Hi Guys, here is an update from the Africans in Maputo
First and foremost the team is in great spirits. The kids are having loads of fun. Team management have been efficient and Claire is doing a first class job as coach.
Conditions have been challenging, with strong wind, steep, short chop and tidal flows to deal with. The resilience and enthusiasm of our sailors has amazed me. They are all fired up each morning and come off the water beaming each day.
Tide is definitely a factor. On day 1 in race 1 the out going tide was against the wind, hence all the black flags. During race 2 tide was slack and in race 3 tide was with the wind making the weather mark rounding sports. Yesterday the wind swung around from NE to S and wind was with tide in the race. It will be similar today.
The bay is shallow. Max depth on the race course around 5m and some boats reported hitting sand banks with their boards in the beat on day 1. Chop is short and sharp. Hard work upwind with proactive body movement needed. Downwind awesome surfing but always a risk of burying the nose in the wave in front. This has happened quite frequently with the light sailors in strong wind.
Matt Ashwell has been outstanding, securing four firsts in the four races completed so far. He is fast, strategically and tactically astute. Ingrid Holm has sailed a solid regatta so far, and is handily placed to compete for first girl. The Mozambican sailor Denise Parruque is having a great regatta and once she gets to discard her black flag from the first race will comfortably lead the girls, with Ingrid in second. However one more mistake from Denise and Ingrid is waiting to pounce.
Sean Kavanagh and Jude Stanley are placed just outside the top 10. Both light sailors, are doing remarkably well. With lighter winds forecast for the last two days of individual racing, they should be top 10 contenders.Karl Hofmeyer is similarly well placed, assuming he gets to discard his black flag in race 1 and mysterious DNF (he crossed the line 8th) from yesterday.
Rohan Childley, Oscar Duys, Lena Holm and Chiara Fruet will all be looking to break into the top 20 when individual racing resumes tomorrow.
Today is team racing. The wind is still in the South, but has moderated overnight, with around 16 knots expected. SA have two teams entered, the heavy weights: Matt, Karl, Chiara, Ingrid and Oscar and the Light weights: Jude, Rohan, Lena and Sean. After an entertaining team racing seminar by the legendary Chris Atkins last night, the teams are fired up and raring to go.
Michael and Heidi Kavanagh
A few comments on the conditions in Maputo. For the last two days the wind has been 18-20 knots NE. Sailing has been on an incoming tide. The water depth is between 1.5-4m. As the wind builds a short steep chop develops. Current / drift is around 2 knots in the direction of the wind. Sailing upwind takes great skill to keep the boats moving through the chop. For each wave the sailor needs to find the right combination of hiking, moving the body back and forth, sheeting and steering. All while thinking about their position relative to other boats and the wind. Great skill building!
Downwind is a blast, ride the waves one to the next. Again skill is needed to catch and stay on the waves and to move quickly from one wave to the next. Miss a wave and the boat next to you shoots passed. Physical and mental fitness and strength will be tested this week if the conditions persist. Low tide at 12:23 today with a tidal height of 0.53m. High tide 18:28, 3.48m. As we move through the week towards neaps, tidal range will fall. Morning sailing will be on an outgoing tide, early afternoon slack and late afternoon on an incoming tide.
A parting comment on conditions is that it was very difficult to drive a RIB upwind at anything more than fast idle yesterday due to the steep short chop. Hope this puts all the virtual sailors in the picture.