ACT #5: LET'S RACE!
Have you ever raced in your life?
This is the time where adrenaline kills, pain, cold, and all the worries you had in your head. Was you go throught that starting line you automatically go 10% more then when you are freesailing!
This race is long so the adrenaline will only work for a certain time. Then the fact that you will get tired will be turning up.
In a windsurfing race there is one big problem. Too many people around talking, walking around, sailing around, specially in this race.
You need to focus on yourself and forget the rest! Don't look what the others are doing, don't look for buddy on the starting line. Do your own race. The race is between yourself to do less mistakes. The less mistakes you do, the bigger your success. Don't ask anything to anybody. You should know yourself by this time. You risk to get the wrong information.
As we said before, you will have one hour after the skipper meeting so 1 hour before the start.
The start is between a sailingboat and a flag. When the hour is over, a fast rubber rib will start from the flag and speed up to the sailing boat. You are not allowed to cross the starting line before the rubber rib has passed. So once the rubber rib has passed, then you can cross the starting line. You can cross it also one meter behind the rubber boat has passed. Important is that you don't go infront of the rib, otherwise you get problems! So when 5 minutes are missing to the start, don't cross the starting line anymore, but stay behind it. 6 minutes before the start the best is to start sailing from the starting line, to the opposite side of the starting line. Sail for about 2minutes to that direction slowly. Jibe. Wait in that position for about one minute, then you will have about 3 minutes to sail to the starting line where you took 2 minutes to get there. So at 2,30 start planning slowly to the starting line, very slowly, get closer to the starting line, and calibrate your speed to get to about 50 meters to the starting line that 10 seconds are missing. The rubber rib at zero will start its route, and as you see it comming close to you, start accelerating top speed to pass right behind it. There will be a lot of people around you. Ignore them! Do your own timing. Don't look at the others. Most will go to the line to early and will stop standing waiting, so starting with no speed. A lot will be late. So the start is between you, your watch, the starting line and the boat! The best spot for starting is down low by the flag. Less people, and the boat passes 10 seconds before the top part of the starting line. So you win some time.
If you see a lot of people in one area, move more down or up, away from the crowd. Stay away from others. If a group falls together you get stuck. Concentrate, focus, think for yourself. Have a good start and you are already have a bit part of the race done! Better to be few seconds late at the start at full speed, then being at zero on the starting line floating with no speed! Once the race is starting the rubber rib will go straight to the mark on the otherside and the first will follow the boat, the other will follow the first. The beach has the shape of an arch. So if you go straight, in the middle of the course you will be pretty far out from the coast. This means that can be choppy. If you follow closer the beach, the distance as it's arching is longer, but the wind being offshore will make you sail in flat water. So shorter distance and choppy water, or long distance and flat water? From my expenrience if the wind is lighter, the chop is not that big so you can go the short way. If it's really windy, is not bad to go a bit upwind to the beach slowly, and then sail next to the beach. Going to the first mark it's halfwind a bitdownwind. Comming back the course is more upwind. I tend to have shorter harness lines on the way back to be able to have more power to point. It's important that you point upwind on the way back from the start, as it's possible that it could get difficult to get to the finish line on the other side. There is less choise of course on the way back. Normally the wind is 5-10knots stronger on the other side from where we start. So be ready for it. Use the adjustable outhaul to make your sail more flat as you go towards the strong wind if you need less power.
Close to the beach there are some sand banks. So be sure not to go too close. The sand banks are signald by marks and organizers standing on them. If they see you going too close they will wave to you to go more offshore. There are not many jibes, but beleive me that the jibes are difficult. Normally you jibe around a boat. So you need to make a long jibe. If you make a long jibe you risk to fall. So the best is to go more downwind and than do a normal jibe, instead of trying to make a curve long like a boat. You will be tired so it's easy to fall. Your legs will be feeling tired to get up and do the jibe. So before you jibe, 300m before, relax a bit. Focus on what you need to do, and go for it. If you fall, you loose so many meters and it means even 50 places! So in the last 100 meters if someone wants to overtake you, let him do it. Relax and go for the jibe standing. You'll get him back later... If you fall don't rush! Prepare your gear to water start without hurrying. If you hurry, you stress, and you can fall again. So take your time. You will do it one shot, and save time. If you are feeling tired and you really can't finish the course, go upwind to the beach and take 1 minute break. You will feel like new. In case of physical or technical problems: Do never leave your equipment. Under no circumstances. Do never leave your rigging. Under no circumstances. (Your board will be your best raft and your rigging will avoid you from going away). Do not swim alongside your equipment, you would be less visible for the help. Sitting down on your board, move your arms slowly up and down.
ITA - 1
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