Having left Miami regatta with a list of things to work on, and an unrivalled drive to improve we launched into our 2016 world championship build up. With only 5 days between regattas it didn't leave lots of time to recover and then prepare. We started by choosing to take a day away from Nacra land and made use of some of the beautiful surrounding beaches, despite the water being a tad cold we fully embraced the Floridian way of life for a day, and our bodies were very grateful for the rest!
Nik and I quickly got itchy feet though and given our fast approaching Worlds it was time to get back to work. As a class we were sharing our world championship with both the 49er and 49erFX classes, so the boat park was a hive of activity with many many sailors all getting into gear for the worlds. We spent some time putting the boat back together and checking her over thoroughly. With a mix bag of weather forecasted we made use of our time and sailed in all conditions. Building on the lessons learned in Miami things seemed to be clicking into place. We were working closely with our coach Marcus and he helped use check off a lot of the improvement opportunities. What did become clear during the week is that the sea state coming in and out of the harbour can be pretty wild, we survived but some of the teams had some big wipe outs just getting out to, or in from the bay.
Before we knew it the Worlds was upon us,
In true World championship fashion, day 1 is always a little perculia. With a big forecast and the wind blowing against the tide some sailors were sceptical before we had even launched! However when we arrived on the race course, the conditions could actually have been described as quite tame. And they stayed like that right up until we just started the race, suddenly a huge left shift and a lot of wind rolled across the bay. I think it is fair to say there was a fair bit of carnage. Having been the wrong side of the first shift, it was a game of catch up for us. Our great boat handling and good speed saw us cut our way back through the pack. As we finished in a solid 15th there was a lot of wind, and the waves were picking up very quickly. Before things got completely out of control the race committee made the sensible decision and sent us back to shore for the day.
Having lost races the previous day, it was always going to be a big day on the water, however with good breeze and left over waves. It could only be described as full on! For us day 2 was a bit of a mixed bag. There is no doubt that Nik and I have moved forward a lot in the breezy conditions. But with such short races if you made any early mistakes your we heavily punished, and there just wasn't enough time to fight your way back. During the day Nikki scored our first ever world championship win! This was a big moment for us, and shows how far we have come in conditions we struggled in before. We finished the mega 4 race day with 2 good and 1 not so good and 1 brilliant result. But it seemed everyone was having a fairly turbulent regatta so the points we still close.
This was the first of the lighter days, Nikki and I have always been pretty strong in those conditions. We kicked of the day with a brilliant first beat and lead the race for the first lap. On the second beat the fleet split and we tried to cover all bases letting a few boats passed but remaining safe and finishing 6th, in the next race went one better and scored a 5th. At this stage on a really hard day we doing very well, but like all good things, they cant continue for ever, and unfortunately in the final race after a bad start we couldn't find a way back through. Like the previous day it was the same for everyone and our 2 good results dragged us up the overall a bit further
Another light day, but it took Nik and I a while to put our finger on it. Following a slow start where we just didn't have the speed needed to compete with the front bunch, we made some changes and kick our sleves into gear, to finish the day with 2 solid top 10 finishes. Following the races we had a quick chat with the camera here is a very sun kissed, weather beaten Tom and Nikki.
This was the final day of full fleet racing, we went into the day in 11th overall. As you guys might now be aware, only the top 10 boats are allowed to race in the final medal race the following day. It was another fairly windy day on the water, and the breeze increased as the day went on. We needed 3 good results to be in with a shout of the medal race. And that is just what we did. Without leaving to much to spare nikki and I sailed fantastically and just snuck into the 10 top shoot out. It was a great feeling, and a lot of people congratulated us on making the medal race.
Medal racing is a bit different, having not sailing in a medal race for some time now Nik and I went down to the boat park early to get everything ready and check the boat over. The medal race is designed to engage the public and spectators and is so generally is race close in to give those ashore something to look at. Naturally with racing close to the shore the wind tends to be a bit fickle and shifty. Our medal race was no different. One very exciting part was that it was broadcasted live so that friend and families at home were able to watch. With nothing to lose and with it hard to go forward in the results Nik and I went into the race relatively stress free. It was great to be racing along side the top 10 other teams. We had a good race in testing changeable conditions to finish narrowly in 5th. Despite the good race we unable to move forward overall leaving us in 10th.
Watch the live replay below, our start is at about 8 mins in.
With the world championships coming to a close it was time to reflect on the week. Nikki and I are so proud of what we have done. To perform at a world championships in an olympic year is not easy, the fleet is at its best right now and it feel incredible to be racing at the front of it. It is also important for me the congratulate Ben and Nic who also had a good result for the brits in 6th. We have a bit of an open calendar now, while some important decisions are made. But one this is for sure Nik and I are very excited about what ever happens and cant wait for the next chapter!
Stand by as Im sure there will be some more info to come in the next few weeks, until then im off the the gym to work off the millions of american burgers i consumed in the last 6 weeks!