After finally arriving back home at 3.30 this morning I am now just about getting myself back to normal. Before I fully launch into a round up from last week's of racing i need to make you aware of a new word, 'Raceless' the official definition is in the pipeline but in essence 'Raceless means to don a cold wet wetsuit, wrestle a nacra 17 downwind in crazy windy conditions only to be sent back to the beach in even crazier conditions, to then wait for an ever illusive window in the madness. Got it????... good then I will begin.
I think its fair to say Denmark's weather was not kind to the fleet and committee, I felt really sorry for the race officials and at this stage I want to say what a good job they did do with the very frustrating conditions. Im sure with some other committees we would have failed to sail at all. Here it is as it happened.
Day 1, We arrived in the boat park pumped, unfortunately the wind wasn't as equally excited and we found ourselves starring at a giant mirror. Aarhus bay was life less. After being told by the locals the classic 'it never like this' we knew were in for a long haul. No being able to race in some lighter conditions was frustrating because we know we are competitive. After a long day ashore where the near by cafe must have thought christmas had come early. The coffee machine didn't stop steaming! Eventually the race committee who were out there waiting for breeze must have run out of cold beer because they called it for the day. We returned home restless but ready for what was to come.
It was as if someone had flicked and turned the wind on for day 2, only they pressed all the switches. It was booming. We were supposed to be first start but inevitably went straight into a postponement. With he forecast due to improve we once again played the waiting game. At this stage in the regatta it was qualification, so we were all assigned to a equal fleet and need to consistently finish far enough up the score board to position ourselves in the gold fleet split. We eventually hit the water, because it was quite late in the day 3 races was changed to 2. We had a great result in race 1, but then in race 2 we had a bit of a wobble on the final downwind and had a bit of a swim. Given that it was still a good finish when many people were struggling to get around. We returned to shore overall happy and current inside the gold fleet cut off.
I think day 3 was my least favourite day. Having nailed the start in the first race of the day, I'm not sure i have been stung so hard, even Marcus our coach agreed it was very unfortunate for us as the opposite side and those people with poor starts rafted round the whole fleet. We fought like mad and worked our way back through the fleet but in a 30 minute race there is only so much you can do. It wasn't a disaster but we on a mission to make up for it. During the second race of the day following another great start we were attacked on the fist downwind leg. We were found by another boat and as we did everything we could to avoid them, our spinnaker snagged on there mast and taw 2 big holes in it. We sailed amazingly given the handicap and secured another top 10 result. Super coach had our replacement waiting for us as we finished and i set about flapping around on the bow switching the sails. A note to everyone, changing kites in rough conditions on water is much harder than on the safety of land. Finally we were back in racing shape, and for the final race of the day we were flying, sailing up with the top 5 for the entire race, until another nacra rudder fault forced us out of control on the final downwind, we literally nursed the boat to the finish. Not a great day, but we had secured our gold fleet spot.
While Tuesday might have been my least favourite, Wednesday - day 3 - was where the main wildness began. After arriving to the boat park in once again 'Nuking' conditions (you will start to build up an awareness for all of the different ways of say windy). Having struggled for races up until this point the RC were keen to get us out there. Too keen it turned out. This was one of the 'Raceless' trips on the water. After getting to the starting line, it suddenly seemed like the world was about to end. Apocalyptic clouds blew down from Aarhus city and as we were sent back tot he shore the squall hit. We and the rest of the fleet literally weathered the boats back to the shore, where we recommenced our - what was now daily - postponement. It was a huge wait a just when it seemed like we were surely about tot leave home, we were launched again. Race 1 of the days was started at 19.30, we did 3 gold fleet races and eventually got back to the shore at 22.00. It was so late even the take away pizza place was closed, so it another race to get home a rustle up some food before crashing out in bed. The racing was good, we were now racing with only the gold fleet so it was hard and mistakes cost you dearly. Nikki and I had some great results and moved up the results table.
Thursday, and guess what, it was blowing dogs off leads again. After our night racing previously we were on the 2nd group of the day after the silver fleet. In building pressure the Silver fleet got 2 races in, we were sent out to watch them finish and prepare for our slot on the race course. However the weather wasn't going to play ball, literally just as we were preparing to start our race the wind picked up. It got to the stage where sailing was becoming impossible, just keeping the boat in the water was a challenge. In keeping with our 'Raceless' theme we were sent back to the shore. On this occasion the breeze was unrelenting and it quickly became obvious that sailing was a no go for the day. Back home again, wet and cold but with nothing to show for it.
The final day of the regatta, and no prizes for guessing what the conditions were like. Silver fleet were canned at the start of the day, but as our start time approached the wind seemed to calm a little. We had one race to do and we launched in very fruity conditions, after going the fastest i think i have ever gone in a nacra on our way to the start line, we went into sequence. As we started and right on que, the wind piped right up. Nikki and we flying, after a wild upwind we reached the top mark in the top five. We nursed her around the bear away and then saw the blue and white check. Race Abandoned! So after all of the we were once again Raceless on the final day.
Nikki and I have a huge amount to be happy about following the worlds. There is no doubt we are steaming in the right direction. Our speed has come on leaps and bounds, and we know have a little more to come have learned more during the regatta. We sat down with our coach Marcus and have put together a medal winning plan for the next 6 months. It is a volume based plan where we have specific target areas to nail. The climax of plan will be next years worlds in February. We have had fantastic support from so many people and its working, but we need to keep this up. We are on the brink. Let us know if you can help in any way or want more information.
As ever, Thankyou