49er Team Fletcher-Sign - Sail for Gold
We had high hopes going into the 2011 edition of the Sail for Gold regatta and a key regatta in the Olympic selection. After a solid start to the season we knew what we needed to do but at the end of the day it all fell apart on the second day of the regatta.
The first day was a tough start, we had 2 races in 2-4 knots patchy shifty conditions. We had 2 ok races with a 14,10 but with half the fleet timed out in the second races we came away from it quite happy. The last race was a nice 10 knot sea breeze, we had another average race to pull in a 7th.
Day 2 started off great, Weymouth bay was dishing out some great conditions with a nice 12-16 knots. We rounded the leeward marks in the first race in 5thonly to break our vang! Disaster and a nightmare, we managed to limp round but lost 10 places going slow. We then missed the next race trying to fix it and in the final race got it wrong to come in 9th. Overall a very bad day on the water, we scraped into gold fleet in 24thbut had a lot of work to do. What makes it worse is we changed the vang system only a couple of weeks ago because we thought it was getting a bit old!
Anyway day 3 dawned and it was breeze on! We did one race but the other fleet never managed to get one in as it just got windier and windier. That meant that we stayed in 24thwith the race not counted.
Finally onto some gold fleet racing, with 8 races scheduled we knew that we could pull it back but would need an unbelievable series especially after using our discard up in qualifying. So after a pep talk from coach Harv we were off. The day went well and we climbed from 24thto 13th, not bad for a days work. Still we were a way off 10thand a chance to get into the medal race on the last day.
The last day of gold fleet gave some hard conditions, but we kept our heads down and on the task in hand. We had our best day of the regatta scoring a 7,3,4,12 but it was not quite good enough! The French team ended up winning the last race and had a slim 1 point lead over us, a disappointing end to a very hard week.
Although we can take some positives from the regatta, we blew it on the second day with the vang breaking. It cost us a chance at a medal and the single pre-olympic spot. In this game there is no room for gear failure and we paid the price!
Now we have a couple of weeks off but we are going to be working hard to fit out our new boat that should be arriving tomorrow! Looking forward to the new boat, not that there is a problem with the black bear, its just she is getting a bit tired. Then it onto the 2011 49er European Championships in Helsinki where we will be looking to come back and show what we are made of.Big thanks again to all our sponsors and supporters!