Thursday, June 14, 2012

Leg 1 Summary: Top Ten List

Back by popular demand is the top ten list summary for the day.  So here we go….
1.     1.   Big Dogs Rule and Little Dogs Drool:  The Big Dogs, John Casey and John Tomko, ruled the roost yesterday as they battled for the top spot leaving the Little Dogs (everyone else) to battle it out for the other spots.  How did they do it?  Here’s how.  Casey left the beach and soaked it very low downwind.  This forced Tomko to match his move.  The rest of the fleet started to head higher.  I saw an opportunity and decided to put on accelerator and head bit higher and hope for a shift later in the day.  This strategy also allowed me to cover the rest of the fleet (and guarantee the third spot).  The shift never happened and the deep low strategy paid off for the Big Dogs.  They opened a window of opportunity for the Little Dogs and we tried it but in the end we were left drooling at their finish times.
2.     2.  Running Across the Finish!  Besides sailing, I am also a runner.  Today, I needed my running skills to finish the race!  As we came into the finish at Mustang Island, the surf had gotten pretty big.  One of those big boy waves gave the boat a big kick and the next thing I know I was swimming.  The boat sailed away with Juke trying to save it but with it wildly out of control.  He almost made it to the finish before the boat went over.  He got close enough to drag the boat over the finish line.  However, we were not done.  I had to finish so I started to swim hard.  Lucky for me, the Bay Watch Babes, Stephanie Smith and Robbin Baker, came running out for the rescue.  As they neared, I found my footing and sprinted across the finish line. It was a classic “Showtime” finish!
3.       3. Media Gone Wild:  How about a shout out to boys running the media for the event.  Thanks to Jeremy Leonard, John Williams and Jorge Trevino for making everything work with the live streaming and updates to Facebook!  Keep it coming boys. 
4.       4. Roasting in the Parking Lot Pays Off:  This race is a lot about the work you put in before the event starts.  On Monday, we went for a sail and when we got back in, we had a bit too much water in the hulls so on Tuesday we did a leak check in the parking lot at the Tiki’s.  The check revealed that a screw for an eye strap had pierced into the dagger board well.  John Tomko was very helpful in fixing this problem.  When we got that fixed, we found another problem with a missing washer on a foot strap.  We ended up fixing this at 3 pm in the afternoon in the Tiki parking lot where it was probably hitting about 120 degrees.  It was painfully hot and a miserable job but it paid off – no water in the hull.
5.      5.  Driving with the Brakes On:  It was a classic wind day yesterday.  It started at around 10 and built to about 20 with good wave action.   As the wind built later in the afternoon, the boat started to really take off down the backside of the waves.  If you let the boat get going too fast, when you hit the bottom of the trough, you really dug in and the boat slowed way down.  So, it became a game of chicken – get the boat going fast but not too fast and by god head down as you went down the backsides of the waves.  I got greedy a few times and we had some pretty good stuffs.  It was great fun!
6.       6. The Old Dogs:  I have lots of respect for Team Dallas being out on the race course once again in some pretty tough conditions.  John Webster is 65 and Steve Foxall is 63.  They may have come in last but they were out there and finished!  At their age, just making it is a great accomplishment!
7.       7. C2 Rules:  I am sailing a new C2 this year and I am really impressed with the speed of the boat.  The C2 took 3 of the 4 top positions and probably would have had 4 of the top 5 if Bo Kersey had not flipped his boat (a few times) near the finish.  We battled it hard all day with Philippe and Beuerlein of Quicksilver also on the C2.  And of course, Tomko drove the C2 to first place in the first leg.
8.       8. Baby of the Beach:  My crew, Juke Ball, became a new father last fall and his little baby boy, Lux, is joining us on the race with his mother Jonna Rose Ball.  The little boy is having a great time.  What kid can’t have fun at the beach with all that sand to try eating!
9.      9.  Thanks to the Sponsors:  We are a bit down on the number of boats this year so we really needed the support of the sponsors.  A really big thanks to Zhik and for coming in as Silver sponsors at the last minute.  It is the sponsorship money that allows us to bring the race to you live.
10. The Monster:  I call leg 2 the Monster.  After sailing 100 miles on leg 1, you turn around and have to sail another 100 mile leg.  However, this leg is often more reachy and really tests your sailing abilities.  Also, it is along desert coast line so there is no safe harbor if a problem happens.  We take on the Monster today.

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