Team Fletcher-Sign report from Gdynia
So last week Alain and I were out in Gydnia, Poland for the 49er Europeans. We had no idea what to expect before we got there other than it took us a long time to get there from Kiel and the roads are rubbish!
We arrived on thursday with the racing starting on monday, just to give us enough time to get a bit of sailing in and the boat through measurement. The sailing we did in the lead up to the racing was in some light ‘sea breeze’ which was quite a bit shiftier than normal but none the less it did come in every day.
After getting the boat through measurement which went great, the Great Bear just flew through and took on a couple of kilos of lead on the way which was ideal. We then headed off for a bit of go karting, safe to say that we all like to think we are the fastest but in reality we just crash in to each other alot and barge our way through!
Racing began on the Monday with 3 races, of which the first 2 really did not go that well go at all for us. In the last race of the day we ripped in a 3rd but were frustrated at our performance.
The next day was actually worse for us, with only 1 counter out of 4 races we were not sure if we would make Gold Fleet. What was more annoying was that we were starting very well and going fast! Anyway we worked out what was the problem and just made sure we stuck to our routines as usual. Also went out and had a large pizza and beer which may have helped.
The next day and just 2 races were held which would decide the fleets for Gold, Silver and Bronze. We kept to our routines, went fast and started well to pull in two 2nds which lifted us to 13th overall but quite a few points off the top 10. But it was great to be back on form after the last 2 days.
Day 4 of racing and Gold fleet was a long, hard day. With 4 races in mixed conditions and nearly 6 hours on the water, we were all quite tired when we came in. Out of the 4 races we managed a 2,4,9,20, which was one of the best days but the 20 was just not needed. But we headed back to the Hotel early to get some sleep and move on to the next day.
So day 5 and 3 races in the light sea breeze which seemed to come in from a slightly different direction every day. Alain and I had a great day putting in a 3,9,4 which lifted us right up to 6th overall but with a large gap in front and behind us overall.
On the last day of racing we just had 1 fleet race and then the Medal race. The fleet race went averagely for us putting in a 12th but the guys we needed to beat were all in front of us, but we could not finish any lower than 7th overall. So going into the Medal race which is a 10 boat short race that counts for double points and you cannot discard it we knew what we had to do. Just keep in touch with the one of the French teams. After covering them up the beat we moved forward to finish the race in 5th whilst the french finished last! This meant that we ended the 49er Europeans in 6th place. Not bad considering after day 2 we were not inside the top 20!
In fact we were really pleased with this result especially after coming back from such a bad start. We know that we have the skills to win a regatta it is just a matter of executing them, we have got so close but still no cigar.
The next regatta is the Sail for Gold in Weymouth (2012 Olympics Sailing venue), our most important regatta of the year. We have a few weeks training with our new boat before racing begins in August. But for now its time to chill boots for a week...
Also check out the photos section of our website for some great shots in Poland!