Elite Keel Wrap

Elite Keel 2011 was a roaring success. We were not plagued by the usual nuclear summer pattern….. yet. Nor did we get the rain and thunder that was predicted. As someone put it: “It did not blow snot in the slot.” Hmm.. Instead we got 10-15 knots from the SW with relatively flat water. What a treat.
On Saturday we all got schooled by the OCSC team a.k.a Rail to Rail. We were all wondering whether they had some kind of special weather guru and were hitting all the shifts and currents perfectly. But post race discussion made it clear their genius was very simple: Clean starts, clean air, clean manoeuvres. Duh.
The good ship Woof proved once again that the key to a great weekend is simply showing up. Sadly we missed Cry Havoc this time. Shut Up and Drive was also absent, though the crew wasn’t. They were all crewing on other boats. Spying I’m sure. Another spy/guest was Stephen Gonzalez who usually races his lovingly restored J24 in Stockton. He reminds us that the Delta Ditch run is coming up. Who’s in?
A welcome new crew showed up with an old friend. Formerly Vitamin J, Formerly Casual Contact is now Badfish. It is sailed by Raymoondo Lynch and his buddies from the Maritime Academy. They’re young, they’re stoked, they’re all dingy sailors and they’re fast. They’ll be a force to look out for. Amazingly they also proved you don’t have to wait ‘til after the race to open a beer and still do well. Beer, the new recovery drink???
As we expected earlier in the season, the racing is very close this year. There were some great starts followed by some looong drag racing on the first beat. It is taking ever longer for anybody to get a nose out and or tack away.
The last upwind leg on Sunday was the epitome of close racing. The left side had been working all day. But the previous leg had proven that the waves were getting too big on the left, so this time everybody went right. But with the big ebb it was very risky to get anywhere near the corner for fear of over standing the layline. So the lead boat (TMC) would go right until they were able to tack on top of their closest competitor (R2R) forcing the latter to tack away to the right. R2R would then keep going until they could tack on top of the next boat (On Belay) and so it would domino all the way down the line. This process was repeated at least five times on the way up as we inched closer to the layline. It must have been hell on the trimmers.
We all have some weeks off to lick our wounds and get some practice in. Let’s come out strong for the NOODS.

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