drifter of a Medal Race for the Hobie 16 fleet at the ISAF World Sailing Games; with DNFs for everyone else, the points get lumped on.

Hobies In Austria

Isaf World Sailing Games

May 20-The race was held for the press, not the sailors. Our normal stating time of noon was pushed back to 11:30 a.m. The wind was 2 to 3 knots with holes all over the course. We started at the pin and the two Belindas (from South Africa and Australia) were OCS in front of us. As they jibed to go back we found clear air and were on our way-or so we thought. The French team, which was leading the regatta by a mere 3 points were with us, and the German team, which was late to the start, went to the right. So there we were with the French thinking, “This is good.” But those who went right by default made out like bandits. The wind veered right (it was predicted to back to the left), and as we approached the top mark we found ourselves in 8th place right behind the French. The Germans were leading, and we made up ground downwind. Back in the race, we went right with the fleet. We short tacked the top mark and were looking like we would be third right behind the South Africans. The French were going to be fifth or sixth. We only needed to beat them by 2 places to win overall. The wind died completely for us and the South Africans. The rest of the fleet slowly sailed over us as we tried to find the wind, and make the boat move in any direction. The racecourse was shortened so that it could be completed within the 30-minute time limit. There was also a 5-minute time limit for any boat to finish within the leader’s time. No one was able to finish except the Germans. That gave them only 2 points because the race counts double, and the rest of us 20 points. We fell from second to third and will get bronze medals tonight. Not as bad as fourth, but we were not happy with the format and the RCs decision to not postpone for more wind. It materialized 10 minutes after we finished. This was by far the worst race I have experienced in a very long time. All I could think of was if this was an Olympic campaign and it all came down to a race like that. How devastating. Devoting four years to that? OK. I have a few thoughts for making it better. A minimum wind range should be required. Having a more realistic time for finishers in light winds. This is not a basketball court or bowling for goodness sake. The wind is variable and to have everything rely on one race is not a good thing. However, all in all, this was a really fun event. It was great to see so many young female sailors taking cat sailing seriously. Who knows? Maybe someday they will indulge us with an Olympic class. We cat sailors have known for years that sailing fast is fun. Complete results, for the Hobie 16s and other classes, which had several winning American finishes (Laser Radial and Team Race in particular -Annie Nelson and Susan Korzeniewski


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