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Peter Spaulding—Redemption

After a snakebit week of training, Peter Spaulding and Tim Wadlow find a pot of gold (or silver) in the final regatta.

October 31, 2001
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WEYMOUTH, England–Friday morning, the first day of racing, was a bit hectic because we had to finish putting together our new mast before racing. We were a bit rushed to get everything finished, but with Luther’s help it looked like we were going to be able to complete everything just in time. About half way to the racecourse we heard a horn from the race committee boat, it was the start of the first race. Tim and I looked at each other in disbelief and realized we had just dug ourselves into a hole right off the bat.

We were disappointed that we missed the first race, but we decided to put it behind us right away and concentrate on the next race. We studied the racecourse and watched closely to see which side of the course the leaders were choosing. The wind was light, 4-8 knots from the southeast and the water was perfectly flat. The leaders chose the left side primarily for more wind, although there were a few boats that made the right side work with wind shifts. Downwind, the left was the only place to go because there was more wind velocity.

After analyzing the first race, Tim and I formulated a game plan to favor the left-middle portion of the first leg and the left side downwind. The pin end of the starting line was slightly favored so we decided to start about one-third up the line from the pin. We had an excellent start and were clearly in the top five right away. We stuck to our game plan and made a few good decisions up the first beat and rounded the first mark in first place. We held onto first throughout the six-leg course and got the gun. Winning the race immediately redeemed ourselves for missing the first race, but we still had plenty of racing.

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The wind conditions remained the same throughout the weekend, topping out at about 8 knots for some of the races. We continued to sail tremendously well, finishing in the top five almost every race of the regatta.

Going into the final day, we were in 3rd place overall. The race committee planned for 4 races on Sunday and each race was to count double. This meant that if one finished 4th in a race, it would be scored as 8 points. The final twist on the day was that teams couldn’t discard any race on Sunday. This was certainly an interesting way of doing things and put a little more pressure on us to perform well. We handled the pressure without a glitch finishing 8th, 3rd, 1st, and 3rd in the final four races. Ian Barker, the Silver medallist from the 2000 Olympics, was winning at the start of the final day, but had an unfortunate OCS (premature start) in the tenth race which counted against him twice. This added 46 points to his score and immediately dropped him out of the top five. His mistake allowed Tim and I to move into second place overall in the final standings.

We were extremely pleased with our performance in the U.K. We stayed focussed and maintained a positive attitude, which enabled us to surpass some setbacks and still perform well. Our second place finish gave us some international recognition and will hopefully allow us to schedule more training sessions with the British Team.

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For more updates from Peter, check the Editors/Correspondents index and archives

For more on their campaign, log on to [ www.teamwadlowspaulding.org

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