The next leg of our tour was the ISAF Youth Worlds. We had been very excited about this regatta and unique experience for about 6 months and it finally came time for the regatta!
The ISAF Youth Worlds is one of the most prestigious youth sailing regattas you can go to and only one team from each class can represent their country. We won the Australian Youth Nationals in Sorrento and have been training hard with our coach Traks on Pittwater.
We arrived in Portugal and were dropped at our Hotel on the 7th of July. We were very happy with the hotel as it had many great facilities such as gym, outdoor pool, indoor pool with spa and we were very excited. We met the rest of the Australian team and enjoyed dinner. The next 3 days we had a 29er which we chartered to get to know the local race course and conditions. These 3 days we experienced very light winds during training, giving us time to appreciate the stunning coast of Tarvia, Portugal.
On the first day of the regatta we were allocated our boats and spent a great deal of time going over them, to ensure nothing was going to break. We then hit the water to do some training and take some measurements. We also left the rig tension on over night so the rig had time to stretch in.
On the first day of the event we had the practice race in the afternoon. The breeze was light and the whole fleet started over the line. The race committee had also set the course wrong, but we were still able to line up against some boats and test our speed. That night we had the opening ceremony, which included lots of singing and Aussie pride. It also included a mixing of water ceremony where all the countries mixed water in a pot from there respective homelands and the water was poured into the river.
The first day of the regatta had good breeze from the SW, the sea breeze direction. The first couple of starts were general recalls, where we had good starts. In our first proper start however we had a shocker and had to do an early tack, where we did not see a boat and in the resulting collision broke our spinnaker pole. This put us out of the race and we had to change poles before the next race. We managed to do it, and get back in time for the next two races, where we had some average results.
The next day had the same breeze as the first. We knew a bit more about the breeze and had two top ten results.
Unfortunately we also had a deep one but our results jumped us up from 19th to 13th.
The third day was a bit lighter, still from the same direction.
We had a better day with a 6th, and 8th, and a 15th. We had some better starts and got the hang of the race track which helped enormously. We still weren’t getting the results we had wanted, but we were getting there.
The next day was the same as the first two, although we started very late as the sea breeze came in later. We finally got off the start line and had a good race to finish 2nd. Our joy was short lived however as we then came 18th in the next one. We got back in at 8:30 pm - shattered.
The last day of racing saw two races. We sailed better this day as the breeze was a bit different than the last four days.
In the first race we had a bad start but picked a good shift and finished 10th. In the next one we had a great start and were leading until the last downwind, where an unknown lack of speed saw 5 boats pass us. We were despondent, but glad the event was over.
We packed up our boat quickly but had to wait for the rest of the team to finish theirs. We then went back to the hotel and cleaned up for the prize giving. This was a slightly long winded affair but it was great to see some footage of the racing.
Overall we had the time of our lives, gained valuable experience and met some great new friends. We would like to thank RPAYC for their ongoing support and giving us this opportunity.