Friday, February 24, 2012

WISSA 2012: Day 4 - Team USA Holding Its Own

We were only able to run three slalom races on the cleared ice today due to light wind that didn't kick up until late afternoon. But I did see some results yesterday and of the results so far and am pleased to report that the U.S. wing team has some contenders among the top ten in the course racing and slalom disciplines. In course racing, Mike McCaffrey is currently in 5th place and Annie Tuthiil is in 8th. Just below the top ten category, Annie's dad Will Tuthill is running in 11th and this writer is currently at 12th

In short-track slalom, Mike McCaffrey is in 3rd place, Annie Tuthiil in 8th, and the Captain here has broken into the top ten category for the first time at a WISSA event running in 10th place.

The more races we run, the better we get. In today's action, young Ms. Tuthill got the jump on all four of her co-competitors in one race to finish second ahead of Sweden's Lars Fromell with his 9 square meter draksegl, losing only at the last mark to another of the Swedes, Peter Klingvall, arguably the fastest wing/skate sailor at the event.

In the next race I started at the bottom (downwind) end of the line but was able to pull off a good start and stay ahead of the four, including Mike M. and two of the Swedes to win the heat. No one is more surprised (or insufferably pleased) then I.

To give a little perspective on all this : Lars Fromell has been skatesailing since 1972. Skatesailing is to Sweden as is baseball to America. For us to compete with them at this level is something of a miracle, truth be told, and I'm pretty sure we aren't seeing their very best here. But I do believe we are beginning to lay the foundation for a truly competitive U.S. team. The Ice Spirits know I'm probably too much of a worn out old surf bum for this sort of game but there might be some younger folks out there to whom we old schoolers might pass the torch. For now I am very proud and happy with our results so far. There is no shame in being overmatched in fair and honest competition and if you can't be best you can always strive to be better. For my part, the day I stop striving will be the day I die.

Tomorrow if the wind permits we will complete our course racing and maybe even run a few more slalom races because the Swedish team wants to race us some more. And I want to race them some more because every time I do I learn something.

One more day to spend on the ice with old and new friends and co-competitors. Can it be be ending so soon? Aw, come on! Do we have to go now? We were just starting to have fun.....


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