With the First match race of the season quickly approaching, Ender team members decided to spit duties and sail with two other teams in the qualifying regatta for the BYC Invitational. I sailed with Kevin Shrage and Stu Argo while Mike Rehe sailed with Lauren Knoles and Sandy Svoboda. The one day event was filled with ups and downs; with the fleet split into two groups the limited time meant that the top two boats from each group would move on to a final-four round robin. Knowing this we had to get moving immediately within our group, we couldnt risk letting one race slip through. Unfortunately the first race of the regatta was sailed in big breeze and we managed to snap our rudder off in the pre-start.....in match racing if anything breaks while in sequence or racing you dont normally get redress...so after a long discussion with our PRO, CHUMP, and many of the other fabulous umpires they decided that it would be best if I, aaahem, "let it go" and "moved on with my life." Okay, okay, I can take a hint. So now we enter the regatta with one loss and we have not crossed the starting line yet. After that mishap Kevin's calming nature really put us back on track and we went undefeted through the rest of the round robin and moved on to the finals.
Mike was having the same sort of success in his group. After starting off slow Lauren, Mike, and Sandy started to get into rythym and finished their round as the team to beat. The stage was set for a Schrage, Knoles final showdown....and Ender team bragging rights for the summer....but it was not meant to be. As the sun sank over Detroit and the breeze got light and flukey we were able to win our first race and STEAL our second from Trey Rose by taking advantage of a 30deg shift. These things happen on the River near the end of the day, I feel like I have been on the losing end of it more times than not...fortunately the dice rolled our way this time. Lauren and Mike could have forced a final showdown but were unable to win their second race. After having their opponent on the ropes several times in the prestart the other boat somehow managed to slip through and actually started in a better position...controlling the race and ultimately winning. This caused Lauren to slip to second and with the sun setting our PRO called the regatta with a clear winner. US! Actually, in all honesty to have both members of Ender racing in the top two is great. It is always a plus when we can have team members sail with different programs, that different experience is something you can draw from in difficult times. But seriously....I still won bragging rights....you know it Mike!
Not that im in to giving out lessons; but I think the lesson any new match racer can take from Laurens mistake is this: The goal in starting is to position yourself off the line to be able to go the direction you want to on the first beat. Its not about fouling. Its about controlling, hearding, gaining the advantage off the line and leaning on the other team up the beat. Very rarely when sailing against good teams will they give you an opportunity "slam-dunk" them on the start....so I think starters need to have a "control" mentality, not a "kill" mentality. Lauren could have won the race if she just backed off her opponnent (on several occasions) and kept her priorities in check. Your number one priority is to get off the line clean, going the direction you want to go...all else is just gravy....as soon as that control begins to fade it is time to think about your priorities again.