Robbie sent this update below at the end of the 29er North Americans. Now the RYC teams are battling the qualifying series of the World Championships.
Two teams from RYC (Neil Marcellini/Robbie Englehart and Mike Pacholski/Haydon Stapleton) participated in the 29er North Americans at Portsmouth Olympic Harbor, run by Kingston Yacht Club. So far this venue has proven to be very tricky.
Day-1, The first day of Qualifying was light breeze with slight shifts and occasional puffs to 10 towards the end of the day. We started off in yellow fleet with a total of 34 boats. Fighting for clear air was the name of the game for the day, as well as the entire regatta. The races were twice around with gates above the start line. The first race, we rounded the top in the mid twenties and followed the fleet around the entire course for a 17th. The second and third race, we decided to go off on our own and find clear air. We rounded the top mark, again, in the mid twenties but jibe set for clear air. We rounded the bottom mark in 12th and held that position for the next upwind and weather mark rounding. On the downwind we picked up two more boats for 10th place that race. The final race of the day, we kept to that same strategy but rounded the top mark in the mid teens and the leeward mark in 6th. We held that position for the whole race and ended 17th overall that day.
The second day of qualifying was tougher. The fleets had been reshuffled and the boats that did well the previous day were put in our fleet, which was yellow. This day had gone much like the previous, same light breeze and same strategy for racing. We kept the jibe sets around the weather mark each race which still worked only not as many place gains. We ended the day with a 17, 14 and a 16 in our fleet which put us 24th overall and qualified us for Gold Fleet.
The third day of racing and first day of medal racing was really tough and we started with 24 points. With winds barely in the margin for racing at 5-7 knots, made it really hard to race for us. We are a light team, but all the teams in front of us were either lighter, or had more practice in light air than we have. The first three races, we had the wind out of the south at 5-7 with occasional rain squalls and had 18, 19, 21 as our results. As we were waiting for our 4th race and the silver fleet were doing their first, the wind went from 170 degrees at 5-7 knots to 340 degrees at 9-13 with puffs to 17. This made Neil and I very happy as we had been praying for wind all day. Our 4th race had a disaster of a start but we tacked out behind the fleet for clear air. We soon tacked back and went to the left side of the course where we were lifted and had more consistent breeze. We tacked back to go to the weather mark where we were lifted again and rounded the top in 2nd place. Unfortunately we picked the wrong side downwind and rounded the bottom in 10th. By the time we had rounded the top and gone back downwind to the finish we were in 7th which made us very happy and put us 23rd overall.
The final day of racing was less than impressive. We had 2-13 knots of wind and 70 degree shifts. It was anyones race. We had the only race that was run that day and got very lucky to even finish. Some teams were still on their third leg as we finished in 11th.
North Americans was a great event and we are pleased with resule: Marcellini/Englehart 22nd in Gold Fleet, Pacholski/Stapleton 7th in SilverFleet. We are definitely going to do this again next year.