SMU Vojtech Cup

(02.27.05) Southern Methodist University
The Dallas weekend proved to be a quick and mildly frustrating day of sailing. The weather was overcast with bits of rain and a variable wind from 3 to 10 (usually 3-6). The first race was a big "unkown" because the boats didn't seem entirely consistent. Apparently everyone needed a bit of practice the first race, since most of the fleet (B) did rather poorly with tacks and slow downwinds. The next set of races proved to be much more challenging. There is a distinct ON/OFF pattern with the wind at White Rock and it as very easy to exploit it because the frequency of the wind shifts came very close to the time along legs (it was a short course). I found that when the shift lasted the entire leg, it was usually delivered in the form of a stifling header, so exploiting any lifts became vital. The lifts did not shift quickly, either: they needed to be ridden slowly because the direction shifts were so smooth (oftentimes). It was vital to stay in clear air, and I still don't know exactly where other boats can affect you, as far as sail interference is concerned. Good starts were rewarded with good air and freedom to tack far away from the people who couldn't read the wind very well. Good roll tacks were vital, and it showed me how much we/I needed to work on them. Watch out for poorly tightened rigs; I payed the price with a 4th place when I forgot to check for it. I played with sail adjustment a lot, and since the sails were large, it made a huge difference when I had the outhaul much tighter. I learned a bit about exploiting other people's downwind battles, taking an extra 2 spots because I blocked both of their wind and then snuck in and got overlap. Overall, we rocked the regatta. Good job Cathy, Scott and Stephanie.

- Adrian