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Zhik Isotak Ocean

Red Bull 49erFX- Waiting for the start of Garda Eurosaf Olympic week

by Molly Meech and Alex Maloney on 8 May 2014
Maloney and Meech, 49erFX medal race - 2014 ISAF Sailing World Cup Hyeres © Franck Socha
Red Bull 49erFX team of Molly Meech and Alex Maloney report on the ISAF World Sailing Cup Hyeres


After arriving late last Sunday, the week has sped past. We were fortunate to have a good three days away from the boat-park, so were able to check out the sights that this amazing place has to offer.

Although we do enjoy each other’s company, we spend nearly every waking moment within arm’s reach of one another, so it was nice when Molly, and her beau Nic, decided to take a spontaneous two-day trip to the ancient city of Venice.

While they were walking the old, cobblestoned, canal streets, Alex happily did some day trips around Garda - she wasn’t short of good company as there are heaps of other sailors also in town. She checkd out the area the old fashioned way, walking up to a Chapel on a cliff face, which overlooked the town of Riva, and biking to the Alpine Lake Tenno near the northern shore of Lake Garda.

Both of us have also been thoroughly enjoying the food Italy has to offer - the pizza and pasta never fail to impress. Everything is delicious, food here is very reliable - there are not too many surprises on the menu and it’s easy to find exactly what you want and not be disappointed.

A friend recommended we try a local Gelateria 'Flora' on the main street and after a very successful visit, we have decided to keep that one in our pockets as a pick-me-up after any hard days on the water this week. It is also funny to see everyone clad in jackets and beanies while eating ice creams until late at night. The cold doesn’t stop dedicated ice cream lovers here!

After a few days off we were refreshed and ready to get back into sailing. The first day back is always a bit of a long one, rigging up and getting the boat ready to hit the water again is never quick.

When we eventually launched for the first sail, we couldn’t help but be a little distracted by the picturesque lake we were sailing on. The first sail following time off is generally just to shake out the cob webs anyway, so we don’t think coach Stevie minded too much! The high cliffs and snowy mountain tops are truly beautiful.

For kiwis that rarely get to the snow, thanks to our busy training and travelling schedules, the snow-capped mountains at our doorstep were too close to be ignored. A last minute decision one afternoon saw us join our two brothers, Andy and Sam, on a mountain mission - all bundled up and jammed into our rental car.

The boys had biked the roads earlier and were enthusiastic to share the twists and turns of the windy mountain road. Biking up would be a good mission to accomplish one day! We passed the point where the bikers had to be turned around and drove up this precarious little rocky road to the summit of Mount Baldo.

Snow ball fights, tobogganing on make-do sleds (yoga mat, dry gear bag and engine reflectors), and making a Kiwi snow sculpture had us all entertained. Finally, our painfully cold finger tips made us climb back into the car, where the AC had to go Tropicana to warm us up!

The training has been going well since our first day on the water. We have been pushing ourselves in training against the Brazilians, and on Sunday we hit the water for racing with more of the FX fleet. For us, these sessions are invaluable, during our NZ based training we lack the crucial starting and boat-on-boat situations you get with bigger fleets. We have had good breeze most days, and the sailing is really enjoyable.

However we have made a vow to each other to avoid capsizing at all costs - the thought of swimming in the middle of this cold lake is not appealing! We are going to push it, but not over the edge.

This place inspires activity, so although our bodies needed a day off, it was a lot harder than normal to take a full rest day on Monday.

After a relaxing day, we are ready for our last training sail tomorrow before the Garda Eurosaf Olympic week begins on Wednesday.

The day before the event consists of the normal routine of registering, checking over the boat, and a short sail. We will then be ready to launch into this event with the aims of learning a lot and going all out!

We are looking forward to getting back into the rhythm of racing again and it’s good motivation to know this is the final haul for this trip before heading home!

For previous blogs from Alex and Molly click here

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