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(C)update: Observations from Race 1 of Round 3
For complete results see (C)update Daily
The vital Round 3 of the America's Cup challenger trials is underway. With each race giving the victor 9 points, races are vital and standings places changeable. A top 6 finish is every teams goal.
One of the day 1 stories was a change of 6th place. Aloha Racing which debuted USA 50 was one of three teams sailing new boats that scored 9 points wins. Abracabra's win over Spain coupled with Young America's loss to Prada put the Hawaiian team 6th while the New York Yacht Club backed Young America now sits out of the vital top 6.
Abracabra's changes have gotten them one vital win. Young America again made a sailing mistake that cost them a win. They led Prada for the first 2 legs of the 18+ mile course.
On the second beat Young America went to the right leaving Prada uncovered. This was the wrong call as Prada got the shift and sailed ahead. Young America skipper Ed Baird spoke of the decision: "When you are just a little bit ahead of your competitor in a match race you have to take a balance between paranoia and confidence. Today we were overly confident and we should have been more paranoid."
Prada again scores a come from behind win. They have not been dominate but they have not gotten erratic under pressure as other teams have.
One theory that counterbalances Baird's assertion of confidence is that Young America had boat speed doubts and did not want to let Prada get close. That these doubts led Young America to take a tactical risk to gain separation and win on tactics rather than sheer speed.
One of the more curious races saw America One edge the twin keeled Fast 2000 by only 33 seconds. The race was much closer than expected. One factor that kept is close was another blown spinnaker for America One. This is at least the third blown kite for America One. This blow out is evidence that America One's sail program is still lacking and that in general America One is still not fully honed.
Fast 2000's reaction to the close race was honest. Skipper Marc Pajot said: "We were surprised, but we are happy to be surprised like that."
America One chose not to sail its 2nd boat, sticking with USA 49. The three teams with new boats (Abracabra, Japan and Prada) went 3-0.
Scoring a victory with its single boat was Team Dennis Conner. Ken Read skipper of Stars and Stripes sounded a positive note: "Every time you make a change, there is an element of risk involved, but what we saw today certainly validates our thinking. There is no question - the boat is faster now than it was in Round Two."
Round 3 continues with another tough race for reeling Young America. They sail against Japan. Abracadabra will get a test of its changes against America One. America True will debut against Stars and Stripes.
Weather Report: November and Winter Outlook
November in Muskegon started off with snow. However, this was just a test of the snow making equipment as no more snow fell until month end. This lack of snow was evidence of a warmer and drier than normal November.
For the month the temperature was 3.67° above normal. Highest temperature of the month was 67° on the 2nd. The low for the month was 24° on the 4th.
Along with the warmth it was a more dry than normal month. The precipitation norm for Muskegon in November is 3+ inches. November of 199 saw only .87 inches of precipitation.
The average wind speed for the month was 10.2 knots. Windiest day was the 9th with an average of 16.3 knots. The 10.2 knot figure compares to 7.9 in September and 9.8 in October. If you can stand the cold fall in Michigan makes for fine sailing.
Another weather concern is the water level. Most sailors are aware that this summer the water was low causing problems especially in docking. The question is will the water go back up next year?
Current forecasts show that water levels for February through March will be lower than 1998 levels of the same date. Levels are forecast to be down as much as 1 foot.
One of the ways that water levels are affected is through temperature and precipitation. If temperatures are warm and there is little precipitation then water tends to evaporate and not be replaced. November was such a month.
The national weather service outlook for the winter for West Michigan equates to warm and dry. Due to the current La Nina climatological situation forecasters expect at or above normal temperatures.
Precipitation also will be affected by La Nina. Past La Nina winters have seen less lake effect snow and more snow generated by storms. Due to this lakeshore communities such as Holland and Muskegon should see below normal snow, while inland Grand Rapids will likely have near normal snow fall.
For Muskegon the projection is for 80-100 inches of snow as opposed to the norm of 113.5 inches. Temperatures are expected to average 27-31 degrees as opposed to the 26 degree norm.
The projected conditions support the conclusion that lake levels will continue to be below normal and lower than last year.