Team Jolly Racing report on their Medal at the 470 Womens Europeans

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie on top of an Austrian mountain. Image by: Team Jolly Racing
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Team Jolly Racing, Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie , report on their Bronze medal win at the 2009 Womens 470 Europeans in Austria:

Hi there

We don't have a website or anything going at the moment, so we are trying to start sending some updates out after we do something interesting... so here is attempt number two!

We have both just returned from Europe after a successful first trip, where we really did surprise ourselves with our results...

We started out at Holland, with the Delta Lloyd regatta, which was our first international regatta, and not to mention, our first regatta in a 470 with more than 10 boats! So it took a bit of getting used to, but we started out well and just improved from there, going into the final medal race in 4th, and holding on... To finish our first World Cup event in 4th overall.

From there, we packed it all up, got in the car, and spent a day and a half driving down to Lake Traunsee, in Austria for the European Championships - The drive of which was a little uncomfortable, as there were five of us in the car - along with as many bags as we could fit (The rest had been delegated to traveling in the coach boat).

We spent a good day setting up, and then got out on the lake to see what it was like, we thought it might be a rather random place to sail, and it did not disappoint! The first day we went out, the wind was blowing across the lake at its thinnest point (The lake was only about 7km long, and 2km wide in places), and it was crazy sailing, with the wind varying from 2 to 20 knots, from all directions. So we knew we were in for an interesting regatta!

Jo Aleh and Olivia Powrie won glass vases for finishing third overall in the Europeans. Image by: Team Jolly Racing
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We managed to get a few good days sailing before we started racing, but the highlight was definitely off the water, we took the two days before racing off, and decided to explore a little. On the first day, we went up a huge gondola, which took us to a mountain overlooking the lake, where we went for a bit of a hike to a taller peak. Along the way we found patches of snow, and had a few good snowball fights on the way to the summit.

The next day, we headed off to Salzburg, where Polly had managed to convince us all to go on the Sound of Music tour, so we spent an interesting morning being driven around on a bus to all of the places shown in the movie, complete with the songs from the movie played to us on the bus. Not your usual sailing trip!

And then the regatta started - The first day went well, with three races and three improving results for us - Getting better in every race as we finally figured out what was going on, nicely for us it was a good enough day to put us in 4th overall. However this was sadly not a show of things to come, for the rest of the regatta brought hours of sitting around waiting for the breeze to arrive, or getting out on the water watching the wind shift 180 degrees.

So going into the last day, the race committee was getting a little worried, as we had only had five races, and they needed six races to make the regatta count as the European Champs. So we all got a bit of a shock the evening before, on checking the noticeboard - Racing was scheduled for 7am the next morning. Whats more, we were staying about 25 minutes away, so the wake up was a bit of a shock, we were in the car by 5.15am, as we had to be on the water at 6am, to tow out to the race course.

Image by: Team Jolly Racing
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It really was amazing, after all the sailing we have all done, none of us had ever been putting on sailing gear and going out on the water before 6am, it was a little crazy!

But at least there was some wind, and we got the one race they needed in, and we held on to our 3rd place overall, just before the wind died for the day, and they sent us back ashore at 9am. We spent the rest of the day lazing around, waiting to see if the breeze would come back - But it really didn't, it was completely glassy all day, and they called it off for good at 3pm.

So in between a hurried pack up (we had to start driving that night to make it to the place in Holland where we were storing our boats by 5pm the next day) we made it to the prize giving, and got these tall glass vases as trophies (about 60-70cm tall - nice and all, but not really the best for travelling..) and we officially made our first podium finish! Here's hoping there will be many more to come!

We managed the drive, and got home a few days ago, where Polly had two exams to sit the day after we got home (We arrived at 10.30pm to make things worse) and I at least had one day to study...

Now we are back in training mode, with about seven weeks till we take off again, and lots to get right before the World Champs in August and World Cup event Sail for Gold in September.

Special thanks to our supporters: Donaghys, Harken, Kaenon, Zhik, Yachting New Zealand, and the New Zealand Academy of Sport.

Jo and Polly
Team Jolly Racing