Brothers Jesse and Zander Kirkland began competing in the 2011 49er North Americans in 15-20 knots + winds out on the Bay, in an exposed area, just south of line between Treasure Island and Angel Island in San Francisco.
Zander Kirkland said, “It was ebbing for the majority of the afternoon, which made for lumpy conditions and put a premium on survival boat handling at times - excess of 20kts with nasty chop will do it. The goal for today's first day of racing was to keep it simple and keep the boat upright. We knew it would be BREEZE ON and so we just wanted to put all the boat handling practice we have done in the past 3 weeks to the test. We knew with all the technique work we did with Ramon that it was in us to do it, but to do it under race conditions is always a whole other deal.”
The fleet is a tight, international fleet of 8 boats, the Kirklands finished in the top half of the results in the four races held, they finished 3rd, 4th, 3rd, and 4.th
Jesse Kirkland said, “We had good speed upwind and were smart about managing about the ebb current for the most part. We also nailed some windshifts and had some nice gainers on some of the fast guys the FIN boat was 11th at last worlds, Team Storck/Moore is Gold Fleet, and CAN 49 is Gold Fleet and past Olympian)!”
“We are getting closer!! The boat handling is continuing to come together, thanks to Ramon, the endless wind to practice in out here and we are nearing a critical mass of 49er sailing hours where boat handling is slowly becoming more natural. We had some real nice tacks out there, where we carried our speed well and had a few solid gybes as well. We also had a few hairy gybes, where we just saved them thanks to a little luck and gutsy athleticism (sometimes that is good enough in a 49er when the course is littered with wiped out 49ers). We will work on these to continue to make these smoother and more in control!! The wave state really complicates matters...in our most hairy gybe, we dug the bow mid gybe and scrambled from there to keep her upright,” continued Zander Kirkland.
Jesse Kirkland concluded, “Goal for tomorrow is the same for today. It's most likely going to be windy again and we will need to continue to execute on the boat handling to get through the Bay's tough conditions.”