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Team McGovern-Birrell - Hyeres World Cup Team McGovern-Birrell - Hyeres World Cup

Due to the Volcanic eruption in Iceland, Hyeres preparation this year was quite a bit different to the usual! Following Palma regatta a few weeks earlier we decided to fly home and then fly back a week later to pick up the boats, and to drive them over to Hyeres. The day I was supposed to travel the British air space was closed due to the eruption. This then lead to 4 days of rebooking and cancelling flights. With the training days before Hyeres running out fast, we put our heads together to try and figure out a land route to get the boats. This ended up involving me getting a 5hr train from Bangor North Wales to Dover, hitch hiking from Calais to Barcelona and then getting a foot passenger on the 7hr Barcelona-Palma Ferry picking up the boats and getting back on the same ferry 5hrs later. So after leaving Bangor train station at 2pm April 20th I arrived in Hyeres at 3am April 22nd .Not so bad without using a Plane!!

With the journey from hell behind us we had a couple of days to get preparation back on track and get things ready for the start of Hyeres. If your familiar with Hyeres you may of heard the stories of the mistral winds which is a very strong breeze that drops off the mountains. Unfortunately many of the sailors think this breeze is a myth because it never materialised, and hasnt for the past few years! Each day we were welcomed with sunshine and very light/variable breeze which was then followed later on with a light sea breeze. The weather conditions meant that qualifying consisted of 4 races spread over 3 days, not getting a discard until the final series. So every race was very important because every point counted!!


On the first day we managed to get 2 races in about 6-8knots of breeze, we had a couple of good races to start the series which left us in 12th place over night. Unfortunately the other 2 races in qualifying did not go to plan. One race involved a leeward mark incident which included a fellow Brit which lost us a few important places. The other race included a disaster on the top reach and not moving forward through the race.

After the final race in qualifying this lead to a nervous wait on gold and silver fleet assignments, with 45 boats making the cut we thought it would be close. Finally after all the protests the results went up 46th place Jonny McGovern & Christian Birrell...

We were 2 points outside the cut which left us 1st place in silver with only process goals to work on for the rest of the week. Like always in the 470 fleet, sliver fleet is still a very difficult standard and with the likes of Olympic silver medallists and other world class sailors having a bad qualifying series, this was going to be a very difficult lead to hold onto.

The final day of racing had the best weather conditions of the week and we sailed 3 races in an attempted to make up some of the races we had lost. We ended up finishing 4th in the sliver fleet, going home feeling like we have the speed and boat handling skills to really push forward leading up to the World Championships in July!!

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