OYSTER BAY, NY:
Last week we headed up to Oyster Bay, New York with our training partners, Parent/Atwood Racing, to compete in the first of three Oakcliff Triple Crown events. These three series events are an opportunity for Olympic teams to win funding to use toward campaign expenses. We had a great weekend of tight racing with our training partners!
Our boat is currently in a container that is inching closer and closer to the Port of Miami. We can't wait to reunite with Belle Starr, but in the meantime, we needed some equipment to use for the first Triple Crown! Luckily Oakcliff has a fleet of "retrofitted" Nacra 17s. These boats are a great resource and we're very lucky that Oakcliff has supported us by allowing us to sail one when our boat has been inaccessible this year. The fleet is between 3 and 5 years old, and the boats are used on a regular basis in the summer to teach young sailors how to foil around. The boats were originally c-board Nacras acquired by the program for the 2016 quad. When the new foiling boat was announced in 2016, retrofit kits were acquired by the program. Oakcliff's team cut open the hulls and installed the new board trunk system to accommodate the z-foils, and reinforced the sterns to support the rudder foils. The Oakcliff Nacras are trusty workhorses that have made it possible for many athletes to train, learn, and compete. Thank you Oakcliff!!
Because we had just returned from Worlds, we had only two days to set up an Oakcliff boat and make it competitive before the Triple Crown. That's a tough task to accomplish with a foiling Nacra... there are so many small details that need to be right in order to optimize flight. With the clock ticking we threw the boat up on sawhorses and surveyed the rudder elevator angles and range, board angles and range, and rudder/foil system setup. We ran into a few hiccups and worked long into the evening on our first day, and all day the second day. Finally we were able to get out on the water for a test sail the day before racing... and were as ready to go as we could be!
The conditions all weekend were light to moderate. We saw above 5 knots about 70% of the time. That means, 30% of the time we couldn't foil! The racecourse was only about 25 minutes long and tucked up between two points of land. Shifty, lake sailing style conditions made for lots of turn-arounds in the fleet. The length and the shifty conditions, as well as the light breeze, made this event a great experience for the younger sailors who had come in and hopped onto the Nacra to race for the weekend, and kept the racing close and tricky - which made us and our training partners stay on our toes! But when foiling conditions came up, the time that our two teams put in this year really showed, and we were clearly faster than the less experienced teams.
Racing our training partners was challenging, just like it's supposed to be! After tying for the lead several time in two days, we went into the final race with three points between us. At mark two of that race we led by 20 boat lengths, but there were no other teams close by. We waited until the second beat to begin match racing. We managed to hold our competitors on the starboard layline and compress the race enough for the trailing boats to catch up, but as we both rounded the windward mark with protest flags flying, we had the umpire's call go against us... bummer! We spun and our competition was free to foil down to the finish line. Not the way we hoped it would end, but an excellent opportunity to match with our training partners and learn some new things.
Second place at Oakcliff's first Triple Crown event is a great start to the fall season. Triple Crown II & III are coming up... and we're going to work our hardest to take the top of the podium and earn ourselves some extra funding for this season.
At the end of Triple Crown we packed up our charter boats with our training partners and all hopped on the ferry across Long Island Sound to start a two week training camp in Newport, Rhode Island. We have been lucky to have some killer days of training here in Newport since we arrived. We even got to spend an afternoon foiling around on a TF10! Excited for the next week of sailing.