May 27, 2009
San Francisco, Ca. - After one day of racing and half way through the two-day Collegiate Women's National Championships, the Cardinal finds itself in twelfth place. The regatta, co-hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club and Stanford on St. Francis Yacht Club's famous City Front venue, brings together eighteen teams representing the cream of the crop from seven districts across the United States.
While the Stanford women have shown some strong sailing, they are disappointed with their inability to thus far contend for the top few spots. The biggest setbacks were clearly with inconsistent starts, with many starts finding the Stanford boat in a less than ideal position, either in bad air, or without a good lane in front of them to use their full speed potential. With tricky currents, puffy conditions, and a more competitive fleet than any Stanford women sailor has ever seen all season long, it is no wonder that these starts are very challenging. The Cardinal is still within range of a top ten overall finish, and will work hard with hopes to end up in the upper-half of the fleet.
Heading into the regatta, the Stanford women were confident with their preparation and chances for success at the Nationals. A busy schedule with tough competition, strong performance against all other PCCSC schools, and consistent practice at the City Front venue in the weeks leading up to the regatta gave Stanford advantages that many other schools lacked. Indeed, their experience paid off: not only were they often the flattest boat (and therefore one of the fastest) upwind, but their downwind aggressiveness has so far often earned them much needed boatlengths downwind.
In fact, both Stanford crews use the "wild thing" technique downwind in the breeze: the skipper, who sits on the windward railing on all other points of sail, sit to leeward in order to aggressively pump the mainsail to induce surfing on the waves. The crew sits to windward, high and dry, and can use their mobility to hold the jib way out on a wing. In big breezes especially, this gives the skipper an advantage, being more mobile without having to hold the jib sheet, and coordinating some well-timed pumps of the main with effective downwind steering.
A great group of Stanford-supporting spectators have turned out to view in the cold-weather conditions. This has certainly brought a boost to the morale of the teams, as they rotate in and out for short breaks of coaches' pep-talks, food and water for refueling, and a chance to take a breather. For more information, head to www.collegesailing.org for the latest results and blog reports. If you'd like to check out the racing live, www.sailgroove.com will be airing the races on the web throughout the day. For in-depth analysis at the conclusion of the event, www.kattack.com will have all the races mapped out via data collected by equipment placed on each competing boat.
Collegiate Nationals competition continues today with the conclusion of the Women's Nationals. May 29-31 is the Team Race Nationals at Treasure Island, and June 1-3 is the Coed Dinghy Nationals at St. Francis Yacht Club.