Latest D3 Regatta

3 Day Event
Date September 21 - 23, 2018
Gold Cup Series Sponsored by Fogh Marine
ILCA-NA Laser District 3

The North Americans were tough for me. I think it was the result of a lot of factors.

I just got back from doing the Delta Lloyd Regatta in Holland three weeks before, where my racing was quite good but my starts were horrendous (shot out the back 90 per cent of the time) So, in talking with my coach I decided that one of my goals in North Americans was to work on more aggressive starts. After my third BFD, we decided to forget about that one.

Another factor was the amount of preparation I put into my sailing before the event. Between Holland and NA's, I didn't touch my boat, except to change up the lines and some fittings. Turns out that was a bad idea on both counts. The new lines didn't break, which was the point, but they were slightly different in length from my old ones and were slippery, which is enough to really throw you off and make you uncomfortable in the boat. Also, without training in the weeks leading up to the event, and given the length of the course (these races were VERY short compared to in Holland... the windwards here were 1/3 of the distance), more emphasis was put on getting a good start so that you would have a clear lane on the first upwind. I think I took this too seriously, and being a bit stressed out about my speed in these conditions (not the best) and having preconceived notions of where I should end up in this fleet, I pushed the line too hard and got nailed for it.

The two black flags in qualifying were enough to put me in the silver fleet. I've seen that happen to others before me, so while it bothered me, I accepted it and took out my frustration on the silver fleet, focusing on winning races by a leg.

My races in qualifying (forgetting about the starts) were decent, and I can't quite remember the exact details of them, such as where I went up the course. The races in the silver fleet were unremarkable because I could make all sorts of mistakes and get away with it, based on having better speed and better boat handling around the course.

What did I learn? Here's my list:

1) Train enough before the event to feel comfortable in the boat and feel that your speed can put you in contention in any condition

2) never to push the line hard at a North American event. You should be able to make up for a bad start quite easily, but you can't come back from the BFD. Also, North American events are NOT the same as European ones in terms of how the sailors approach starting. In Europe, people start to set up about two boatlengths behind the line at about 1:30. There is no reaching around within the minute, everyone has their spot, and is fighting to keep it. This is where I often have difficulty with sideslipping and keeping my bow out. The line is usually just the right length that there is a spot for everyone, and if you are punched out the back within the minute there is nowhere to really go. Unlike North America, there isn't a huge group of boats waiting outside of the committee boat, because if there were, they would not find a spot on the line before the start. In Europe, the key is to have your spot early, defend it (generally by creeping forward very slowly so that you don't sideslip), and accelerate on time. In North America, it is more likely that you can "win" the start, and you can employ random tactics like hanging out at the committee, or barging in with speed at the last minute.

3) Never change your lines right before an event without time to get used to them. It's a small thing, but it can throw you off mentally, and can be a pain when things don't work as they should.

That being said, I still had fun. My starting was bad, my racing was good, and it was a welcome break from school (I'm taking summer courses right now through Dalhousie and Athabaska... hence my inability to sail much). Overall I'm glad I went because it was just the wakeup call I needed to get back in the boat and work a little bit harder...maybe work on achieving a better sailing/school balance.

Danielle DubeDanielle Dube started sailing at age nine at the St. Margaret's Sailing Club, then began racing competitively at the age of 12. Since then she as attended six world championships, with the highlight being wins at the 2004 Female Byte Worlds, and at the 2006 National Qualifying Regatta in Vancouver. Her goal is to medal at the 2012 Olympics in London.