RPAYC Junior Member Daniel Links was selected to represent Australia & RPAYC at the Junior Gold Cup. His report is below:
1 person from some of the top countries got invited to compete in the Optimist Junior Gold Cup. This year I was chosen to travel to Bermuda and sail in this regatta. It has been the best regatta I have ever been to and a great experience.
On the 6th of May I landed at the Bermuda national airport, this was after a lot of travel including 29 hours on the plane and at the airports of Los Angeles, New York (which we stayed in for a few days as my mums best friend and my Godmother lives there) and then to Bermuda. The water looked amazing as it was light green and blue and there were many reefs and we could see the whole island out of the plane and we realised how small it was. We got picked up by my host family at about 2pm as I was getting billeted and we dropped off my mum at where she was staying, a little seaside guest house called Salt Kettle. The person I was staying with was the 2nd best Opti sailor in Bermuda, his name was Sebastian Kempe, his mum and dad were amazing and they had two dogs and two cats.
I trained for 2 days before the regatta with the Bermuda coach and the other international sailors because all the Bermuda people had to go to school. The international sailors were the best I have ever raced against, especially the USA and the Maltese guy. The wind conditions on the first training day was 15-20knts in the morning with only the internationals training and 5-10 in the afternoon while training with the Bermudan’s as they finished school. The next day was the same but it was mostly 12-17knots.
The training had finished and I had spent most the time training and preparing for the regatta. While I was at home I usually played soccer and hockey with Sebastian or did homework with him as he usually had homework after school and so that I didn’t fall behind with my school work. Because my mum wasn’t staying with me she would usually be exploring the island with many different people that had come to the regatta from different countries.
The opening ceremony was small as there was only 30 sailors, we had lasagne for dinner at the club and I played tackle games and tip with the Bermuda sailors. It was lots of fun meeting new people.
The first day of the regatta was 15-20knts but it was still hot. It took ages to get out as the sailing course was ages away, that day I got a 5,7,6,8. I was very happy as I knew I was racing against some of the best in the world. We had dinner at the house and my mum was invited.
The next day it was about 13-18knts, I got a 4,4,2,8. I even lead one of the races and another I was 2nd and got a penalty. This put me in 4th position 14 points away from 3rd. I really wanted to catch up to 3rd but I was a long way away.
After racing I went to the beach with a few other Bermuda kids and had dinner at a seaside restaurant. When we were playing tip on the beach I got stung by a Portuguese man of war and had an allergic reaction. It is a type of poisonous jellyfish that can kill humans. I got rushed to the hospital and they got it out with shaving cream.
On the third day we had 3 races. It was the windiest day with 20knts average. I Placed a 7,4,9 this put me in 5th place but I was so close to 4th . My aim for the next day was to come 4th.
The last day was only one race and it was in the harbour where the senior gold cup is held. It was extremely light up to 4knts and I didn’t believe they would race us. It was a very slow race and they had to shorten the course, I didn’t have a very good race and I got an 11th. After the race me and Sebastian capsized each other’s boats as the regatta had finished. It was a very fun regatta and I had learnt a lot.
The presentation was good as we also got to watch the senior’s get their prizes, team Australia got 3rd place and I got 5th. I even got to meet the Australian team. After the presentation we went to the beach with everyone else, it had been a great experience and one of my favourite regattas. I feel very lucky to be chosen to represent Australia and my club RPAYC.
By Daniel Links
Full Results: https://www.juniorgoldcup.com/