Thursday, December 22, 2005

So Far So Good...

I've been sailing since I was a little kid... first on Optimist, then on Laser for many many years, and more recently on different boats including Thistle and 470. But, it was not until this year that I tried out a Match Race...Now, with my first year in the circuit behind me, I decided to put my primary focus in sailing on match racing. This blog is part of that decision. Here, I will post on topics related to match racing and obviously reports from events where I participate.

TUROS1 in Match Racing
TUROS1 is my unique ISAF id. This id allows ISAF to keep track of the performance of skippers that participate in Match Racing or other sailboat races, through a ranking system. I have made my debut in match racing in March 2005 at the UBS Alinghi Swiss Tour. This was an event, sponsored by the infamous Alinghi team, to promote match racing in Switzerland. Acting as a selection event for the swiss sailors to participate at the Swiss Match Racing Championship, the event was well attended by top sailors in Switzerland. Among these good sailors, I skippered a team composed of my sailing friends from the 470 circuit, to finish 10th, tied with two others in front us. Such ties in match racing result from equal amounts of wins and losses, and are resolved by checking the result of matches between skippers that are tied in points.

Despite a little bit of disappointment after this event, I decided to continue with match racing.
For my second event, I formed a team with my former sailing buddies from the Turkish Sailing Team: Alp, Arda, and Kaya. The team worked out great, as all of us were experienced sailors. Alp has been very competitive in the Laser class for many years (competing at '96 Olympics and most recently winning the Italian Nationals), while Arda and Kaya are currently doing a successfull campaign in the Dragon Class. Together we won the Grade 4 event in San Benedetto, Italy... It was great fun! The boats, the location, the organizers, Italy, and the weather were all great. Obviously, us winning made everything even nicer. Despite never sailing together before, the communication in the team also worked out great.

After winning in Italy I was desperate to do more events but it is not an easy task to find the time and the money and then put a team together. Furthermore, it is hard to get invited to events when one is not ranked so high in the skipper rankings. Finally in November, I managed to arrange an event in Brindisi, Italy and sailed with my brothers Cagatay, and Onursal. I don't know if it is the charm of Italy on me, but again everything went great despite a little cold and cloudy weather. We finished 3rd, which was respectable given the presence of a solid Italian crew, winning the event. Anyways, if you want to participate in Brindisi, it is highly recommended.

Trying to get a few more points before the year ended, I found a Grade 3 event in La Rochelle, to attend with my brothers again. Unfortunately the event got cancelled just two days before the announced starting date. This was a pity, since even a bad result here would have give me most needed points in the rankings.

To cut the long story short, I finish my first year on the match race circuit as 261nd in the ISAF Match Race rankings. I think it's a good start. Next year, I hope to keep the momentum and do as many races as possible. Alas, stay tuned for more reports.


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