April - Palma and Hyeres
Back to back regattas
2 major regattas this month - been pretty full on!
We head back out to Palma to be greeted with some big breeze! Here we go again! A few days of boat prep and sail checking before day 1; and its breeze on. 22 - 28 knots makes for an exciting (and pretty hectic) first day of the regatta. In between the constant spray to the face, I can see flipped boats, mast-less hulls, and flailing limbs in between general racecourse carnage; all to the calming audio of frantic sail ragging. The coach boats have problems of there own so its every man for himself out here!
We couldn’t find any speed on the first upwind as we were so overpowered; this was frustrating as big breeze is usually our element. A squall comes in round the windward mark and we have to do an extremely sketchy 2 sail reach to the next mark. We are clinging onto the side for dear life; getting launched off waves and fighting against spinning out when a gust hits. Communication is not an option as you use any break in the constant waterboarding to get as much air in as possible before the next blasting. Trying desperately to give your teammate the impression that you’ve got it totally under control - a complete lie. Rounding onto the downwind - I took a glance ahead and saw that no-one had hoisted the kite - but Ryan was having none of it! We had to fully commit, put our big boy pants on and go for it! We hoist the kite and start to rip. Complete silence in the boat as we put every ounce of our concentration into staying in the boat.
We are desperately scanning the horizon for yellow marks because a wrong lay line could cost you and extra 2 (possibly lethal) gybes!
But we survived! The fleet picked up a lot of letters on the scoreboard those 2 days, but we managed to come away unscathed with 4 numbers on our score card - success!
We wake up morning of day 3 and it’s immediately evident that our bodies are totally broken from the previous days! The four of us are stumbling around the apartment trying to get our shit together in a semi-daze from fatigue.
We had a bit of a shocker on day 3, just couldn’t get the shifts right.
Day 4 was beautiful plaining conditions but after rounding mark 1 in 5th our main halyard snapped!
But we finished off day 5 with a 2nd (Brit 1-2) leaving on a high at the end of the regatta. Now just the medal race to go.
We held onto our 9th place overall in the medal race, the point jump to 8th was large, so we would have needed a small miracle to move up the results.
Overall, we are very proud of our performance, being one of 2 non-olympic teams to make the medal race was a pretty empowering feeling. We must be doing something right! To be up there racing with 470 legends, the best in the world. It was a really challenging fleet and we proved we are fighting in that top 10!
We had a good break at home for a week - shearing sheep and coaching, before heading out to Hyeres for the French Olympic regatta. All of the top teams from Palma plus one so an even tougher fleet.
A slightly more moderate week of racing in Hyeres - no hurricanes this time! Although days 1 and 2 were 15-20 knots so a full send was again on the cards. A solid start for us; with 3 races in the top 5 and a not so great 4th race.
Day 3 was mid-range conditions and a different direction - we couldn’t get our heads in the game and came away from the day very disappointed with our results.
Day 4 we struggled again in the 1st race. We’re trying not to loose hope and sight of the medal race; then we pulled it out the bag in the 2nd race - with another Brit 1-2 - we’re back in the game! All to fight for tomorrow - we have to move up from 15th overall to top 10 to make the medal race.
Day 5 it is light winds, we’re not to sure how we will perform in this condition as we’ve never raced the top teams in it. We’re giving this race 101% focus as we need a good day to climb up the results. A good start and great boat speed makes our decisions more simple; we are protecting the fleet and keeping our manoeuvres minimal. We round the windward mark in 6th and chip away throughout the race, crossing the finish in second. So we can do it in light winds too! We are quite buzzing about this race, probably the best light wind race we’ve ever sailed. Unfortunately the wind then dropped and racing was cancelled for the rest of the day - a bummer because we were excited to go again. But we have made it up to 9th on the results! Once again, we are racing the top 10 teams in the medal race tomorrow.
We spoiled it with an OCS in the Medal race! I guess we were just a bit too keen..
Despite this disappointment at the end, this regatta has been a bit of a breakthrough for us as we had a good result in every condition; windy, medium and light. We gained confidence in our boat speed and had some huge revelations in our racecraft. So we are going forward into the rest of the year with full confidence that we can continue pushing up well into the very top of the fleet.
Next up we have a month of training and kit testing in Weymouth followed by the summer training in Marseille; alongside most of the fleet.
Upcoming events …
Olympic test event - The Hague, 10-21 August
Europeans - Turkey, 10-18 September
Worlds - Israel, 21-29 October
All our events and event websites are linked on our website:
This year we will be doing update videos that will be posted on the highlights page of our website each month so you can see what we’re getting up to.
This month, we have put a large portion of our budget into new sails. We have been through 3 sets this year already and will be needing 3 more for the upcoming events. If anyone would like to contribute to a set of sails (£3,200) it would be MASSIVELY appreciated.
Please please share this with anyone who you think might be interested; they have the chance to help our team go to the Olympic Games! We need the funds now more that ever to get that jump over our competition. We have a new boat on order for June which will use up half of our funding for the year.
We are immensely grateful to everyone who has been supporting us, you support and encouragement means a lot to us and gives the confidence to keep fighting! Not long now until our Olympic trials!
As always, any contribution to travel, accommodation, entry costs (etc) will be massively appreciated and will go along way!
If you want to help us out on our journey to Paris 2024 or want to chat, then please give us a call!
Vita – 07586349225
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
For some gnarly pics and updates on our progress, check out:
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