Tornado sailors Hugh Styles and Adam May with news from the racecourse at Spa Olympic classes regatta
We had a good day yesterday on day three and caught up with the two boats in front of us. The first race was average with an eighth after a good start and first part of the beat. The wind was very fickle and there was a great deal of place changing during the race, it literally felt like a game of snakes and ladders out on the race track. It was a particularly tough race as the wind never rose above 8 knots and was very patchy. We finished eighth in that race and with our team mate, Leigh Macmillan, just in front of us, we had a good battle all the way downwind.
Race two was a little windier but the direction was still swinging frequently. We had a better first lap fighting out with Spanish and Austrian teams for the lead. Unfortunately we misjudged the leeward marks and sailed a little too far downwind which meant we had a problem to get back to the leeward marks. This lost us a lot of ground which put us back a bit and meant that we were too far from the boats in first and second place to catch them.
Race three went well to the plan with a great start at the right-hand end of the line we were the leading boat going out on starboard tack. When we converged with the other boats towards the windward mark we were close with the same Austrian as in the first race and another Dutch team. The wind had been building all the time and we were flying along on the downwind legs, Adam out on the wire and spray every where. We gained on the Dutch coming into the bottom marks and were about even with the Austrian so all to play for in the last lap.
The upwind was tricky to call as the wind direction was changing so much but the three boats converged again at the last windward mark, with not much to choose between them. The Austrian led by about 40m from us and the Dutch who rounded almost simultaneously. We had the better hoist and rolled over the top of the Dutch just after the spinnaker hoist. This just meant that we had 40 m to the Austrian, to get into first place. We sailed a good clear downwind leg and gained the benefit of a good patch of pressure in the centre of the course which brought us close, it was touch and go as we came into the finish line, but we had just too much to do to get past them, finishing second.
These two races gave us a bit of a gain on the Dutch team who are now in second overall, we are within striking distance of them, but the Austrian team have got a bit of a jump on us at the moment. But today gives us the opportunity to gain in three more races and then Sunday one race. All to play for and here’s looking forward to the racing.
Thanks to the sponsors without whom we couldn’t be having such success. UK Sport, Gill, Neil Pryde, Fat Face, Marlow Ropes, Holt Allen, BAE SYSTEMS, POD Stena Line, Oakley Eyewear, Specialized Marine.
All the best and good sailing