On Christmas Day 2011 I [Patrick Snow, my crew Storm Brown and my dad left for the Open Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami, Florida with the gracious aid of the San Diego Yacht Club Competition Fund. Taking a red eye flight on Christmas night had us arriving in Miami by the day after Christmas and what was also the practice day for the 25 29ers, 20+ Lasers, and 20 I420s. Once at the sailing club we found our boat and promptly began to prepare for what looked to be a nice day of practice and tuning but what turned out to be some light and frustrating winds that were less than desirable.
After an anxious night in the hotel, expecting the fleet to be deep and the conditions trying the next day, we returned to the club to find the wind to be extremely different from the practice day. With 15-17 knots we sailed out expecting an excellent day of racing and we certainly received it. While the conditions couldn’t have been better our boat set up was less than desirable and we found ourselves struggling to pull off some acceptable races. Going into Day 2 the wind again pulled a switch and we were faced with a max of 7 knots for the day, also leading to long and frustrating races but still working hard to place as we did in such a deep fleet. Steadily improving in both days of racing, Storm and I were looking forward to the third day hoping the wind would finally cooperate and steady out, it did but not in the way we had hoped. Being delayed on land for upwards of 3 hours we raced late in the day and close to shore, squeezing out a few more acceptable races to keep us in the top ten in the increasingly difficult conditions. Going in to the last day we were hoping to only improve our scores and be pleased with our sailing. The last day had 3 races scheduled however, due to the light wind, we only managed two but at last they were our 2 most consistent races that we were finally happy with and felt ready to leave the shifty Miami behind.
Orange Bowl 2011 presented one of the greatest learning experiences all year to me and I am extremely grateful for the help of the Competition Fund to provide it to me. The deep fleet and difficult conditions are something not always offered in California and without the help of the Competition Fund this excellent opportunity would not have been an option.