Hobie Tiger Worlds...New Day, New Game

French teams have run away with the top three places at the Hobie Tiger World, so for the top U.S. team of Greg Thomas and Jacques Bernier, there's one last score to settle.

Tigers, Day 4
Pierrick Contin/hobie Cat

July 27, CANGAS, Spain-We're still hangin' in there, but we've lost touch with the French now. Those guys are just getting a few spots better than us in the first rounding and that is making all the difference. We had some good moves today, however our bad ones outweighed the good. In the first race for the day winds were still medium around 12 to 15 knots, which suits our sailing. We had a nice start and were in the lead group at each mark. Mitch and Taylor [Booth] were pushing hard downhill and passing us by over-standing on the runs. We were however able to get back past on the upwind legs making for a great duel. In the end they crossed the line several boat lengths ahead, so this started the day off a bit sour since we really want to stick it to our friends in a bad way (since they've beat us in the last two Worlds now). Good news though, once we hit the beach, we were informed that Mitch was OCS moving us back ahead to third for the race and 9 points ahead of them in the overall. Tomorrow its gonna all be happening! The race officials were forced to make the courses shorter today due to some large tankers anchored near the port lay-line to the top marks. This meant that three lap races were posted, meaning there would be even more emphasis on the starts and the first upwind, as well our boat handling. My hands are a touch on the sore side now with all the raising and dousing of the spinnaker today. For the second race, winds piped up to 18 knots or so we were forced to tack shortly after the start to clear our air as we were rolled over by a French team. Once clear (we thought) Gerard Loos tacked just in front causing us to have to point a bit too much losing ground to the front group yet again. I think we eventually dug back to around 11th. Winds continued to increase for race three and we were positioned well down on the line trying to get left with around 30 seconds to go a group of boats just below us pushed too far forward on the line - at this point we knew they were likely going to be called over ... so we had to decide 'stay, or push up, we decided to stay back, and we got absolutely hammered on the start. We tried to push through to leeward of all the dirty air to get clear and work left, but with a pack of six premature starters on our face, it was a big ask. Once we made it to the top we proceeded to foul one of the young British teams, and had to take a penalty turn, under a group of starboard layline boats. This meant we came around the offset for the first rounding placed in the high 30s. We pecked away at the boats ahead, each leg getting through a few more. Two weeks ago in France during the F 18 Worlds we found ourselves eating American Sandwiches. They consisted of raw ground beef and french fries inside a baguette served with your choice of ketchup or mayonnaise.... Delicious! (sarcasm). So today we had another type of American sandwich at the second leeward gate. Four teams, all from California, somehow managed to find us making for an interesting rounding. They all managed to finish in the mid 20's at the finish and we pulled a satisfying 18th after digging out of the ''Way-Back Machine." So after hitting the beach we thought there will surely be some OCS from the last race, and there were, confirming my feelings before the gun in that race. Unfortunately our friends from Texas John and Ian copped one too. So now were still sit in fourth some points up from Mitchy and Taylor, so tomorrow we'll be fighting the death match with those guys for sure! With much luck the three French leaders will all come down with severe food poisoning from the celebration dinner tonight and we'll be in front again (kidding of course). Speaking of the French, they are pretty much gone, so our mission is to conserve our position if possible, with these winds it is proving difficult for us. In the light air were are quite accomplished, but it seems we need to work a bit more on the higher wind conditions, this is where we're suffering just a touch. I guess Southern California isn't the best for high wind training, but it is a wonderful place to live, so I'm not planing a move to Europe just yet... More tomorrow...for the last day! Chao, Jacques