Bay Area Sailors Racing in Sweden

Bruce Stone of San Francisco wrote on Tuesday to check in from Lysekil, Sweden. His wife, Nicole Breault, is competing in the Women’s Match Racing Worlds. “Her team are waiting ashore to rotate into a boat. There are 12 teams sharing six boats. They are racing in Fareast 28R, a 9-meter-long sprit boat with a large 77 m2 asymmetrical kite. Teams can have four, five or six crew within a weight limit of 340 kilos. It appears that every team consists of a skipper plus four crew. There is a seeding round-robin, where they eliminate four teams and rank-order the remaining teams for the quarter-finals, with the top team racing the bottom team and so forth.”

Boats lined up on the dock
The teams prep the boats at the dock.
© 2019 Bruce Stone

“The opening ceremony yesterday with a parade of athletes from the town square carrying their national banners was followed by speeches, a humorous but obviously meaningful lecture by police chief on avoiding drunk sailing and driving, then an intro of the teams, a public concert, and (for competitors, umpires and race committee) an Asian-fusion vegan dinner.”

Planting the US flag
Nicole Breault, foreground, is the #1 match-racing woman in the US, and #5 in the world. Her Vela Racing crew are Beka Schiff (jib trim), Karen Loutzenheiser (pit and spinnaker trim), Carina Becker (bow) and Ali Blecher (main).
© 2019 Bruce Stone

“Today we are greeted by rain and light wind just under 10 knots. Boats just left the dock for the racing area right off the rocks, which also provide great viewing. The local diving club strung limit buoys to keep the boats out of their training area along the rocks. Apparently, a competitor ran over a diver last year. A pier will come into play, like the Belmont Pier at Long Beach, where a competitor can scrape off a trailing challenger. So teams sailed down to the pier during yesterday’s practice to test laylines to the start.

“The wind is expected to build to mid-teens in the afternoon. Teams might potentially reef, a cause for concern as they have little experience doing this. Some practiced the maneuver yesterday.

“Housing for Nicole and me is a 30-minute walk, which has been enjoyable so far. The commodore lent us a pair of 50-pound three-speed bikes with pedal brakes and kickstands and chains last lubricated with whale oil in the 1950s, so that improved our commute time. But with the impending rain they upgraded us to a new BMW, sort of symbiotic, as it is covered in sponsorship logos. I’m tempted to give them even more publicity value by going on a national road trip and bringing it back on Saturday, but then I’d miss my reportorial responsibilities to Latitude 38, to whom I’m grateful for my press pass.

“When the organizers gave me the keys at 3 p.m., they also made me undergo a breathalyzer test — first time in my life. They take drinking and driving seriously, and in fact the market has 10 kinds of nonalcoholic beer.”

At the end of Day 2, Breault was sitting in seventh place, with four wins and four losses. To follow the action, go to https://lysekilwomensmatch.se/en/home-2-0. Learn more about women’s match racing at www.wimra.org.

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