So the first day of Australian moth nationals has come and gone (Let me apologize for the USA biased view for any internationals that read this). It started with the invitation race and finished with the first race of the series. For the start of the invitation race it was blowing around 25 knots I was set up to win the boat but pulled the trigger a little too early and ended up rounding up into a near capsize. Came off the line in around 10th, after about 2 min of starboard tacked out with Nathan (49er world champion) and charged off to the right. By the time Nathan and I got to starboard tack layline we were comfortably in the lead. Nathan led around the top mark with myself in second. The offset leg was in the "death zone" and I capsized trying to avoid the offset mark, dropping me back to around 7th. Had a decent run and a good beat, I tacked up the middle to round in third at the second windward mark, with Dave Lister and Nathan in front of me. At the bottom mark most of the others and I opted to save energy and not do the last lap leaving Nathan to win comfortably with Dave in second followed by Andrew Brown from New Zealand.
I opted for a pin end start being able to put the bow down and let the boat rip, after about a minute the rest of the fleet started to sheer off in a righty and I tacked taking four sterns. After about 1 minute on port I found and even bigger right shift and tacked back crossing all the boats that had gone straight. After I had crossed most of the bows of the boats that had gone left the righty had started to diminish so I led the fleet back to the right looking for more shift and pressure. The same right pressure came in again and Nathan and I tacked back to consolidate with the boats that were coming in strong out of the left. Simon Payne and John Harris being the two lead boats from that side of the course. After crossing the two leaders from the left I tacked again and lead when we all tacked back onto starboard on layline (this is the first time I tacked 6 times up a beat on a moth and was still in the lead), having a comfortable lead. With a couple hundred-yard lead going down the run I opted to gybe out before hitting a lull trying to avoid a hole. This was a mistake allowing Simon Payne to catch up in his new Mach 2, on my final gybe to leeward mark two camber inducers came off the mast (SH*T!@!!,curse of Charlie) rounding simultainously with Simon around the left gate heading to the right side. I tacked off early hoping the right shift that we rounded in would come back up the beat. Partly due to two cams that had come off the mast and partly due to a persistent shift Simon and the other boats that went further right were gaining. After a little lefty I tried to come back and crossed Simon then tacked again to cover. Unfortunately the right came in again hard and with 50 yards of leverage Simon turned it into a 100-yard lead. At the second top mark the order was Simon, myself, and Nathan. That was the way it would stay down the run with everyone gybing at the top mark laying the gate. After the gate Simon and I tacked simultainously. Simon being 100 yards to the right of me we were both laying the weather mark we both put the bow down to maximize VMG to the mark. Simon got a little more right shear and was able to basically one tack the beat. Nathan and I who tacked shy looked for a little lefty to come back on and get in-front of the other boats who went hard right. We both finally found one that lasted for around 20 seconds, which was enough to get us up onto layline. I tried to tack underneath a "fan" and promptly capsized Nathan went two boat lengths into the right pressure and pulled his tack to take second at the last windward mark. At the last weather mark the order was Simon, Nathan, Scott, John, Dave, and myself. Scott tried to gybe away from a hole going down the run, which gave me a passing lane. At the finish it was Simon, Nathan, Dave, myself, and Scott. Congrats to Simon and Amac for winning the first race out of the box, I should have made it a little harder for them, c’est la vie.
This is a tricky place to sail and I feel like I have let down the USAF star that I have put on the boat. Tomorrow is another day and we are scheduled for 3 races though the forecast does not look that good. I miss the USA so much, I am fully homesick. Wish there were more of you here to help the fight....