Please select your home edition
Edition
SailX 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.
Southern Spars - 100Bakewell-White Yacht DesignInSunSport - NZ

Related Articles

Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 2
Yachting NZ's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is unprecedented Yachting New Zealand's refusal to nominate in three classes won in the first round of 2016 Olympic Qualification is without precedent. Subject to Appeal, the Kiwis have signaled that they will reject 30% of the positions gained in the ISAF World Sailing Championships in Santander in 2014.
Posted on 22 May
Gladwell's Line - World Sailing changes tack after IOC windshift
Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick Over the past year, we've given the International Sailing Federation (now re-badged as World Sailing) a bit of stick. Every blow well earned over issues such as the pollution at Rio, the Israeli exclusion abomination plus a few more. But now World Sailing is getting it right.
Posted on 21 May
Rio 2016 - The Qualification Games - Part 1
Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving its goals Antipodean selection shenanigans aside, the Qualification system for the Rio Olympics appears to be achieving goals set in the Olympic Commission report of 2010. Around 64 countries are expected to be represented in Rio de Janeiro in August. That is a slight increase on Qingdao and Weymouth, but more importantly a full regional qualification system is now in place
Posted on 19 May
Taming the beast-a conversation with Stuart Meurer of Parker Hannifin
While AC72 cats were fast, they difficult to control, so Oracle partnered with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way. If you watched videos of the AC72s racing in the 34th America’s Cup (2013), you’re familiar with the mind-boggling speeds that are possible when wingsail-powered catamarans switch from displacement sailing to foiling mode. While foiling is fast, there’s no disguising the platform’s inherent instability. Now, Oracle Team USA has teamed up with Parker Hannifin to innovate a better way.
Posted on 18 May
From foiling Moths to Olympic starting lines-a Q&A with Bora Gulari
Bora Gulari’s is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class, along with teammate Louisa Chafee. Bora Gulari (USA) has made a strong name for himself within high-performance sailing circles, with wins at the 2009 and 2013 Moth Worlds. In between, he broke the 30-knort barrier and was the 2009 US SAILING Rolex Yachtsman of the Year. His latest challenge is representing the USA at the Rio 2016 Olympics in the Nacra 17 class as skipper, along with his teammate Louisa Chafee.
Posted on 12 May
Concern for Zika at Rio Olympics is now deadly serious
Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, Alphabet soup is one description that has thus far not been used for either Guanabara Bay, or the Rio Olympics. Many others have, and they were apt, but things have changed. So here now we have a situation where one man, Associate Professor Amir Attaran, who does have a more than decent string of letters after his name, is bringing nearly as many facts to bear as references at the article's end
Posted on 12 May
The importance of being Alive
Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, Since buying the stunningly pretty Reichel-Pugh canting keel 66-footer, and re-naming her Alive, the team have lined up for a lot of things, won plenty and nabbed a record, as well. She’s presently in a yard in the Philippines having a minor refit in readiness for the Australian season. It will commence with the upcoming Brisbane to Keppel and then head sharply into this year’s Hobart.
Posted on 10 May
Zhik - The brand born of a notion, not its history
here is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline is officially marketed as Made For Water There is probably every reason that ocean rhymes with notion. Zhik’s tagline has been officially marketed as Made For Water, and this is precisely what the company has done for the last eight years before the succinct and apt strapline came from out of R&D and into mainstream visibility.
Posted on 8 May
Shape of next Volvo Ocean Race revealed at Southern Spars - Part 1
Southern Spars has been confirmed as the supplier of spars for the 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race. In mid-April, Race Director, Jack Lloyd and Stopover Manager Richard Mason outlined the changes expected for the 40,000nm Race during a tour of Southern Spars 10,000sq metre specialist spar construction facility. A total of up to seven boats is expected to enter, but time is running out for the construction of any new boats.
Posted on 3 May
Sailing in the Olympics beyond 2016 - A double Olympic medalist's view
Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. Gold and Bronze medalist and multiple world boardsailing/windsurfer champion, Bruce Kendall takes a look at what he believes Sailing needs to do to survive beyond the 2016 Olympics. A key driver is the signalled intention by the International Olympic Committee to select a basket of events that will be contested.
Posted on 29 Apr