August 22, 2007

day 8, china pre-olympics: Although the start to my regatta wasn’t great I turned my results around in the second half after making some changes to my set up. I scored 3 third paces in the final 3 races before the medal race today to qualify seventh.

The medal race today was a change in conditions with big waves and 15-18 knots of wind. My race didn’t really change to much as I was 4th round the first mark and 3rd across the finish line to win the second half of the regatta but the bad start in the first 4 races stopped me from moving up the ladder.

The real race was for the medals with Ben Ainslie being over at the start and having to return leaving the Croatian (the only sailor able to catch him and win the regatta) to sail off with the fleet. The Croatian was dueling with me for 3rd and 4th with 50m to the finish line while Ben was back in 8th place. This meant if the Croatian was able to beat me across the finish he would win the regatta. So at 50m before the finish we both caught a big wave and I surfed down the inside of him about half a length ahead then as he came up on my quarter wave he capsized. This then left Ben the overall winner followed by the Norwegian and Dutch guys with the Croatian dropping forth overall.

For me, four straight thirds in the last 4 races of the 8 sailed was really pleasing and to have the lowest score in the second half of the regatta was nice. I’m looking forward to going home for a while and having a break before the summer season starts. The rest of the NZL team has finished well with all making the medal race and winning medals in the RSX , Radial, and Star.

August 17, 2007

day 3, china pre-olympics: Well the regatta started 3 days ago and we have sailed 1 day and had two races in 7-10 knots of wind. Both races I felt I was really fast across the course and just didn’t take the right options leaving me with a 7th and 17th. This isn’t the ideal start to a regatta that will be most likely be short in races due to the lack of wind. However with the tricky conditions and good speed I have I will just have to string a few good ones together to get back in the hunt. Today the rain has been thundering down and has now reduced to a light drizzle but it hasn’t done anything for the wind. Fingers crossed we will be able to go sailing today but right now its not looking too good. If we don’t sail today it will be the third day of four that we haven’t sailed due to a lack of wind.

August 15, 2007

day 1, china pre-olympics: Since arriving in China we have been able to sail most days at some point of the day. The weather has ranged from heavy flooding, rain and thunderstorms to sweltering humid heat with no wind. The NZ team is well organized with air-conditioned containers and close accommodation that we can ride bikes to and from the venue. The bikes we are all riding are brand new that most of us haven’t paid more than $35 for at the supermarket. I’m not sure how long they will last but mine is still going from last year so it may even hang in there for one more year.

Today the forecast was for 7 knots at best and the most we saw was 4 knots for a short period of time. We sat out on the water for 3 hours before racing was called off for the day. I did some testing with a couple of sailors which went well and I felt good about my speed so the day wasn’t waisted and learnt few little things to get a bit more out of the boat. With some luck we will race tomorrow as the forecast looks a little more promising, but who really knows here?

August 2, 2007

Yesterday I received a phone call from YNZ Olympic Director Rod Davis to say that I had been selected for the 2008 Olympic Team in the Finn Class.

This News has come just 4 days before I go to China for the Pre Olympic Test event that will be sailed at the Olympic venue. Like the Olympics countries can only send just one representative in each class. The regatta starts on the 14th August giving me 5 days to train on the Olympic course area. In this time I will be able test a few new things that I have been working on over the last year which are specific for China conditions.

Having being selected early I will now enable me to prepare for the Olympics without having to worry about going to Europe next year and trying to peak for 2 or 3 regattas and then again for the Olympics. China will require totally different sails and masts but as well physical preparation for the predominantly light winds. This is different to what I would sail in Europe.

Talk to you from China...

July 12, 2007

final day, cascais world championships: Yesterday my race wasn’t what at all that fun or good. When things aren’t going your way then they aren’t going your way. With just one race to sail the race committee managed to drag it out to a full day while the breeze shifted round. We did get a start after waiting 4 hours for the breeze. The wind was as fickle as ever with the current reading as strong as a spring tide on Auckland harbour.

I started on the right hand side of the course that was looking OK but never fantastic then after a few tacks and half way up the breeze died and clocked 35 degrees to the left. This wasn’t too good for me and I had 5 boats behind me at the first mark. As the race progressed I climbed my way back to 7th but on the final run to the finish I tipped out and crossed the line a very frustrating 17th. Overall I was 16th and pleased to see the regatta finished, as are many sailors who like me didn’t do well here.

I will now fly home to Auckland for three weeks before going to China for the Pre Olympics in early August. I would like to thank all the people who have helped me this European season and especially Nathan Handley who has been with me coaching me for nearly the whole time.

July 10, 2007

day 5, cascais world championships: Today on the Finn course we had 15-20 knots with big waves. Unfortunately for me, I just never really got into a position to get the good results I needed. I had a 13th and 12th place, which puts me in 15th overall and guarantees that New Zealand is qualified in the Finn Class for the Olympics. Tomorrow we have our last race. I am just 6 points from 11th overall which is the best I can do given that I haven’t made the medal race. We will sail just one race tomorrow and then start the big pack up of loading of containers to send all the gear back to NZ. There will be four 40 foot containers full of NZ coach boats and Olympic gear that all needs to be packed and sent in the next few days. With some luck tomorrow, I can have a good last race to finish off the regatta on a good note.

July 9, 2007

day 4, cascais world championships: No racing today due to the 25- 35 knot breeze blowing on the race course. For me this is going to make my job really tough tomorrow with only two races to sail before the medal race. I need to catch 12 pts to make the medal race (top 10). It would have been nice to have sailed 4 races before the medal race but it looks like I will have to do it in two races.

July 8, 2007

day 3, cascais world championships: Today out on the far course we had 30 knots of wind and plenty on going downwind in the big waves.

Race 1 my start wasn’t the best but after the first few shifts I had managed to get myself into 4th place round the first mark. Things stayed close with the top five most of the way round as the course became a one way track. I managed to pass third on the final run which was a solid 25-30 knots making it nice to just get to the bottom with out tipping out, So third in that much breeze was great as it was the first time in that much breeze I have really felt like I was as fast as anyone else.

Race 2 I had a great start half way down the line. I tacked after 1 min to get to the favoured right hand side but left my tack about 30 seconds to late as I couldn’t cross the fleet if I had tacked earlier I would have crossed. However things still looked good till about 3/4 of the way to the starboard lay line when the wind shifted right as it did in race 1. I rounded the first mark 14th and gained a few over the next lap to round the final top mark 10th. Down the final run I made a mistake and got caught on the wrong side of the course, three boats got past me and I crossed the finish 13th.

Overall I am 18th and have closed the gap on the top 10. Tomorrow is a lay day then we will sail 4 races in Gold and Silver fleets (Gold top half overall Silver bottom half) then the top ten will sail the medal race on the final day.

July 7, 2007

day 2, cascais world championships: Today the Finn class had a late start, The wind was shifting up to 35 degrees and changing between 5- 20 knots (really great conditions). However in all the wisdom of the race officers we started a race that had everything. Up the first beat I started at the windward end and tacked early to right hand side of the course. After a short time I tacked back onto starboard and found another lane to windward to tack again and back into the right. As the beat progressed I could see that the boats on the far left had up to 20 knots and were lifted 20 degrees higher than us in just 10 knots of wind. So I stood up in my boat and had a really good look at the breeze and decided to cut my losses and cross behind half the fleet to the left. In doing so, I had lost heaps of boats however when I got to the pressure line and the shift I was able to take all my loses back to round the first mark 15th. At the start or the race the free pumping flag was up and as we went down the first reach the Canadian who had no idea of what was going on was given a yellow flag from the umpires for pumping. After that everyone was a little unsure down the run if the flag was up or down. I had a bit to catch up and was sure I was allowed to pump and rock, so I gave it heaps and gained. Each leg I was able to gain and got right back with the leaders till I was becalmed at the top mark for the third time just 50m from it. This was really frustrating and I ended up 9th. Just the one race sailed as the race officer decided that the conditions had become unfair to do a second race.

July 5, 2007

day 1, cascais world championships: Today the breeze was a light 5 knots and shifting up to 40 degrees when we arrived at the starting area that was 4 miles from where we launch. After being postponed for an hour and a half, the yellow fleet started, then my start (blue fleet) got underway in 15 knots of wind. The current was running at 4 boat lengths per min right to left at the start and almost as strong from the reverse direction; left to right at the top mark which made for a interesting first beat as we didn’t really know where it changed on the course.

Race One: I started at the committee boat end of the line and tacked almost straight away. After 1 -2 minutes the breeze shifted 20 degrees and I tacked and crossed the fleet. Now I was on the windward side of the fleet, however the current was so strong that the boats beneath me were being pushed up under me forcing me to tack back towards the unfavoured left hand side of the course. I lost a lot of boats due to the current. From there the remainder of the race became very much a one-way course and it didn’t allow for many passing lanes. I finished 11th in that race.

Race 2: I had much the same start and the breeze was a good 20-25 knots. I basically protected the right hand side of the course and rounded the first mark in 3rd. Once I had rounded the mark and I had just gotten settled, when I fell down the side of a wave and the boat capsized on top of me. After a few words in my best French and I had got the boat upright, I had only 3 boats behind me!!! The one-way course didn’t make it easy to catch up much but I did manage to get back to 22nd.

This wasn’t how I would have liked to start the regatta, but that’s how it was, so onwards and upwards it is. My sail also started to pull apart in the top seam making the sail a little full in the top but with some luck I can have it repaired tomorrow while I sail with my spare.

June 20, 2007

Kiel Week Medal Race: I finished third overall after a second in today’s medal race. The wind was a similar condition to last year, an onshore breeze of 10 knots with huge washing machine style waves caused by all the spectator and coach boats. I started at the pin end and wanted to go left which all worked out and I rounded the first mark 2nd behind the Spanish boat. Down the run not too much changed but as we went up the second beat I went towards the right hand side with the Croatian when we tacked and got lifted 10 degrees and had extended on the rest of the fleet. I was still in second at this stage and it stayed much the same until the final down wind when I caught the Croatian to cross the finish just half a boat length behind him.

Overall:
1st Slovenia
2nd Croatia
3rd New Zealand
4th Australia

Nathan and I will drive tomorrow towards Cascis in Portugal were the World Championships are being held starting on the 3rd July. It is 2800 km and we should be able to do it in 2-3 days.

June 19, 2007

Kiel Week Day 4: Today was the final day of the qualifying before the medal race and was sailed in 5 knots of wind. The Finns just had one race and which I sailed not to good. After a great start at the pin end I was able to tack onto port and cross the fleet. I sailed for about 2 mins to the right hand side before choosing to go back to what I thought was the favoured left hand side. However after crossing the fleet and getting to the left I was then lifted 15 degress and not looking so flash anymore. From there things didn’t really get any better and although I gained a few I never got back in the race. Overall I will be 3rd or 4th as there are a few problems with the results at the moment but whatever it ends up I will have a close medal race tomorrow.

June 17, 2007

Kiel Week Day 2: Today we sailed 3 races each 75 minutes long with a beat to the finish that made it a good work out for the legs. In race one I had a great start but struggled to hold my lane in 10 knots of wind however after being bounced from tack to tack for while I managed to get back in the race. I started a come back in the shifty conditions that at each mark rounding I gained places. On the final beat to the finish I was able to slide into 4th across the line.

Race two was again a good start but the breeze had built to 15 knots and looked like it would continue to increase. I sailed the whole race in the top 5 and on the final beat when the breeze was now 20 knots I was able to take 2 boats and cross the finish in 2nd.

Race three was going all quite nicely until about 200m from the first mark when the breeze clocked 30 degrees to the right and boats came reaching from behind into the mark. I rounded 18 maybe but after a good downwind I was back in the top 10. On the second beat I had sailed into 7th.and stayed seventh till the final beat. There was a breeze line on the right was about 1 mile from us but really strong. The fleet split and three of us decided to go for the new breeze. I decided that I would tack early and cross back with the fleet and just 1 boat from Slovenia went hard out to the right and he went from 10th to first. I closed right up to the leaders but was only able to finish 5th.

Today wasn’t too bad day given the tricky conditions and to sail the last 2 races in 15-20 knots was nice. The body is felling it now after the last few months of light air regattas and we haven’t been hiking for a while. Overall I am second place.

June 16, 2007

Kiel Week Day 1: Today started it true Kiel fashion with pouring rain, cold and some wind. As the day progressed the rain stopped and so did the wind but it was still cold. Racing began at 2pm and we were to sail two races but due the fickle conditions just one race was sailed.

I thought I was over at the pin end of the start line so I returned to restart but apparently I wasn’t. The 3 boats around me were all OCS so it wasn’t a bad decision to go back. However it didn’t do much for my first beat and I rounded the first mark in 12th, which was ok given the start. On the first downwind I was able to pass a few boats to round the mark in 9th. As I went up the second beat I gained on the right hand side but as the wind was swinging left I crossed and went to the left hand side. Although the wind shifted left in my favour the boats on the right had more wind and were able to cross back in front again towards the top mark. During the final run to the finish the breeze completely crapped out. Two boats who were back in the fleet went the opposite side of the course and sailed round the leading group and I managed to pass one other to cross the finish line 9th. Not the best start to the regatta but we have lots of racing still to go and it’s a good chance to try some new things and equipment.

June 9, 2007

European Championships Medal Race: Well today I made a meal of the regatta in 6-7 knots. At 1 minute 30 seconds before the start I had third placed Greek pinned outside the pin end of the start. He tacked onto port and sailed straight into me. I protested and he was given a penalty but I really thought it was a black flag incident as he was able to get clear of me and back to the starting area by making the incident. In the match racing rule you wouldn’t do such a thing as the penalty has to be taken after the start. But in team racing and fleet racing you can complete your penalty before the start. Some umpires say its part of the game and others say it’s a professional foul. But it’s something that could change the game. Anyway I started and was over at the start so I returned to the start and by the first mark I was back to 5th place. However I infringed at the top mark and had a penalty to do that put me in last place. At the bottom of the run I was 9th and really close however not much changed up the beat and I crossed the finish 10th after taking a bit of a risk on the final run to try and take a few boats but it didn’t really work and I lost.

Overall I was disappointed in my performance at this regatta as I felt that I had every opportunity to win. All the way through I made some really bad unforced errors that cost me big time. However the positives are that I am really fast in the light conditions and if I can put it together then I can win regattas. Results are not up yet but I’m either 8th or 9th overall. We will drive to Kiel tomorrow and with some luck we will get some breeze to learn to sail in some wind before the Worlds.

June 8, 2007

European Championships Day 5: Two races today in 12-8 knots and I had some really good moments and some not so good ones. Race one: I was 11th after climbing back from 15th. Race 2 was like a roller coaster and I did some really good things gaining both up and downwind but on the final beat when I was 5th I didn’t protect the left hand side enough and lost 15 boats to finish 17th. Overall I am 4th going into the Medal race tomorrow. I cannot get to 1st or 2nd but I can get 3rd or finish as far back as 9th or 10th.So we will just have to wait and see what happens but today’s final beat and yesterdays OCS have proved very costly.

June 7, 2007

European Championships Day 4: More of the same conditions today 6-7 knots from the same direction. In race one I had a good race and rounded the first mark in 4th. Down the run I gained 2 boats to round the bottom mark in second. Not too much changed in the shifty second lap until the final run when I was passed by one boat then on the reach to the finish managed to get back up to second again. Race two was a black flag start and I had what seemed to be a good start at the pin end. Up the beat had some really awesome speed to be 2nd at the first mark but was disqualified for being over at the start. So not the best day but I will still be ok overall and we have 2 races and a medal race left to sail.

June 6, 2007

European Championships Day 3: The wind today was 5-8 knots with the direction a little further to the right than yesterday. We just had the one race due to the breeze shifting and dying out. I had a good start down the pin end and was able to tack and cross the fleet with 3 other boats. About 3/4 of the way up the first beat we looked to have everyone tucked away and were heading towards the left hand side. The wind dropped in pressure and went 30 degrees to the left. That enabled the guys on that side to lead us round the first mark. I rounded 18th. Down the first run I swapped sides of the course 3 times to go around the bottom mark 3rd. The breeze had shifted hard to the right down the run and I tacked straight away once round the mark. After a few minutes it started to swing back my way and I was able to get within a few lengths of the leader. Further up the course things went all my way and I sailed into the lead but 1 small mistake at the top saw me round 2nd. On the final run to the finish I got back into the lead by about 4 lengths before the breeze shut down and was passed again and I had to settle for a second.

Behind me there was plenty of action with sailors losing and gaining 30 boats on the final run due to the fickle conditions so I felt lucky to keep my second. Overall I am in 2nd place just 3 pts from 1st but if last few days are anything to go by, then there are lots of ups and downs to be had yet.

June 5, 2007

European Championships Day 2: Today was 5-8 knots, flat water and very shifty - just what you would expect on a lake. In race one I had a bad start in the 106 boat fleet and was in catch up mode all race. I rounded the first mark 50th and was able to pass boats on every leg for the 2nd lap windward leeward course to finish about 17th but I'm not quite sure. Race two started ok and was able to sail with front pack on the first beat out the right hand side. Three quarters of the way up the first beat, the wind shifted 30 degrees to the left and most of us on the right rounded in the mid 30s - 40s at the first mark. Some good down winds and an average 2nd beat got me back to 21st at the finish. It was a very high scoring day for most of the fleet so no doubt it will all work out through the regatta. Currently, I am in 13th overall.

It is interesting to see so many sailors trying different light wind sails and masts. Back in Palma and Hyeres I was one of the only sailors using the light polyester sails. Now about half the fleet is using the same cloth sails.

June 4, 2007

European Championships Day 1: No racing today on Lake Balaton in Hungary due to a lack of wind.

Since the Holland Regatta, I picked up Nathan in Amsterdam and we loaded a boat to go to China before driving 850 km to Switzerland and picking up a mast. From Switzerland we drove another 1400 km to Hungary's Lake Balaton. On the way we thought the shortest distance would be through Slovenia and into Hungary but the highway hasn’t been finished and we drove for 6 hours on a small single lane roads that still had horse and carts on it as well as the big trucks. The huge pot holes didn’t make it easy on the trailer but we made it with no major problems.

The last 3 days we have been here sailing and the breeze has been between 3-18 knots. Yesterday I sailed the first beat of the practice race rounding the first mark 3rd in 4 knots of wind. Tomorrow they will try for 2 races and we will have to wait and see what the wind gods bring.

May 27, 2007

final day, holland grade 1: Today we went down to the club at 9:30 for a 11 am start and the wind was up to 18 knots and the rain was coming down just like a normal Holland Regatta. However the wind died to about 8 knots at the start and the rain had gone, leaving a low cloud day with the wind looking like it would completely shut down. The course was 3 windward leewards for all the medal races but in order to keep the race down to 30 mins the windward beat was shortened each lap in our race.

At the start I was the 4th boat down from the windward end and had the Canadian directly to windward and the Dutch and Brit to leeward. As we sailed out the Brit and I punched forward on the fleet then the breeze dropped to about 5 knots and it became a little shifty to say the least. Round the top mark I was second and down the run I was fortunate that the Dutch got a penalty for pumping and I was able to lead at the bottom mark. Up the following beat I retained my lead and for the next complete lap. I was able to extend until the top of the final beat when I was becalmed for a minute or so. The Brit sailed straight out from under me in pressure. Round the final mark we were neck and neck and the lead changed about 10 times as we went down to the finish. However winning the race didn’t matter for me as I just had to stay in front of the Dutch sailor in 4th and the Canadian in last to win the regatta. I crossed the line in 2nd and became the winner of the regatta.

Overall Points:
CAN     51 PTS
NED     46 PTS
NZL     43 PTS
GBR     48 PTS

This was the second time I have won this Grade 1 regatta the first time was back in 2000 when I was sailing the 49er with Nathan Handley. I would like to thank my Dad who acted as my coach for the regatta and flew up for the event. I will now drive to Hungry for the European Championships that will start on the 4th June. Thanks for your support.

May 26, 2007

day 4, holland grade 1: Today was the final day of the fleet racing in Holland and we had 2 races in 14-16 knots. Tomorrow the top ten will sail off in the medal race.

Race 1 was very shifty and I worked the right hand side of the course after the start. About halfway up the beat I then positioned myself in the middle of the course as it became very shifty. Round the top I was mark 5th and down the first run I managed to pass 2 boats to round the bottom mark in 3rd. As we sailed up the beat that didn’t seem to end there was some big splits in the fleet making the job of protection very hard. The breeze then came my way and I rounded the top mark 3rd which was how I finished.

Race 2 once again was a minefield of shifts and I basically sailed with the same game plan as race 1. This time a few others went hard right and it paid off so two boats cleared out. I rounded the first mark 5th and lost 2 boats on the first downwind as I was on the wrong side of the course. Up the final beat I was able to close the gap then pass one on the final run to the finish in 6th place.

Overall I’m 3rd behind the Canadian and Dutch guys and we will have a really close medal race with 4 of us.

Overall Points:
CAN     33 PTS
NED     38 PTS
NZL     39 PTS
GBR     46 PTS

Each place in the medal race is worth 2 pts so it will be interesting.

May 25, 2007

day 3, holland grade 1: Today was the day for huge shifts and the lots of starts with 15-16 knots. I had my moments today and some good down-wind sailing saved me a few times which was great as this time last year it was my nightmare.

I had average starts on the black flag in both races and worked the right hand side but never really looked that great on the first beats. I rounded the top mark for the first time in both races in the mid teens. During the first down-wind of race 1 the whole fleet closed up and I was able to take 4-5 boats. Down the second run I passed another 3-4 to the finish and crossed the line in 7th.

Race 2 the breeze had shifted to the right and I was able to take 7-8 boats on the first run and up the second beat got myself to 4th on the right hand side. Then I made one mistake and got out of phase which lost me at least 14 boats when the breeze went a further 20 degrees to the right. On the final run to the finish I was able to catch about 8-9 boats and finished 10th which has left me 4th overall. It was a really long day as we didn’t get off the water till 9pm and that was after a tow ashore. Tomorrow should be like we expect here at this regatta windy cold and wet.

May 24, 2007

day 2, holland grade 1: Better day today as with slightly more wind than yesterday. The first race was 6-8 knots and the second 8-10 knots. Race 1 I had a good start and the fleet all seemed fairly even 3/4 of the way up the first beat I was in the middle of the course and a little ahead of the majority of the guys then we had a few shift towards the top mark and I was able to round in 4th. By the bottom mark I had gained and was 1st but forced to the right hand gate mark and the left was the better side. I did manage to get to the left side of the course to round the top mark for the second time 1st. Down the final run my lead was extended to win the race.

Race 2 I started at the right hand end of the start line but I liked the left side of the course. This is always a risky move however this time it worked for me and I rounded the top mark 5th. Through out the remainder of the race the top 6 boats were all really close and I crossed the finish 5th after being spooked by the jury on the final run when they came full speed towards me with a flag in there hand they then watched me close for 4-5 mins before leaving me alone.

Overall I’m 3rd but they have put a discard in and we have only had 4 races. The forecast for the next few days is for the breeze to slowly build.

May 23, 2007

day 1, holland grade 1: After arriving back in Europe on the 18th May after 3 weeks in Santa Cruz USA. I had to drive my Car and Boat up from the south of France to Holland the venue of this regatta. I have had 2 days of sailing before this regatta started today.

The breeze today was a light 4-6 knots on shore and very shifty. I felt I had good speed all day and really it was my saving grace as I didn’t start well in either race. Rounding the first mark in both races 40 something and 20 something respectively wasn’t a sign of good starts. On the down-winds and second beats I did some damage finishing the first race 21st and the second race in 7th. Overall I’m in 10th place and lucky not to be the only one who had a few issues. Tomorrow the order of the day will be to get off the start line and be able to sail my own race.

April 27, 2007

hyeres medal race Going into today’s medal race just one point ahead of Ed Wright from GBR, I had to beat him in the race in order to take home the bronze medal. After some tame circling before the start, I was able to start to leeward of him and forced him to sheet on early as he was trying to get on the favoured left hand side of the course and in the process he was over the start line early and had to return to restart. From there I just had to keep a loose eye on the Croatian in 5th overall to make sure he couldn’t win the race. As the race went on I just stayed with Ed and the Croatian seemed to stay nicely between us all the way around the course. On the final run the Croatian got past me but it didn’t matter as Ed was behind me, hence I won the bronze behind the Greek and the Danish.

I am now off to Santa Cruz, USA to join Team Pegasus for the Melges 24 Worlds, which should be good fun. I will be back in Europe for the next grade 1 regatta in Holland on the 23rd May.

April 26, 2007

day 5, hyeres: Finally some wind!!! Today’s racing had big waves, shifty breeze and 15- 22 knots which was really nice for a change.

Race 1: I had a good start and was 8th at the first mark but on the first downwind lost a couple due to a bad call to protect the right hand side down the run. Up the second beat not that much changed as we weaved out through two fleets of 470’s. Then on the final run I did the same as the first run and lost another 3 boats to end up finishing 13th.

Race 2: I did not get the perfect start but I was on the right side of the course and rounded the first mark in 10th. On the first downwind I passed 4 boats and then by the top mark I was 4th close behind 2nd and 3rd. Down the final run I passed the 2 boats ahead of me and crossed the line 2nd.

Overall I am sitting in third place, but I am not sure how close the points are for tomorrow’s medal race, as the results hadn’t been posted before I wrote this.

April 25, 2007

day 4, hyeres: Peacocks to feather dusters…

Again there were light conditions today, I finished second in the first race! Then the breeze died away completely so we waited on the water for 3 hours before the second race was started.

My game plan was to go right but I was unable to get that way after a bad start. However after a few shifts up the middle I managed to round the first mark in the late teens. By the bottom mark I was 12th and was in good pressure after rounding the mark. I tacked to try and work my way across to the favoured right hand side of the course. The 470 men’s silver fleet was halfway up the beat in front of us, and thus there was a huge hole of no wind in the middle of the course. This forced me back out to the left with the 3 others that were in the top 5 overall but this time round the top mark we were back in the 30’s. The wind had now died to 3-4 knots with no sign of any miracles coming our way on the final run. I crossed the line in 35th.

Tomorrow the forecast is for wind up around 20 knots which will be a good for a change. If we get two races then there will be 2 discards on the scorecard before the medal race on Friday. Overall I am still in 5th with a scorecard that looks a bit like a cricket score card.

April 24, 2007

day 3, hyeres: Today was another day of light breeze, 4-8 knots, with shifts up to 40 degrees through out the day. Before the start, we had 12 knots but it was down to 7-8 by start time.

Race 1: I had a great start towards the committee boat end of the start and just after the start I tacked towards the right hand side of the course and after about 5 minutes I felt comfortable to cross the fleet on my windward hip. I continued for another 1 minute before I went to tack and saw the whole fleet lift up and lay the top mark. This left me really deep at the first rounding and I recovered a little but not much as I finished 39th.

Race 2: I started down towards the pin end of the line and had a great start with really good speed again. I led to the first mark and was 2nd at the first bottom mark then I was able to sail away up the second half of the beat when the breeze dropped down to about 4 knots. As I rounded the top mark for the final downwind so did the men’s 470 fleet and I was left in no wind as they rolled over the top of me, which cost me 2 places to finish in 3rd.

I am in 5th overall. Today, I was really happy with my speed using both the heavy and light sails in the light conditions. It shows that all the hard work that has gone into the development of these sails over the summer is starting to pay off. The forecast is for much the same tomorrow and then fresh onshore breeze with big waves on Thursday.

april 23, 2007

day 2, hyeres: Today was much the same as yesterday with a variable breeze, a race postponement for 2 hours on the water, and then we started a race in 5 knots from a similar direction as yesterday. I had a average start but was able to get a lane out to the right which wasn’t really where I wanted to be going but it started looking better and better as the beat progressed. I tacked and crossed all but 5 boats and the boats that went behind me, further to the right managed to get hiking while I was still sitting in the middle of the boat. I rounded the first mark in the late 20s and then had to do a penalty turn for infringing another boat at the mark. Things never really got much better from there and I crossed the finish in 31st place. Tomorrow I will try and do better job of sailing my race and backing my instincts rather than sailing the more conservative option.

On another note yesterday a Finn sailor from Italy was sent home from the regatta after infringing rule 42 (propulsion: pumping and rocking the boat) 3 times. Then when we got ashore another incident occurred between a Dutch and a Portuguese sailor but this was a full on fistfight with the Portuguese sailor landing 3 good punches to the head of the Dutch athlete. The Dutch took the Portuguese sailor to the protest room for sportsmanship and the Portuguese sailor was just disqualified from the final race of that day. It’s hard to see the fairness that the Italian cannot race the rest of the regatta, while the Portuguese was disqualified for just 1 race for a full-on fistfight with another sailor.

march 11, 2007

My time here in NZL is up and now it’s back off to the European Summer/Winter for the 2007 Olympic class regattas. This season is important as it is both my New Zealand Olympic Team qualifying regattas and then the World Championship is the country-qualifying regatta. In the NZL qualifying regattas I'm not sure who else will be competing against me from New Zealand but at the Worlds there will be 18 country spots available for the Olympics from about 45 nations competing in the Finn class. After the regattas in the US early this year my ISAF World ranking has climbed to number 2 which is great but at the end of the day, it doesn’t mean much as you're only really as good as your last regatta.

I am excited to get back into some racing after what will be 2 months since I last raced. Over those 2 months I have been training back here from Takapuna and even been making some appearances in the gym on a regular basis. On Wednesday, my coach Nathan Handley and I will Fly to Amsterdam, pick up a Euro lease car and have a tow bar fitted to it. We will then go and pick up the Finn and drive down to Barcelona where the coach boat has been shipped from NZ. On Monday night we have a ferry booking to Palma de Mallorca where the first regatta is being sailed. By the time we arrive to Palma we will have had 26 hrs flying and then about another 25 hours driving with a 7 hour ferry ride. This isn’t the ideal build up to a regatta but at least we have 4 days before the regatta starts to get over it.

Season Regatta list with some long hours in the car between regattas:

Palma 31-6 April Spain
Hyeres 21-27 April France
Holland 22-26 May Holland
Europeans 1-9 June Hungry
Kiel 16-21 June Germany
Worlds 5-13 July Portugal
Pre Olympics 9-21 August China

Talk to you from Palma...