Friday, December 4, 2009

The Aftermath

Here is a great film put together by Shane Donaldson of the Communications Department at URI and his Co-workers. He was responsible for organizing the interviews and sending us over to France with two Flip HD cameras. The film will be used to represent the school and the sailing team. GO RHODY!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday Morning Tactician

Good morning sports fans.

The jet lag is wearing off and our lower backs are realigning after a long day of travel back to the United States of America. I could tell that we all felt a sense of relief to be home but for me it also solidified the end of a great run. Being part of the process of building the 2009 URI World Cup Racing Team has been one of the highlights in my young life. The opportunity to train and lead a group of motivated young sailors into battle has been an incredible learning experience that will transcend the race track in Marseilles France. It effects how we all look at our education, our personal lives and how we interact with scociety as a whole. The support we have recieved from friends, family, the sailing community and our sponsors only provides more motivation in whatever endeavors lie ahead of us. After six months of fundraising, theorizing about the Student Yachting World Cup and finally making the dream of competing in it a reality, one would think we are ready for a nice long nap. Believe me, I thought about it.

Our dreams of an easy Rhode Island hibernation are quickly dashed however by the opportunity and desire to make the trek to the US Naval Academy for the 2009 Kennedy Cup Trophy. We are excited to get back in the ring this weekend and battle some exceptional collegiate big boat teams for the chance at representing the United States in 2010 at the Student Yachting World Cup. We are taking a core group from this years World Cup effort and mixing in several new faces. Growth and development never take a holiday, they don't even take a day off, so it is always important for URI Sailing to bring new talent and energy into the mix.

We leave on Thursday night and have our eyes set forward on the new task at hand. We can only look to the past six months for inspiration and energy. Not to what we could have or should have done. We learned so much about our team, the event and URI Sailing's ability to leave it all out on the water that we can hold our heads high as we pursue our next goal. We are going to sail with that same poise and determination this weekend and will be reporting from Annapolis as the action takes place.
Stay tuned...

Friday, October 30, 2009

Day 6

Day 6 is the last day of the regatta. Results are very close, leaving Team USA on the outside looking in. We knew that we had moves to make, and wanted to leave everything on the race course. With 2 W/L races, we had the opportunity to move up the rankings.

Race 14 started in a light easterly. We started three boats from the pin, back from the line, but with speed. We held our lane to the left, tacking out in a slight left shift. We were tacked on by the Czechs, forcing us back out to the left. We tacked on port layline, in pressure and with pace. We rounded the windward mark in 6th, behind the Czechs, Irish (Cork), France (Audencia), but beating the Swiss. We held on starboard before being the first to gybe out on a nice right shift in pressure. The pressure across the course was dying, and we did an incredible job of staying in pressure and keeping boatspeed, allowing us to sail into third place just before the leeward mark. The race committee shortened the course to finish at the leeward mark. We kept pace on, while the Italians and the French Audencia team, in a gybing duel, parked up before the finish, allowing us to pass them and finish first. Audencia finished 2nd, and the Italians 3rd.

Race Committee hoisted the AP flag at 11am, and said they would send us in at noon if the breeze did not fill. When 12pm rolled around, the Bay of Marseille was still glass, and we were sent in, ending the Student Yachting World Cup 2009.

We were pleased with our performance this week. There will always be second guessing about where we could've pick up a point or two, but that is always the case with any event. We left everything on the race course, especially with the bullet in the last race.

Team URI/USA would like to thank everyone who made this event possible for us. Everyone who supported our campaign, in any manner large or small, had an impact, and helped us to our 4th place finish.

Student Yachting World Cup 2009, Final Results (14 races scored)
  1. Italy -- 24 pts
  2. Czech Republic -- 45 pts
  3. France (Audencia) -- 48 pts
  4. USA -- 49 pts
  5. Ireland (Cork) -- 49 pts
  6. Switzerland -- 52 pts
  7. England -- 69 pts
  8. Scotland -- 83 pts
  9. Wales -- 89 pts
  10. Ireland (Limerick) -- 108 pts
  11. France (Ecole Polytechnique) -- 108 pts
  12. Japan -- 120pts

Thanks again from Team URI/USA, and look for us to qualify again for the Student Yachting World Cup at the Kennedy Cup this coming weekend in Annapolis, Maryland.

Day 5

Sorry for the Thursday post on Friday, but the night race last night made for a long night.

Day 5 started out with a W/Lx2 and an inshore race, followed by a 2 hour break and the night race.
Race 11 was started in a 6-10kt northerly. Off the start, we leveraged to the right, with more pressure and angle than boats on the left. Halfway up the beat, the left filled in with a huge left angle. We were hung out to dry on the right, and had to claw our way back to the mark. We rounded in 8th, close behind Ireland. Down the run, we were able to pass the Irish and close on the 6 boats ahead. In the first half of the second beat, we picked off 3 more boats, but were forced to the left, with right pressure. We lost 5 boats in the second half of the beat, and rounded the windward mark in 10th, and held that position to the finish.

Race 12 was a 20 mile inshore race, which had us racing south, down the coast of Marseille. We won the start at the boat, hitting the line at full pace, while the other boats were caught downspeed in a left shift. We rounded the short windward mark in first, 30 yards ahead of the Italians. We then broad reached Cape Croisette, gybed around the cape, and headed to Ile de Riou, surfing waves in 15kts of breeze. We held our lead around Riou, and all the way upwind back towards Marseille. In the last 2 miles to the finish, the breeze dropped from 15kts to 4-8kts, slowing the entire fleet. On the long port tack to the finish, the French team from Audencia caught pressure and went from 5th to first. We held onto 2nd.

Going into the night race, we were tied for 3rd with Ireland (Cork) with 40 points, 2 points from the Czechs in 2nd. Only 6 points seperated 2nd place from 6th, so the racing was very close

Race 13 was the night race, and the course had us rounding the Frioul Island twice, first to starboard, then back around to port. Off the start, we were slow, and had to bail to the right, and were 7th around the windward mark. We had a poor spinnaker set, and dropped a lane on the tight right to the cardinal marks Carnoubier and Sourdaras. We were rolled by 2 teams, dropping us to 9th. Up the beat along the Frioul islands, we caught 1 boat, but lost 2 at the top end of the island, due to the massive wind shadows of the island. On the run along the north side of the islands, we caught 1 boat, and we held on to 8th as we rounded Carnoubier and Souradas to go back around the islands to port. On the beat, we passed the Irish team from Limerick, and held 7th around the islands, back to the finish at Carnoubier. However, soon after we thought we had finished, the Race Committee came over the radio and said that they were in the wrong position for the finish. This meant that we would be scored for our position rounding Carnoubier and Sourdaras, which was an 8th, instead of 7th.

Student Yachting World Cup, Results through Day 5 (13 races)
  1. Italy -- 21pts
  2. Czech Republic -- 39pts
  3. Ireland (Cork) -- 45pts
  4. France (Audencia) -- 46pts
  5. Switzerland -- 47pts
  6. USA -- 48pts
  7. England -- 58
  8. Scotland -- 73pts
  9. Wales -- 82pts
  10. Ireland (Limerick) -- 96pts
  11. France (Ecole Polytechnique) -- 102pts
  12. Japan -- 112pts
Friday's forecast is very light out of the east. The regatta is capped at 15 races, so only two races tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Day 4

Wednesday is moving day. After a postponement ashore until 1230pm, the fleet headed out to the Bay of Marseille for a W/Lx2 and an inshore race in a westerly that built from 4-7kts to a solid 8-12 by the end of the inshore race.

Race 9 of the event was a W/Lx2 with 0.7nm legs. We started pin third, with the intention of playing the left side of the course, which had more consistent pressure than the right. We had a decent start, but we were pinched off by the French Audencia team, who was OCS but did not return to the line. After a tack to port, we were leading to the right side. We rounded the windward mark in third, behind Scotland and Italy. Down the run, we showed superior boatspeed compared to the Scottish, and were able to soak low inside of them and beat them to the gybe on to port layline for the leeward mark. After rounding the leeward mark in 2nd, we played the left, covering most of the fleet. The defending champions, Cork Institute of Technology (Ireland) got to our right and caught a favorable shift, while the Scottish and Swiss, who were to our left, caught a bit of a shear and all three teams passed us, dropping us to fifth around the windward mark. We were closely followed by the second Irish team from the University of Limerick and the Welsh from the University of Cardiff. Down the run, our superior boatspeed enabled us to pull away from the Welsh and Irish, soaking low across their bows, while getting to the inside of Swiss and Scottish. We simultaneously gybed with the Swiss and Scottish on the port layline for the leeward mark, obtaining overlap and mark room. We passed both teams at the leeward mark, putting us in third behind the Italians and Irish from Cork.

Race 10 was an inshore race. From the starting line, we beat to a short (o.3nm) windward mark, then had a tight spinnaker reach to the cardinal markers of Carnoubier and Sourdaras. Afterwards, we headed back upwind, keeping the Frioul islands to our left. We set the spinnaker again after rounding Ilot Tiboulen and had a run down the backside of the Frioul islands to a finish. Because the beat was so short, we wanted to start at the boat, and either control the fleet to port layline, or tack out and establish ourselves early on starboard layline. After a poor start, we tacked to the right early. Our plan paid off slightly, as we rounded the windward mark in fifth, behind the English, French (Audencia), Czechs, and Irish (Cork). Positions stayed the same on the reach. We had a poor mark rounding, and lost lanes to the Swiss, who passed us. On the long beat up the islands, we played the shore, passing the Swiss in the last third, although we lost the Italians, who have an extra gear no one else seems to have (they had rounded the leeward mark in 8th, and by the next spinnaker set, they were up to 3rd). On the backside of the island, we were able to soak low, inside the leading pack, and beat them to a gybe. For the first 2/3 of the run, we were able to power reach in a good right pressure, passing 3 boats, getting up to 3rd place. In the last third of the race, the breeze lifted, enabling the Italians to reach under us, passing us just before the finish. We held off the French and the Irish, and finished fourth.

We were pleased with our performance today, as we were able to prove to everyone (including ourselves) that we are contenders for a podium finish. We still need to improve in our starting and in our upwind legs. If we can, we will be able to make plays up the scoreboard.

Student Yachting World Cup, Results after Day 4 (with 10 races, 8 scored)
  1. Italy -- 11 pts
  2. Czech Republic -- 29 pts
  3. Ireland (Cork) -- 30 pts
  4. USA -- 31 pts
  5. Switzerland -- 35 pts
  6. France (Audencia) -- 35 pts
  7. England --4o pts
  8. Scotland -- 50 pts
  9. Ireland (Limerick) -- 64 pts
  10. Wales -- 64 pts
  11. Franch (Ecole Polytechnique) -- 70 pts
  12. Japan -- 81 pts
The forecast for Thursday looks to be the best so far this week. With a potential for 3 races, including the rescheduled night race, we are looking to make more gains on the leaders.

Good night,


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Day 3

Apologies for the late post.

The third day of SYWoC 2009 started out extremely light, with a residual harbor hurricane filling from the east. After a postponement of about an hour and a half, which featured an international water fight, the breeze filled in from the west at about 4-6 knots. Racing started around noon, with a W/L and an inshore race on the schedule

Race 7 was a W/L x2, with 0.7nm legs. We decided to work the left, and started pin third. Off the start, we rumbled, pinching off the French Ecole Polytechnique team. We were the left most boat, and tacked on layline, in a slight left shift. The right, however, paid off, and after ducking two boats, we rounded the windward mark in seventh. After a close run, in which we attempted to attack boats ahead, we gained inside overlap on the English team, but gave it way with a poor leeward mark rounding. On the second upwind leg, we played the middle left, taking advantage of pressure that the right did not have, and closed in on the Swiss team. We attacked again downwind, but we were unable to create an overlap at the second leeward mark, and made no passes on the reach to the finish. Team USA finished 7th.

Race 8 was an inshore race, round Ilot Tiboulen to port, then reaching along the north side of the Frioul Islands, before finishing at the Canoubier cardinal mark. We were forced to the right after the start, and had to fight our way back to the left. In the last third of the beat to Tiboulen, we played it as if we were racing J24's, short tacking the shore, looking for the left shift. We closed on the leaders, but were unable to make the pass. On the downwind leg, we again played the shore, but lost to the boats offshore, who had just a bit more pressure. We made gains back, though, on the tight reach to Canoubier, as we were able to roll two teams who ran out of pressure, and passed the Swiss who were caught too low for the reach to the finish. We finished 6th.

After a two hour break on shore, the Race Committee attempted to run the night race, a SYWoC staple. The twelve teams got geared up for a 19 mile race, which had us round the Frioul islands, first to starboard, then back around to port, before finishing outside of Vieux Port. The wind, however, was not on the same plan, and soon after Race Committee took up station, the bay glassed off. After a 15 minute postponement, the RC sent the teams in for an early evening. The night race has been rescheduled for Thursday night.

The day was just one of those days. We didn't seem to have our boatspeed, we seemed to lose ground on every tactical call, and when we did make gains, we would just not quite get enough to make the pass. With 3 days of racing left, we know we have to really push ourselves to be absolutely perfect in order to make gains.

Student Yachting World Cup, Results after Day 3
  1. Italy -- 15 pts
  2. Czech Republic -- 27 pts
  3. Ireland (Cork) -- 28 pts
  4. France (Audencia) --30 pts
  5. USA -- 31 pts
  6. Switzerland -- 32 pts
  7. England -- 39 pts
  8. Scotland -- 46 pts
  9. Ireland (Limerick) -- 55 pts
  10. Wales -- 59 pts
  11. France (Ecole Polytechnique) -- 62 pts
  12. Japan -- 72 pts

Monday, October 26, 2009

Day 2

Epic conditions at the Student Yachting World Cup. Temperatures hovering around 70 degrees, cloudless, sunny skies and a solid NNW breeze between 8 and 15 knots provided for great racing. Race Committee scheduled three races, starting off with an inshore race, as the breeze was forecasted to die as the day went on.

Race 1 (4th of the event) was a 9 mile inshore course around the Frioul Islands. Our gameplan for the start and first beat was to start pin third and work the left side, which had better pressure. We lost our lane soon after the start, and bailed to the right. We hooked up with a nice righty pressure and tacked on layline, rolling over the French Audencia team, and rounded second behind Team Italy. Our run to the cardinal marks Canoubier and Sourdaras was stellar, and we pulled away from the third place team and closed on the Italians. The tight beam reach down the south side of the island featured multiple spinnaker douses and sets, and the top two spots stayed the same, while the Swiss took over third. On the short beat to Ilot Tiboulen, the Italians pulled away, while the Swiss gained on us, before a perfect lee-bow tack gave us a bit of breathing room for the final broad reach to the finish. The Italian team finished first, Team USA second, and the Swiss third. We were very pleased with our boat handling for the race, while we needed to focus on dialing in our upwind trim and starts.

Race 2 was a W/L twice around with 1nm legs. Again we wanted to start pin third and work the left, but our lane closed off immediately after the start and we were forced to bail right. Our boatspeed, along with a slight right shift, allowed us to round the windward mark in fourth, just behind Team England. We nailed the spinnaker set and immediately rolled the English, and had our sights set on the French in second. We closed slightly down the run. Up the second beat, the fleet split, with the two leaders heading to the left, and the boats close behind heading right. We played the beat defensively, choosing to stick with the boats behind, only attacking the lead of the top two boats in the last third of the beat. We took a bit more out of the French team's lead, and held position down the run, finishing third.

Race 3 was again a W/L x2 with 1nm legs. Our gameplan was the same as the first two races - start pin third and play the left. We started 4 boats up from the pin, and finally crushed the start. We rolled the boats to our left, minus the Czechs, while pinching off the U. of Limerick (Ireland) team, and closing significant gauge with the Swiss and Italian teams to windward of us, causing them to tack and head right. We caught a left shift and tacked, basically on layline, beating all boats to our right and we were only behind the Czechs. The shift fell out, allowing the Italians and Swiss to catch back up. We wanted to win the race at the windward mark, and so we attempted to lee-bow the Italians, only to find out that they were shy on layline, which put us even further from layline, with only about 30 yards to the windward mark. After a big duck and an aggressive call to tack inside the Italians, who had also ducked the Swiss, we compounded the already bad situation by hitting the windward mark. We did our penalty turn on the offset leg, which dropped us from fourth to tenth. Down the run, we gybed inside early, catching pressure and a right shift, allowing us to claw back into eighth around the leeward mark. On the second beat, we played the right-hand side of the course, while the boats ahead of us tacked and headed left. We caught a few positive shifts, passing three boats before the windward mark. We made more plays down the second run, catching right up to French and Czechs, but couldn't pass them on the short reach to the finish.

The last race taught us a valuable lesson for the racing against the teams here. We need to rely on our boatspeed in tight situations, in order to capitalize on the mistakes of other team, while minimizing our own mistakes. The learning curve at this event is very steep and we still have room for lots of improvement in every aspect of our racing.

Student Yachting World Cup - Overall Results [Drops are in ()]
  1. Italy -- 8 - 1- (9) - 1 - 1 - 2 = 13
  2. Switzerland -- (OCS 13) - 4 - 4 - 3 - 6 -1 = 18
  3. France (Audencia) -- 2 - (10) - 3 - 8 - 2 - 3 = 18
  4. USA -- (OCS 13) - 2 - 7 - 2 - 3 - 5 = 19
  5. Ireland (Cork) -- (7) - 5 - 2 - 4 - 4 - 6 = 21
  6. Czech Republic -- 5 - 6 - 1 - 6 - (9) - 4 = 22
  7. England -- 1 - (11) - 6 - 5 - 7 - 8 = 27
  8. Scotland -- 3 - 8 - (10) - 7 - 5 - 7 = 30
  9. Ireland (Limerick) -- 9 - 3 - 5 - (12) - 8 - 9 = 34
  10. France (EP) -- 6 - 7 - (11) - 11 - 10 - 11 = 45
  11. Wales -- 10 - 9 - 8 - 9 - (12) - 10 = 46
  12. Japan -- 4 - 12 - 12 - 10 - 11 - 12 = 61
Tomorrow's conditions are looking very light, between 0 and 6 knots. We shall see how the forecasts hold up to reality. The night race is scheduled for tomorrow night.