Friday, October 16, 2009

TIREE - Back to sailing after more than 3 months off the water

My reaction when I found out I'd won the 2nd round


Sisterly advice

Thanks as always to Chris Hughes for the shots

So the physio's said I could try and sail Tiree but not to get my hopes up incase the knee swelled up too much after the first session back on the water. Here's how it went:

DAY 1 - Saturday
Firstly, my wonderful sister joined us for the first night on the Island which was super fun.
I was told that the women's would start Monday which gave me Sat and Sun to try sail for the first time and then mega ice my knee in preparation. But we got off the Saturday ferry to find out that they were going to start the heats straight away.

So we headed to Balephuil, and I rigged 5.0 and 4.5; it was marginal planning and 2 waves to count. I had a beautiful new 2010 4.5 Fly to test out and a 5.0 Combat. I was ready ahead of my heat so went and also checked out my new freestyle wave. - The kit was awesome, my knee felt ok during my warm up session, so now I just had to retain body heat on the beach (Which is not easy off the NW Coast of Scotland). All of a sudden I hear a hooter, turn around and the 'heat cancelled' flag was up. Gutted. I was ready, and the judges called to cancel based on the wind dropping off a little too much. Gotta love competition.

DAY 2 - Sunday
Today was the day; a 7.45 am skippers meeting was called, they started with the Men's single elimination and then moved onto the Women's. I rigged a 4.5 and 5.0 again, the wind was really gusty and super light on the inside which left me with a board dilema - 68 litre twinser or 93 litre freestyle wave?? The extra volume will help me get out through the sets, but once on a wave I'll do way better on my twinser.

Right before the heat I made the call to go with the twinser (my favorite!). Since I hadn't done any other events this year I was seeded bottom so had to 'qualify' for the final. It pretty much went wrong from the start; I tacked to come in when the green flag came up but there were no waves in sight....until I gybed to go back out and there was no wind on the inside = nightmare with such a small board. Eventually I managed to get out, and I caught a pretty good wave, got a few turns and finished up with an aerial onto the back of the wave. But the heat was almost over and I needed a 2nd wave to get a decent knee was hurting and as I was heading back out for the 2nd wave, the red flag went up and I knew it was all over.
I finished round 1 last. I was pretty upset because I thought I could have won if I had just made the right decisions.

2 hours later they started the Mens double and another round for the women's. This time I was amped! Luckily Sam Neal rocked up to my rescue with an 82 l real world wave which was the ideal board for these conditions.
I took it out with the 4.5 Fly, got about 3 waves - went for consistency on the first 2 and then an aerial on the last......and I made it through to the final.

I had 16 mins inbetween heats to change streamers and get back up wind (thanks Chris!).
The wind dropped, we all got out and it was FLAT! It felt like a set didn't come through the whole time! I caught a couple of non set waves and tried to make the most of them but I knew it wasn't good enough. I looked at my watch and had 90 seconds left to get back out and find something to make it happen. Time was ticking, I made it out and tacked onto a wave....Joy! IT wasn't amazing, but it was bigger than my first couple. I didn't feel like I'd sailed great but had no idea what the other girls had done either.
When they got us together for the results and announced the winner as ME I was so surprised! Awesome....but at the same time.....doom. Overall this still left me in 4th which really annoyed me. All I needed was another round.

DAY 3 - Monday
No wind.... went for a surf....still no wind.....Need another round! Damnit

Day 4 - Tuesday
No wind - doesn't even look like it's going to get windy :(
Obvious solution is to party - hard
We partied hard but still no wind

Day 5 - Wednesday
Doesn't look windy. Not gonna get windy; feel rough. Caught the flu that everyone else has had. Went for a surf and felt loads better. Ate far to much for dinner.
Forecast is not good at all and I have a flight back to San Diego in a few days time.

Day 6 - Thursday
Decide to leave the Island early and start the mission back to Cali. Shame no more rounds were run, but I suppose I did ok based on the knee, and not having sailed in so long.

Until next time Beautiful Tiree....