The last time I wrote a blog Mary was just about to arrive an we had a few days training planned before the Europeans started. Well that didn't go quite to plan. Having collect Mary from Montpellier it was already quite late on the Saturday evening, we wasted no time in getting out for an evening sail, to check the boat over and start to get an idea of sailing with each other. We had a great sail in some perfect Mediterranean conditions, found a few things that needed changing on the boat and returned to the beach with a list and ready for a full day on the water on the Sunday.
The brief sail on that Saturday evening was on reflection the only 'perfect Mediterranean conditions' of the week. We arrived to the boat park on the Sunday to a lot of wind and with the intention of a good days training. Having cracked on and got the jobs done, the breeze had been building. By the time it came to being ready, it was blowing. There was a practice race scheduled, but the majority of the few boats that ventured out for it returned rather quickly with their tails between their legs. We decided that given the hours practice up until now, sailing in that sort of conditions unless racing was probably unwise, so we used our time to do some last bits of polishing and fully prep the boat for the first day of racing.
A huge anticlimax, the perfect Mediterranean conditions had long gone and we were left with torrential rain and no wind what so ever. One of the flights did launch, but failed to race in the fickle conditions. We spent much of the day in the event marque sheltering from the rain and entertaining our selves with nibbles. No racing for anyone on day 1.
For a team that had literally cobbled themselves together days before racing, we were hoping to ease our selves into racing, but no, the south of France had other plans. Big breeze and lots of racing. Mary and I took a fairly conservative approach to the day given our small amount of experience together. But it was great to see us with some fast boat speed around the race course. That coupled with some good decisions saw us in 2nd at a windward mark and finished the day of with a 5th across the line.
This was big Wednesday. We were in the first fleet on the water, and we knew it was going to be windy. Having got to the start area the breeze really piped up, we had a quick practice at sailing upwind and then in a slightly miss judged bear away had a little swim before the start. Though almost simultaneously the race committee decided it was too windy (31kts) and sent us back to the beach. Some more waiting and finally the breeze moderated enough to race. Unfortunately we had a bit of a shocker, not because we weren't sailing fast, just seemed to be on the wrong side of the big gains. Following the 1 race we were again sent back to the beach to allow the other fleet to race. Some more waiting ashore and we were back out again for the final race of the day (it was not 18.30). We were on a mission to redeem our selves after the mornings shocker, and that we did. We had some great pace and sailed up through the fleet to score another 5th across the line. Back to the shore for the last time of the day.
The fleet had now been split into gold and silver, we were in gold and so now racing with all the big boys together. It was really windy and we arrived to the boat park already under a postponement. The race committee monitored the conditions all day hoping for a window to get some racing in, but it was not meant to be. And after hours of waiting and dinghy park rumours, the day was eventually canned.
It was still pretty windy but not quite as much so we were racing. Racing in the gold fleet is definitely a step up but in turn we changed gear as well. We had some great speed around the race course, making up ground all over the place. Understandably our boat handling was a bit scrappy so we lost a little there but on the whole we performed great for a new team. We had some great racing and some very comedy moments, we scored consistent day and consolidated our position just outside the teens. Battered and bruised we returned the the beach very content.
The final day of what was supposed to be racing. Though like much of the week the weather did not play ball. Very light fickle winds switching from sea breeze to gradient and back made it impossible to get a race away for us. So after a few hours drifting around the bay we returned back to the beach no better or worse off. However the delay did have a bit of an effect on my logistical plans. Having booked a ferry for 9am the following day I needed to,get away ASAP. Fortunately we had a very speedy pack up and I was on the road in record time.
After a full night driving we get to now, sat of the ferry from Roscoff to Plymouth with a short trip to finish on the other side.
So it was an eventful Europeans, but I think on the whole given the fact that Mary and I had done an hours practice before the regatta it went rather well. We had great fun sailing together and Mary is now confirmed for the world championships in early September. Between then and now we plan to boost our hours training some what so that we have a bit more of a fighting chance.
Stay tuned for more updates on my training and antics