Please select your home edition
Edition
Pantaenius EU 728x90

Kate Macgregor on the 49er FX 'baptism of fire'

by Kate Macgregor on 28 Mar 2013
49er FX sailing Skandia Team GBR .
British sailor Kate Macgregor reports from Palma about training on the 49er FX ahead of the Trofeo Princess Sofia Mapre.

I’ve just got back out to Palma after four days at home, which with the weather like it is was plenty long enough!

We have been training over in Palma for a few weeks now and there have been a few other crews out here too, which has been great as it is the first chance we have really had to see how the British squad is doing compared to the other countries and crews.

There has even been a training regatta, with about 20 boats taking part, which was so useful because it helped me get back into fleet racing again, while it was also the first time I raced a skiff. There were other boats on the course too, which helped because it meant you really got used to doing manoeuvres, something that in a four-boat squad is hard to replicate.

On day one I was completely out of my comfort zone, and it was a very different style of racing to what I have been used to, but on day two we picked up some better results.

Before coming out to Palma we had done all our training in Murcia, where it is quite flat water, and even when it is windy just gets choppy. But here is a completely different story; we have been hit with real waves for the first time and it has almost felt like starting again!

The first day we were here has gone down in squad legend as ‘Big Wednesday’, it was an epic sail! It was about 15 knots when we went out but the waves were massive the whole day and there was a LOT of capsizing. Although the wind got up to about 25knots average, that isn’t an unsailable amount of breeze when flat but on the way back in, we were the only one of four boats not to end up with a broken mast! We all took a LOT of bruises.

I think the expression is ‘baptism of fire’!

It was really interesting seeing who was making the early pace in the 49erFX fleet during the training races. Those girls who have done a lot of skiff sailing at Youth level, but maybe not so much Olympic Classes stuff were pretty far ahead of the rest of us. But that is to be expected at this stage I think, as we are still getting used to the boat.

Over the next couple of years I think we will see the balance shift and those sailors with more experience of Olympic Classes campaigning will start to emerge at the front of the fleet, and there will be much more genuine competition. We certainly saw that in the Olympic Classes Women’s Match Racing fleet, when in the two years before the Games the same eight or so boats would be at the top end and a sort of hierarchy was established.

As a squad most of the British boats are pretty even at the moment. But the one thing we are really good at as the British Sailing Team is putting together campaigns. The depth of campaigning experience and support set-up in the team means I have complete confidence that British boats can and will start to break into the top end of the fleet and will stay there.

At the moment we are all just trying to get as much time on the water as possible and get better at sailing the boat. I think we definitely have improved as a squad over the past few months but it is hard to tell when there is no solid reference point.

The Princess Sofia Regatta in Palma will be our first real gauge and we can’t focus on the results too much. Sometimes it is easy to look at results and then get down about it by losing sight of the bigger picture. But realistically we all know this event is all about boat handling and racing, and for me particularly, fleet racing again. Having a good squad will help reinforce that.

The squad is getting on great, and we have all been staying together in the same flat while we have been training. The boys have been laughing at us as we have got this rota to take it in turns to make lunch and dinner for the other girls in the squad but we don’t care! It is sensible and it has worked well for us so far. The fact we are so near the sailing club, meaning we can pop down to the boats whenever we need to, is an added bonus.

Between now and the next ISAF World Cup event in Hyeres [that starts on the 20th April] I have also got to get my dissertation completed! All my assignments are done and handed in but everything is still a bit hectic. I have got my final exams at the end of May, the week before Sail for Gold. I really wanted to finish my degree, and I’m pleased I carried on, but it will be a relief when it is done now.

Our Europeans are in Denmark at the beginning of July but our Worlds aren’t until the end of September in Marseille, so in that time we are planning to spend most of the time training at Weymouth and Portland, just going off to do the occasional event.

But before then it is just sailing, sailing, sailing and getting better at sailing the boat with hopefully not quite so much capsizing!

Read more here.
Helm Events 660x82Zhik Yachting 660x82Ancasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

Good start to Sailing World Cup Melbourne for Aussies
Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won the first race in convincing style and finished the second race of the day in second place The Aussie duo of Mat Belcher and Will Ryan won their first race in convincing style, and finished the second race of the day in second place. They are currently in first place overall, two points ahead of the Japanese pairing of Takayama and Imamura.
Posted today at 12:23 pm
Fitzpatrick takes early lead at MS Amlin Moth Regatta
Irishman Rory Fitzpatrick holds the early lead at the second annual MS Amlin International Moth Regatta Irishman Rory Fitzpatrick holds the early lead at the second annual MS Amlin International Moth Regatta, hosted by the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
Posted today at 3:14 am
Kiel to host 2017 Para World Sailing Championships
Kiel's announcement as the host falls less than one month after World Sailing released the Strategic Plan for 2017-2020. The Plan outlines four main priorities as well tactics to achieve the goals, ensuring World Sailing presents a strong bid to the International Paralympic Committee for re-introduction into the 2024 Paralympic Games and future editions.
Posted on 5 Dec
Monaco Europa Cup - Day 3
A stiff easterly blowing up to 20 knots greeted the 230 sailors from 11 nationalities divided into five categories A stiff easterly blowing up to 20 knots greeted the 230 sailors from 11 nationalities divided into five categories on the third and last day of the Monaco Europa Cup, more than fulfilling everyone’s expectations.
Posted on 5 Dec
Monaco Europa Cup – Day 2
The Laser Standard fleet opened the proceedings in a five-knot easterly, with a starting line favoured by the Committee. The Laser Standard fleet opened the proceedings in a five-knot easterly, with a starting line favoured by the Committee leaving contestants with no choice but to take the right-hand option to the windward mark.
Posted on 4 Dec
Iain Jensen wins MS Amlin 'Dash for Cash'
Some crashes were spectacular, with the skipper being launched from the boat in a cloud of spray. Jensen is the longtime crew for Nathan Outteridge, the helmsman for Artemis Racing. As a team they won the Olympic Gold medal in the 49er Class at the 2012 London Olympics.
Posted on 3 Dec
Monaco Europa Cup - 220 Lasers raring to go at Yacht Club de Monaco
The pontoons on Quay Louis II are buzzing with youngsters as more than 220 Laser sailors get set for Monaco Europa Cup The pontoons on Quay Louis II are buzzing with youngsters as more than 220 Laser sailors get set for the Monaco Europa Cup organised by the Yacht Club de Monaco. For some, it is their first time on the Monaco race area, but for many others a chance to tackle it again.
Posted on 3 Dec
Hotting up at the Star Sailors League Finals
Three light airs races were held for the penultimate day of the Qualifying Rounds in Montagu Bay Nassau. Three light airs races were held for the penultimate day of the Qualifying Rounds in Montagu Bay Nassau. Getting a good start and having the boat speed to hold a lane was paramount today.
Posted on 2 Dec
MS Amlin International Moth Regatta attracts podium finishers
A fleet of 52 sailors, including two of the top three from last regatta, is set to contest the second annual regatta. Last year Rob Greenhalgh and Paul Goodison made British sailing proud when they finished first and third. Greenhalgh trailed by one point heading into the final day and then went out and won all three races in dominant fashion to stamp an eight-point victory. Goodison, a member of Artemis Racing for the America’s Cup, placed third.
Posted on 1 Dec
Sailing World Cup Final brings the best to St Kilda
Thirty-six nations have registered sailors across a combined 22 Olympic and Invited classes for next week’s World Cup Competitor numbers are predicted to reach 800 across the two competitions - the final stage of the international body World Sailing’s six-part Olympic class international circuit that will come to a head at St Kilda for the 11 classes, and the 11 Invited classes.
Posted on 1 Dec