The Ender racing team consisted of myself, Mike Rehe, and Paul Haulsey. We knew we were up against a pretty stacked fleet (Sally Barkow, Chris VanTol, Adam Hollerbach, Peter Wickwire, etc.) but I felt like we would have some recent match race experience to draw on, at least early in the regatta. Even though I didnt drive the regatta the previous weekend, crewing for Kevin did get my head into the game and thinking about the strategy. On top of that, this was the first event on the Ender schedule, it had been on our minds for several months....so we were as focused as ever to get this campaign underway.
The finals were set: Ender Racing, Team7 (Barkow), Adam Hollerbach, and VanTol Match Race. One vs Four, Two vs Three. Sunday would shape up to be a good day.
Like an idiot I fouled Chris during the prestart trying to "heard" him in a certain direction...he was being stubborn and I was being impatient. We started about even but Chris was on the correct side of the next shift and he rounded the first mark right ahead. A quick jybe put us in a windward postion and we were able to get over the top of him but we were slightly above layline. Just high of the two boat circle both boats jybed and got rid of our kites...we rounded on the inside and had the slight advantage up the last beat....that is, with a penalty to do. We did our turn up the beat and followed Chris into the windward mark. The breeze shifted hard left again and totally died, pulling chris down river and giving us a chance to get back into the race. From there it was just a crap-shoot....who got the puff first, who got the puff longer. VanTol sailed away and deeper with pressure, then died out. We got a puff and sailed right at the finish....in the end we finished overlapped....Ender losing by three feet. After all that...three feet.
VanTol wins 2-1. It was a bitter-sweet day for Ender racing. Remember, our goal is always to move on; and while we lost the regatta, we lost to the only person we were allowed to and still get an invite to the Detroit Cup. See, VanTol is already in the Detroit Cup on his ISAF ranking, so then the invite moves down to the second place boat. So even though we lost only two races and we couldn't do what we needed to win; we still did what we needed to move on. Congrats to Chris, John, and Thad....every beginning match racer out there remember, these guys won the bare minimum races to make it to the final four; then got taken to three races in each round of the finals to win. It wasnt pretty, they just did what they needed to do. Any team can win when they're on a hot streak; its the good teams that can hang on while everything goes pear-shaped....and still give themselves a shot at the end.
I just have to say that I think Ender Racing Team got stronger with the addition of Paul Haulsey. Both he and Mike sailed flawlessly and consistently....and really put us in a position to win every race. This was great learning experience and this team will be every bit up to the challenge of the Detroit Cup.