November 02, 2010

Guest Blogger: Justin Stangel Recaps His First Race in New Zealand

Today was the third day of World Championship racing and our first day to race. On the first day of the event they only ran 5 races, as the wind that had been held at bay finally came into town and with some force. We had practised in the conditions and needless to say it was a bit dicey for us in small boats but the bigger boats seemed ok. It was a bit tricky docking because you were in a direct cross of white caps that would either slam your shell into the dock or blow you too far on the downwind side for a coach to catch you without some athletic movements. After Sunday though racing has been run very smoothly with the regatta sending all of Sunday and Mondays racing down, with one minor slip up in the starting signals in the final adaptive race. Needless to say everyone was a little impressed.

As for today we went out for a light swing row before racing started, which is pretty easy here because races start pretty late in the day so you don't have to wake up early (there is a reason for this, we were told that racing cannot happen between 9-10 because the sun is directly opposite the finish line tower and it messes up the high speed camera for close races). By the end of the day everyone would have raced to one degree or another with the final heats starting today. Our race went down just after 11:15 and conditions were fast with a solid tailwind blowing and not much chop, if it weren't for the cold water there would be world best times for sure. We had a decent race with a fast start, it is interesting racing just for lanes with the outcome not having much significance except maybe psychological and maybe with lanes depending on who you talk to. With that being said it was tight racing - all crews were within 3 seconds and us on the back end of that. On to Saturday and the real race where everyone will be faster.

The rest of the week has been the talk today with the weather predictions coming in that Thursday and Friday might be really bad with a major storm supposedly coming. We might see some schedule adjustments to compensate for this, but there are about 100 different responses to what that might be. Team USA is still in high spirits after racing, with everyone still in the mix and looking to keep showing improved speed as semis and finals start working their way forward.

I hope everyone is doing well back home in the USA. It still feels a bit odd that worlds are after HOCR let alone Halloween.

On to faster times


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