Yesterday (Jan 21) we had the slalom racing with the course set right in front of the club house where some of the racing was streamed live to yacht clubs across Australia and on Facebook. The racing was a knockout draw with 8 initial heats of 8 sailors where the top 4 from each heat would progress to the next heat until reaching a final.
The course had a reaching start out to a mark rounded to port to then begin running downwind, around a second mark to starboard, and continuing downwind to round the bottom mark to port and finishing the race. With the breeze these races were super quick, only a couple of minutes long.
I had a cracker start coming second off the line and as I approached the first mark I decided to continue right as there was more and consistent pressure on that side of the course. As I went out that way I crossed through some wake of a ferry with lots of bubbles in the water which made the boat very unstable which cost me some speed. As soon as I could get some stability I gybed onto port to get across to mark 2. In the ferry wake a boat had overtaken me putting me into third. I just needed to keep it clean to get a top 4 finish to progress and with 2 more nice gybes it was onto round 2.
In this race I setup to high for the start. I tried to get down but I was not able to lay the boat end so with less than 30 seconds til the gun I needed to gybe. Gybing at low speed when you’re not foiling is risky with the sail filling with force on the new tack with a high chance of capsizing. This is exactly what happened, I got the boat back up but still had to gybe back to starboard to get going. The race began an I was not off to a good start. In the race I manage to nail some gybes and hold great speed to get past a couple of boats to finish 5/6 which meant I was eliminated.
The Slalom racing was a cool alternate race style that’s very fast paced and unforgiving to mistakes. Tomorrow the worlds Grand Prix style racing begins.