The 2010 Star World Championships kicked off today with Race 1 inside the bay in Rio de Janeiro. It only took two attempts to get a clean start right next to the Rio airport with an ebb tide pushing the boats towards the line. With the committee boat end favored in the current, Andrew and I played it safe, starting one third of the way down the line looking for less confusion and some clear air. We found neither, but Andrew did a masterful job of managing traffic and working our way to the right to get out of the current.
To say that the tidal flow inside the bay was confusing would be a drastic understatement. It was easy to be in one knot less current only one hundred feet away from a competitor. As we approached the mark along the starboard tack layline, we thought we were fetching the mark easily until we saw the lead boat stop in their tracks. Only 50 feet from the mark there was a tide line with a two know differential. Needless to say we did not lay the mark, and on our second attempt to round, we were swept into the mark. (The leaders, and countless others made the same mistake.) This double oops cost us 20 places according to a friendly spectator.
Both runs were a game of when to jibe and cross the current line. On the first run we guessed correctly and passed boats, on the second we waited too long and dropped four boats. The second and third beats were all about finding the current eddy that would give you an upwind advantage. World Champions, and locals Torben Grael and Alan Adler both showed the fleet where everyone should have been, passing boats on either side of them.
In the end we finished in a tight battle with the Irish, Germans, Argentineans, and Greeks, all shooting towards the line at the same time. The Greeks we just on our weather hip across the line but we were 12th and they was 16th. One boat length means al lot at the World Champs!