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420 Junior Europeans - First day nerves and a result to calm them with

by Rob Burn on 13 Aug 2012

Chaotic will be a repeated theme throughout this regatta. Certainly the launching process today for the !st day of the 6 race qualifying series was.

Imagine a narrow launching ramp, the 470's launch first discarding their trolleys in a growing pile both sides, then the 420's having a go. Visions of our Euro500.00 damage bond going before we had got onto the race course proper. The more forceful sailors bulldozed their way to the front and launched, and threw their trolley higher and higher as the trolley mountain grew. Your intrepid writer rushed in, grabbed his sailors' trolley and led it to a place of relative safety.

Things will be good tomorrow they say.

The Club, Fraglia Vella Riva, is used to big events. They currently boast the world record Optimist sailing event of more than 1000 Optis on one start line.
Walking around to a viewing point, it looked like the World record for sunbathers crammed into every piece of pebbly beach and blade of grass. Visions of a pink and brown seal colony came to mind.

The 420 fleet was divided into 3 flights, Yellow, Blue and Red. Taylor and Oscar started third in Red Flight in a light but building breeze. The Lake has a reputation for being very tricky to sail but it depends on the wind direction and the location of the course. Today the course was more in the middle of the Lake with the Cliffs not playing the same factor as reputed, the 470's were on that course.

The boys were expecting something different to happen with the wind and got caught out badly. A 31 wasn't the start they wished for but a huge learning curve. Christophe Seeber, our Austrian technical advisor, soon put them on the right track. We are very grateful for him showing an interest in the boys and including them in the Austrian Team, plus carrying their food and water on the course ...and the all important words of wisdom.

The second race saw a bolter off the Pin end, hitting the Left side hard and getting to the front of the pack. The breeze had built to around 13 knots, enough for the Trapeze sometimes and some exciting racing. Our boys were sixth in the first downwind leg and eventually finished very strongly in third place, a great confidence builder.

http://events.sailracer.org/eventsites/results_420.asp?eventid=91143 should get you to the Official site and the 'Gallery' has some fab shots of our boys, the march past and the days racing. The Fraglia Vella Riva site has a great Gallery too, Google the address.

Pasta was waiting for the sailors and a 'Masterclass' with video of todays racing with Jim Saltenstall, a coaching legend and someone who has coached at 30 ISAF Youth Worlds in a row. Jim is a Bridlington Yorkshireman who insists on calling sailors Ferrets, and coaches, Couches ...maybe my take on his accent.

We have gone home pretty happy. Tomorrow I will see whether I have made it onto the Israeli boat to see the race much closer, oh for our boat, Neptune!

Apologies for lack of photos, battery flat but the website galleries are better anyway.

As always, a huge thank you to all our supporters and sponsors

Happy sailing
Rob

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