Before this championship I decide to deal with pre race nerves / anxiety or whatever it’s called by consulting Dr. Google. The internet taught me to be careful of, releasing stress hormones into your system as they can be toxic for the brain making for cloudy thinking! Wow, better not get stressed. I had notice I have always started regattas badly even when I was younger racing Moths around the world.
So with my new awareness of stress I started the 3 hr drive down south to Huskinson. During the trip I developed a bad headache down one side of my brain and then pulled up to the Petrol Station and proceeded to put unleaded in my diesel van! So yes I have learnt nothing about controlling stress!!!
We had a great forecast for this regatta, plenty of wind. Saturday we started racing with 11m sails.
This regatta I am using the board that Steve Allen used to win the Australian Titles, The Patrik Formula 4, which takes the formula class to a new level of performance. It is an all new construction produced in Patriks own new Hollow Board factory. Before the regatta I practiced a little to try to get a feel for the Formula 4, it felt very reactive and lively.
I put the mast track all the way forward to settle it down and I use my 70cm Kashy with the Loft 11m. The wind was medium strong and the chop was building but it was manageable.
There are a few things different about this new technology / construction. There is a decompression system which I followed no problem. But I didn’t know to reverse the universal nut in the mast track. As a consequence I was floundering before the first start trying to get it all sorted. I managed to put sunscreen from my legs onto the deck which made it slippery, damn it. My uni popped out of the track, double damn it and as a consequence I didn’t position myself correctly for the start or get going soon enough. So pre race nerves or teething problems, I don’t know. Anyway I brushed myself off and tacked onto port to cross the start line as I wasn’t laying the pin end. I was pretty much in last place over the start line but recovered to finish 5th so in a way I was kind of encourage by that result all things considered.
We had beautiful sailing conditions. I powered up the first work to round the first mark just behind Leo Sharpe. Brett Morris just missed laying the first buoy and had to double tack to get round. This was crucial in points as he finished fourth in this race. Leo was first and I was second.
Conditions had worsened! The chop had built up. Bearing away around the top mark I got catapulted and launched into the air big time. Flying through the air I hear WHACK!! The mast on the board! Oh shit I think as I have quite a long swim back. Inspecting the board luckily I only find a mark on the paint! I am still in it but this has really shaken me up. I sail downwind sheeted out and just cruise. I get another fifth.
Back at the beach I realized my placing of 5,2,5 isn’t going to give me a victory here at the State Titles. After my second place in the Australian Title I did feel I was in contention but sometimes it doesn’t go your way.
I change down to my 9.5m GSR Gun Sail. I have a pretty good start and head out on Starboard, I am the only lonesome sailor to go to the left side. Conditions are pretty wild now and I don’t want to break anything. I can’t look around at all, I am focus on the chop ahead and avoiding the super big steep ones. I get to the first mark; Brett goes around and loves the challenging conditions. Next are Leo and then me. I can’t find anybody else!! I am a little worried the conditions are worsening. I am looking for broken masts but can’t see anything and I have to worry about myself. The other guys actually turned back up the first work probably a wise move. I decided to limp around in last place and get an easy third and this was an excellent decision for me to get the points as it turned out in the end.
We had a fun night at the Husky Pub. The pub is now very upmarket compared to how it used to be. The Raceboards guys were also competing at this regatta. Over the course of the weekend about 6 or so Raceboard guys took the time to explain to me passionately the virtues of Raceboard sailing! :-) That night I stayed with Rick, Kay and Murray and they all made me feel so welcome. Breakfast in the Café was enjoyable but I did notice one of the Raceboard guys there with a smart watch!! My brain couldn’t comprehend how a Raceboard sailor could wear a modern progressive watch like that! My headache was coming back. LOL
Jokes aside the Raceboard and Formula guys are cut from the same cloth and many sail both classes.
Day 2 – Heat 5
The wind had changed direction and was quite strong in the morning however the sea state was much flatter and much easier. I can’t explain my mindset but it was like this, I can’t win the regatta and I’m very tired so I’ll go my smallest sail and fin and take it easy and just enjoy the day. WTF! Before racing I go out with my 9.5m and 67cm Kashy it feels nice and I’m zooming around. As it gets closer to the start time the wind is dropping and the other guys are rigging 11m and 11.5m sails so I man up and rig my 11m Loft sail. Brett starts just to weather of me and I seem to be a little quicker but I have to push really gently on my small fin. I try to foot and keep the speed on my small fin. By the first bottom mark I have opened up a good lead. I tack early and head out to sea, (which Leo said later, ‘you just gifted it to me’). I stuck with it until I reach a wind line and then tacked back. It felt like I sailed a knock out and a knock back. Brett went from third to first as he was most right on the course and Leo overtook me as well. By the top mark I managed to re pass Leo. Brett took off downwind but didn’t observe the middle mark! I wasn’t sure what was going on, did I miss briefing? I was confused, did they lay it for the raceboards only. I went around the mark just in case. Brett actually made a mistake and so retired from the race. So it was me first and Leo second.
The wind was dropping more. At one stage it was quite light. Maybe we can get on the road early. Then some wind came after lunch and it was back on. I now had my 12m and 78cm cut down Kashy fin. I won the race by a huge margin in about 20min and Leo next was about 25min and the race committee remarked they wanted to drug test me! It was a nice compliment. The Patrik Formula 4 is about 10% lighter or in reality 20% than the other boards. I had full power the whole time and getting back on the plane out of tacks and gybes was easy I found.
Brett had some gear failure on the beach and missed this heat. Brett now needed another heat to drop his two DNFs. I for some reason thought Brett was in a battle with Leo for the title. It never occurred to me I need another heat to drop my two 5ths. Brett has 1,1,1, 4, DNF and I have 1, 1, 2, 3, 5.
I went into the race blissfully unaware that if I win I will be unbeatable on points. With zero stress I was very confident of winning the heat after my last race and I was just starting to feel comfortable with the power of the Formula 4 under my feet. I still had my big fin and big sail on and the wind was much stronger now. I did have extreme height options with the excess power and tactically this came in handy squeezing people out. I won the race and Brett was second. After drops Brett finishes the regatta with scores of 1, 1, 1, 2, 4 and I had 1, 1, 1, 2, 3 just one point separated us. I had won the NSW State Championship by a very narrow margin. I only fully realized this as they were calling the names out.
Win or lose I had a great weekend sailing with all the guys. Thanks to all the competitors for the super hard and exciting, tactical and technical and physical racing and to the organisers for a fair and proper regatta.
Overall I have had a great sailing season using the Patrik V2, V3 and now the Patrik Formula 4. There are no bad Patrik boards. I feel truely in my heart this new Formula 4 is something really special and I am really excited to see how it goes in the future events with Steve Allen to me and all the other Patrik riders.
PS If you are considering getting this board make sure your fin maker uses the official Tuttle design drawings (see below). I think some fin makers are making bigger than Deep tuttle. Contact me for more fin info.