No two days were similar at the 2015 Olympic Test Event. Whether we were outside in almost 16 feet waves or in Guandabara Bay with the current ripping; we fought and battled back each race. The first day of the event, we found some good upwind speed making our tactical decisions much easier, sailing with the fleet for both races. We ended the day in second place, a blue bib that we would see a lot for the rest of the regatta.
The following day, the 470s were scheduled for the naval school course inside the bay. With an island right in the middle of the entrance, current lines and changes in depth are extremely important and quite difficult to read. After completing a keeper race the first one with a third place, the current switched making the right hand side extremely favored and all the fleet fighting for starting at the boat. Many general recalls later, the race finally began, but we started late off the line and had a battle for the rest of the race. Boats that were able to tack off the line right away were launched, leading by minutes at the first mark, while the group behind were all quite close. We rounded the top mark in 12th place, but within striking distance to many. Our downwind speed caught us up to the group and great local knowledge on the second beat allowed us to pass 6 boats to once again get a keeper of 6th place!
Light breeze was forecasted for the rest of the event and we were prepared to wait onshore. After a day and a half of postponement, we headed outside in a dying sea breeze for one race. We battled it out with the top group for most of the race, and took a little risk on the last run, which paid off and we ended the day in second place. Carrying forward our momentum from that day, we were ready for a full on day with three races scheduled. Strong breeze was forecasted on all websites, but as we headed out to the course, we were met with swell and light air on a course area we had never raced on before. There was a massive current line in the middle of the course, but no one on our team knew which way it would move or had a strong gut feeling about which side would pay. The game plan was to play the fleet and use our power of upwind boat speed to keep within striking distance for the downwind. The plan worked, starting the day off with two thirds. We struggled on the starting line and that came back to bite us in the third race where we were forced to tack off the line right away and ended up getting pin ponged in the middle of the racecourse. Once again we had to play catch up to the front group. With a great second first beat, we finished in 7th, which our coach called a regatta saver later on in the debrief.
We entered into the last day of fleet racing during the event in second place and three points back of first. We had a decision to make there and then, do we secure second place and force the New Zealand girls back in the standings? Or do we go for a good race and see if we can close the points for the Gold Medal? Turns out neither went according to plan. Off the line, we had great speed, but not enough to cross the fleet and hook into the first righty. Both the British and Kiwi girls got the shift and were ahead of us at the windward mark. The naval course was not done with us yet though. With a tricky second beat we lost a bit of distance and ended up sailing our throw-out of the event finishing in 8th place. Points were close for the medal race and we were extremely happy how we sailed the opening and final series of the regatta!