Wide world of DN racing in Wisconsin
Published on January 23rd, 2023
In advance of the DN World and North American Championships in the USA, incoming weather with a snow-rain mix made site selection tricky. Ultimately Lake Kegonsa was chosen over Lake Winnebago and Lake Petenwell in Wisconsin and Lake Pepin in Lake City, MN for the racing on January 22-28. Here’s the day one report from Karen Binder:
The day started with light winds and it made qualifying races a bit trickier for many…as the breeze would come down different sides of the course at different speeds. You really had to get your head out of the boat to see how the other half of the fleet was faring on the other side of the course.
Given the size of the fleet, about 100 racers, the race committee divided us into three fleets: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Those with world rankings of about 25 or above where automatically placed into the gold fleet. Given three years of COVID, the DN rankings have not been updated since 2020 as that was the last time the DN worlds occurred and if you did not race in 2020 you lost your ranking.
This means many of the experienced fast sailors were placed into the bronze fleet and had to qualify into the silver fleet, and then if they placed in the top 12 of that race, were moved up to gold. My ranking of 39 put me into the silver fleet, but still offered the chance to qualify into gold.
For any qualifier, everyone is randomly assigned a starting position on the line. I gulped when I saw my assignment was 42. That’s so far down the starting line the guy next to me said, “I think we are in Iowa.”
I was determined not to freak out. I waited for the flag to drop, pushed, and ran as hard as I could. The wind on the left side was not great, but I built speed and tacked over in clear air. After that it was just keeping my speed up and grinding boats down both upwind and downwind.
I had selected my FO Sail, my 100 degree minimum Ts, and put in super soft battens. I know they helped in the lighter wind areas of the course. I finished 9th which meant I officially qualified for the Gold Fleet in my very first Worlds. I now am the little fish in the big pond. Gulp!
The Race Committee then called for the first Gold Fleet race. I was assigned spot 35. I had a really good start and my mast popped out quickly. The first rounding I was mid-fleet. My second windward leg, I must have been in some amazing puff and the right phase of a shift as I was around the windward mark in the top ten. Seriously!
I held my own downwind, but lost some speed at the second leeward mark rounding. That’s where the wind got weird and I went into the mode of tacking too much in order to chase more wind. That was dumb and it cost me a lot of places. By the end, I finished in 18th place. I am thrilled and excited for more racing tomorrow.