A tough day today on the_ Quantum Racing_, but a good day! The Division 1 racecourse delivered up some incredibly challenging conditions. A light-to-moderate Northeasterly breeze was one of the more challenging conditions that I have seen in the last 17 years of racing in Key West. An approaching cold front wreaked havoc on race 1, and continued on through race 2 until finally in race 3, the sun made an appearance. As I said, it was a tough day, but a good day for us onboard.
Today was a make or break day for the regatta. While we had a six-point margin, it did not feel all that comfortable. That’s primarily because we have really good competition in our class, as every boat has an Olympic, America’s Cup or World Champion onboard. There are no breaks, and the luck that you have is created by opportunities. Today we had some created luck, and through solid team work and boathandling, we made the most of some situations. Nowhere was this more evident then in race 2.
On the last beat of the race, the fleet went right. Interlodge and us took a calculated risk, and sent it straight into the left corner. In many ways, we won the regatta on this leg. Doug, Don, Jonesy, and Sean had the boat trucking, and as we sailed for the better part of 10 minutes on a big right-hand shift, Michele and I were convinced/willing the wind to go back left. We kept seeing sniffs of lefties but nothing major until about 2 minutes from layline. You could see the fleet stacked up to the right bucking the current out of Key West, and not making as much of a gain as they should. Mick said, “Not looking as bad as it should!” Quite true were those words as we got close to layline, tacked, and instantly got lifted. For the next two minutes, we were all quiet knowing that it was a make or break moment in the race. Doug and Don kept us trucking, and low and behold as we approached the top mark, we had done the complete end around the fleet. Zero to hero–opportunistic? Maybe. Lucky? Yep! The final run to the finish was uneventful, and while we crossed the line second, we saved the 20 seconds that we needed to on Mayhem to win. It was a big race, and the race of the regatta for Quantum Racing! As we crossed the line, we all knew that the wind gods were shining on Quantum Racing, and for the rest of the day it would be a matter of holding serve.
Fortunately, Race 3 was slightly easier. Doug, Greg, and Michele nailed the start, and _Quantum Racing _found her way to the front by the end of the first lap. From here we sailed conservatively, keeping ourselves between the next mark and the fleet. Minimal risk, minimal gain, but controlling which makes the life of a tactician slightly easier.
A perfect score on the day, but far from perfect. A solid team effort from bow to stern has allowed us the opportunity to enjoy the evening and go out tomorrow to finish off the event without a lot of pressure. Looking forward to it!
_ Access SW‘s complete coverage of Quantum Key West 2012. _