23 September 2008

Shields Cup Commentary from Mike Dybvik KP' 10

The Shields Cup over the weekend of September 20-21st was somewhat of a success for the USMMA team. The crew of 8 had no experience on the Navy 44’s but, having heard of the legacy of these historic boats from teammates and coaches, by the first race the crew was well prepared to put the boat through its paces in any series of races. Focusing on speed and maintaining the momentum of the heavy boats became a major point for both the beats and the runs and at the end of the first race, with a finish of 2nd, the crew felt well prepared to push harder in the next races. The second race confirmed this and yielded a finish of 1st place. The final race of day 1 became a light air battle that, unfortunately for USMMA, did not yield the results they were looking for. USMMA had a tough start and ended up at the back of the fleet, but with the near flawless crew work and M/N Branning’s focused driving the team managed to claw its way to a 7th place finish. That put the team tied for points with California Maritime in 2nd place. SUNY had run away with the points and was in clear first.
Forecasts for day 2 were bleak with any race-able weather looking to be far off, but just before the 1300 cut off a light southeasterly filled in and the race committee blew the warning signal. Knowing that speed was still the name of the game, the engine was rumbling until 10 seconds before the preparatory signal at which point the jib was hoisted and the next four minutes were spent focusing on keeping the boat at max speed. Just after the one minute signal Coast Guard overtook USMMA to leeward and, after maintaining all their speed, the faster USMMA boat was set to crash right into C.G’s transom. USMMA ducked below C.G. and was unable to make it to the line with C.G. taking all their air. A brief press to gain speed and a tack onto port brought USMMA out to the right side of the course, where most of the boats ended up going. The breeze remained light all day and after an early tack in towards the center of the course did not pay off, the final two tacks of the beat were painful and slow in the diminishing breeze. The run was painful and slow and attempting to work up enough speed to overtake boats became an option that diminished more and more as the finish line approached. The final finish of 7th place was disappointing but the USMMA team returned to the dock with their minds already prepping for the Macmillan cup on the 25th of October. The overall finish of 3rd was admirable enough and made only sweeter as both Coast Guard and Navy were behind KP in the standings.
The crew consisted of M/N Ben Reavis on the bow, M/N Paul Hunsader on the mast, M/N Knut Erik Dybvik and M/N Josh Johnston covering the pit. M/N Logan Kolterman and M/N Derrick Cherico trimming the massive genoa with M/N Michael Dybvik on the mainsail and M/N Chris Branning at the helm.

No comments: