We have just returned from our third and final trip to Europe for 2014. This trip was to compete in the 2014 ISAF World Championships in Santander, Spain. The ISAF World Championships are held every four years and is an event where all the Olympic classes hold their world championships at the same time at the same venue. It is the first event that sailors can qualify their nation for the upcoming Olympics.
Going into the worlds we felt comfortable, as we had already been to the venue during our last trip in May to do a coach’s regatta, so there were no surprises when we arrived. We arrived a week before the event started, funnily enough most of the European based teams were heading home to have a break before the event started as many had arrived weeks before to do training. We had a couple of days training by ourselves and then did another coach’s regatta with all the teams still at the venue, which was another good opportunity to have some races in the race areas for the worlds. We then had two days of measurement.
The first day of the event set the tone for the whole regatta, seeing a lot of postponement flags. We sat on the shore for four hours and then were finally sent out at 4pm, were we did a bit more sitting around, before we got one race away in less then 5 knots. The race was not our best with us finishing close to the back, however we stayed optimistic knowing that we needed 3 solid races then we could drop that race to make it into gold fleet. The following day saw us spend 6 hours waiting on the water with no races.
Day three was a day of two winds, a strong northerly and a strong southerly change fighting each other with the wind changing direction and speeds every 30 minutes. Our fleet got only one race in for the seven hours on the water while the other fleet got two in, in our one race we posted a 10th which is what we really needed to make sure we made the cut for gold fleet.
Day Four however saw the southerly change fully kick in 30 plus knots wind over the bay. Our fleet was sent out on the water due to the race committee being keen the get the fleets back to equal races completed, however there were more dramas on the racecourse. Our start boat couldn’t anchor due the strong winds, which resulted in us hanging on for three hours in the race area in gusts recorded up to 38 knots. Finally the race committee boat was changed to a boat with a bigger anchor, we got a race away in conditions where you were more concerned on keeping the boat up right than going fast. We had another solid result, which kept us in the hunt for gold fleet. After returning to shore for a break and to get the fleets assigned for the final qualifying race, we went back out on the water however by this time the southerly had fully died out and we were left floating around with no wind and no more racing for the day.
Day five finally delivered some good steady breeze, we had an early start to get in the final qualifying race, we had another solid race within the top 15, which put us into to gold fleet and racing with the top in the world for the final series. We then had two final races that afternoon, which we were able to get some solid results and move up the leader board a bit more.
Day 6 and the final day, was scheduled to do three races to finish of the regatta, unfortunately it was not our best day, with poor tactical decisions costing us a lot on our second up winds in all three races, which dropped us a couple of places on the leaderboard, overall we ended up 34th which was a disappointing result after we had recovered so well after the first days race.
We would like to thank again the support of the yacht club and members over the years, and we are looking forward some sailing at home over the summer on some yachts and dinghies.