I just finished up another event, the 2017 Europa cup event, and thought I'd post a little summary of the event and my reflections on it.
The regatta was a four day event, with 8 races ran over those four days. I finished in 24th out of 95 boats, and have some positive takeaways, as well as some things I need to work on. As I've mentioned previously, I know my light air boat speed is pretty good, so I was pleased to see that that held true for this event. Even though I had terrible starts, I was able to use my speed and tactics to work back top top 10 finishes in some of the races, especially in the qualifying series. For example, in the first race of the event I had a second row start but ended up almost winning the race because I consistently made the right decisions and put myself in positions where I could use my speed. It was also nice to see that some of my hard work has paid off and my speed in breeze has improved as well. On the third day of the event, we had three races in 15-18 Knots, and though my first two races were mediocre due to horrible starts, when I finally got off the line in the third race of the day, I was able to finish 6th, right behind the 2nd-5th place finishers. This shows me that I'm getting better in what I consider to be the weakest aspect of my boat speed at the moment. Though my speed and decision making was good, my starts were once again pretty terrible. It's hard to say what exactly is holding me back, but over the last few events I've come to the conclusion that I am a bit shy when it comes to pulling the trigger, and worry too much about being over early. This consistently leaves me accelerating late, with little to no space in which to do so. Thus, for my next event, I resolve to ALWAYS start in the first row, and fight as hard as I can to be bow out on the boats around me, even if I have to pickup a few over-earlys. Hopefully, this will give me a better line sense, and allow me to actually race as opposed to spending most races trying to claw my way back to a respectable position.
Overall though, I think that I've made a "jump" in my sailing recently. For years, my father, a very good sailor himself, has told me that progress in sailing occurs in spurts, and I think that one such spurt has recently happened for me. Over the last four events, I consistently find myself performing better than ever before, and having an easier time doing it. Whether it be boat speed, tactics, or just a general sense of calm, I find that more often than not, I'm surprising myself with my performance. At first I was hesitant to attribute this to some sort of overall improvement in my sailing but I now think that that is exactly what it is. After all, It's been 8 months of hard training since I started this journey and its about time I see some sort of noticeable pay off.
Hopefully I can make many more jumps like this over the next few years.
A few more days of practice here in Hyeres and then off to Lake Garda!