Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Europeans - Le Touquet - 2014

Thanks to Antoine Meunier and the team for organising a great regatta, it was a pleasure to sail against the up and coming superstars as well as the already established ones, we learnt more about the boat and setup in the past five days than we have in the previous five months! Nice to meet new sociable and friendly people, we look forward to trying to make future events and if we can organise something in the UK, maybe you can come our way too!

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.
I'll start with the Bad as its always best to end on a good!

The Bad:
In the 5-10kts wind range we really struggled with our crew weight, carrying around an extra 35kg on some of the lighter crews, really hurt our boat speed especially in the waves to windward. As the wind dropped below the 5kts and the sea flattened out we were able to sneak round reasonably competitively given our crew skill factor, which was highlighted with a 11th in the last race. the solution is plain and simple for us(me), put down the cakes and pick up the weights.

The Ugly:
I have only myself to blame for the first breakage, rushing to get the boat ready before we went away, I heavy handedly over tightened the starboard outside bolt on the main beam and damaged the thread, I thought it would last until the following day when i could fix it, but it backfired, when right on the 5min signal the wind built to 15+ kts and the sea state with it! this resulted in some f1 pitstop style helicoiling on the beach. unfortunately by the time we had completed the works the first two races had completed and that was it for the day! The second was something that we could never have prepared for, the sea state, waves i would say in the region of 1-1.5m conveniently spaced 16-18ft apart. this resulted in a snapped dagger board dropping off a wave downwind, we have tested these boards extensively in much higher wind conditions, twin wire, three sail reaching in 15kts+, so we were hugely surprised when one gave up! The small comfort we took from it all was, that we were not the only ones. It really was boat breaking weather, i think the total fleet damage was 2 masts, 2 dagger blades and 2 rudder blades plus other bits no doubt.

The Good:
When we finally got racing on the second day our first result was a 14th which for our first competitive race against the leading F16 fleet was encouraging. The second race was even better, as we grew in confidence and became more comfortable with the conditions we were starting to move up through the fleet and just before our dagger breakage we had broke in to the top ten. Its a shame we couldn't make the most of the heavier sailing conditions and bag some good results that we had the potential to, this would of counter balance the lighter days later in the championship to present a fairer representation of our over all speed. a small consolation on the third day was being reasonably competitive with only one dagger blade in our worst wind range whilst the broken one was being repaired. All in all we are happy that the speed and potential is definitely in the boat and it is now up to me to lose some kg's and come do the boat justice.

We'll Be Back!