by Rob Burn
Rob Burn reports from First Day of the World 420 Championships, in Valencia, Spain:
NZL 420 parents waiting for sailors return Day 1, 2013 420 Worlds, Valencia, Spain
Two Weddings, a marching band and an inflatable parading circus with samba dancers at midnight.
That view from our apartment in the Old City plus the spectacular architecture of Valencia, the heat, and the sheer size of the Club Real Nautico where the Worlds are being staged are images that will be with us for a long time.
Getting here was a challenge for us all. Some flew in from the ISAF Youth Worlds in Cyprus, Some trained and planed from the French Nationals in Brittany via Paris and three carloads drove down the 1400 kms.
The job of pulling a large, wide trailer with 420's plus a big coach boat is a challenge but the driving shared between Amanda, Carolyn and myself made it less arduous. Hard concentrating for hours on end at 110-120 per hour on a dual carriageway. Lost only once in the city of Zaragoza, 3 hours out of Valencia. Valencia itself is another story for driving.
Those of us who have vehicles have found getting lost here is much easier than dropping ice cream down a clean, white shirt. The Yacht Club is South of the huge Port, the other side from the former America's Cup base, where the Opening ceremony tomorrow night will be. Getting there is tricky, with lots of small roads that lead you into an industrial wasteland.
The regatta is being run in a corner of the grounds near the entrance to the marina, about a kilometre and a half to the Club building and it's fabulous Olympic sized swimming pool. Everything is on smooth concrete and the reflected heat is fierce. Shade is at a premium and the first arrivals of Team NZL bought little gazebos to shelter under. We have a good spot for our boats with some shade first thing in the morning and easy access to our vehicles, office etc. All six Teams are almost ready to race now and have been doing some practicing with other teams plus the training with Coaches Shelley Hesson and Ben Goodwin.
The six Kiwi crews are Annabel Cave and Sam Bullock, Taylor Balough and Sam Lee, Sam Barnett and Zac Mertons, Taylor Burn and Henry Gibbs in the Open Fleet, Eliza Wilkinson and Julia Francis, Liv Mackay and Abby Goodwin in the Ladies Fleet, which is on a separate course. Big support crew of parents as well, us Kiwi's do things quite differently from many other nations, many sailors just come with a Coach, Manager and Country Representative, who are usually not parents.
Registration and Measurement starts today but Team NZL are not scheduled until 11am Wednesday, plenty of time for our crews to check out how to do it and get organised. Lining up in the heat won't be the best. Opening Ceremony at the old America's Cup base will be exciting tomorrow night and there will be fireworks after the March past with all the country Flags etc.
Racing starts Thursday local time. More than 200 boats from nearly 30 nations.
A little treat from the Regatta organisers today, an Optimist full of ice and plastic packed wedges of watermelon ....just the ticket in 37degC.
Hasta la Vista