by Rob Burn
It should be said in Welsh but with blue lips and no clue how to pronounce anything at all ... best left alone.Day one of the GBR 420 Nationals in Pwllheli, North Wales. The GBR Nationals are four days of racing before the Junior European 420 and 470 Champs start next week on the same race track.
Race two, Finish, Big gap behind, GBR Nats- GBR 420 Nationals, Pwllheli, Wales
Fourteen races are scheduled, the Race Officer has his work cut out to get them in but he did the London Olympic sailing so he knows his onions.
New Zealand are represented by just one crew, Taylor Burn and Henry Gibbs. The other five crews from the Valencia World Champs have either gone back to school or on to other things such as the Edinburgh Tattoo.
It is a long way from Valencia to Pwllheli, North Wales, in distance, temperature, colour, culture and just about everything else you can imagine. Spanish is not too difficult to cope with but Welsh but at least they are mad keen Rugby enthusiasts.
For the Burn Gibbs families and sailors, we split up for a week, the Gibbs heading off deeper into Spain and then Portugal and flying back into Manchester and driving to Pwllheli. The Burns drove and drove. Something not unknown to us, via Barcelona, old workmates in the South of France, whistle stop tour of Paris, driving through to London, more old workmates and all the sights, then family in Yorkshire and a trip via the Holy head ferry terminal to Dublin, onto North Wales. Towing a Rib. Just the thing in heavy traffic, through central London, rush hour traffic on the motorways skirting huge population centres, 75 mph towing, driving a left hand vehicle in the driving rain in some areas ...then just missing the ferry to Dublin by 10 minutes for Carolyn ....apologies already for not achieving F1 standard ...we live though.
Pwllheli is a small town of 4000 people built around a marina. A serious Northern holiday destination where the supermarket becomes the entertainment on rainy days, the traffic can be tight in the narrow streets, the beaches great and the Welsh hospitality second to none. A bit chilly after Valencia it must be said. We were here in 2009 and have very fond memories.
There was a delay in launching this morning waiting for the breeze to settle in. The Course was reasonably close in. easy to get to and the sailors enjoyed 8 - 14 knots of shifty breeze and short chop but some very surfable waves on the downwind legs. There are nearly 80 boats in the competition divided into two flights, Yellow and Blue. After six qualifying races they will divide into Gold and Silver Fleets for the Final series.
Without getting too carried away, Taylor and Henry had a good day. In the first race they were eighth around the Top mark, third by the down wind and finished second to the Israelis. The second race they got into first place but couldn't hold it, two GBR boats got ahead on the last upwind but it was a very close finish, third was acceptable. The last race of the day saw them third around the Top mark, into second within a 100 metres and they held that from a different GBR boat from the previous race.
Taylor and Henry are third overall, one point off first place. Just GBR and AUS ahead .....The boys are sharing a coach, Sarah Williams, daughter of British Opti Coach Allan Williams, so familiar to Kiwis. Three USA crews and NZL making things economic. Us supporters are fortunate to be on the water as we brought up a Rib for the Portuguese who haven't turned up yet....it's ours until they do.
Hog roast tonight at the Club, get everything done with the free wifi, none at our accommodation so apologies again in advance if reports arrive late.
Follow the action on the 420 sailing website and follow the link to the event website then the link through to the tracking site and check out all the action.
A special mention to the coaches at Valencia. A great team of Ben Goodwin for the Girls course and Shelley Hesson as Head Coach from Yachting NZ on the Open Course. Great job, sailors enjoyed every minute and learnt so much, wish Shelley was back in NZ. Many thanks YNZ.