Team Jolly report after their return from Europe and before the Worlds

Image Jo AlehPolly Powrie (NZL) - 470 European Championships 2013

2012 Olympic Gold Medlalists, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie report after the recent European tour - where they placed second in the European Womens 470 Championships

We are now back home in NZ for a few weeks before we head back over to France for our World Championships which will take place in La Rochelle from the fifth of August. Our first trip of the year went rather well overall, we had some great racing as well as some rather cool sightseeing, so it was the perfect way to get back onto the circuit and clean out a bit of rust!!

So a bit of a recap of the end of the last trip! We have been rather hectic since we finished racing at the European’s and haven’t managed to get anything out!

The Euro’s were a bit of a tough event overall, it was a regatta with so many missed opportunities (or bad calls made – on the first beat’s), so even though we did finish the event in second overall, we have a rather big list of things we could have done better… But then again, thats what this year is all about!! The opportunity to try a few things, push ourselves, and come out the end of it with a clear path towards Rio.. so not too bad all things considered!

About the regatta itself: We started off very well with two race wins on day one, then spent the next two days with a few rigging issues that did not help our boat speed, which in turn led us to make some poor tactical decisions…. It was rather annoying, but we figured out what was going on eventually – it was as simple as using the wrong rope in the wrong place (a stretchy rope in a place that we did not want any stretch!), so once we switched that out we could at least get on with the racing again. We do find it rather amusing however that even after four years, its still so easy to get the simple stuff wrong!!

The second half of the regatta was a bit up and down, we made some bad calls on the first leg of a few races which put us at the back of the fleet at the first mark, but we did manage some pretty impressive comebacks, so that was at least something to be happy with! We went into the final ‘medal race’ in third overall, nine points off the Austrians in second, and eleven points off the French in first – so really to move up on the dias was a bit of a long shot – all we could do was just sail the medal race as best as we could and hope the two boats ahead of us stuffed something up!

So we did just that, we sailed a nearly perfect medal race – nice clean start, safe first leg to sneak around the top mark just in the lead. The first downwind was a rather stressful affair the fleet all coming together again, we had to make the right move at the right time and we pulled it off perfectly to lead around the bottom mark by a few boat lengths, and that was pretty much the race. So we won the medal race, with the French a few boats back and the Austrians in seventh, which points wise was enough for us to move up into second overall, so at least it was a great way to end!

That was actually the easy part, as soon as we hit the dock it was pack up time… We do travel with a bit of a ‘rig’ and its great once we are moving, but takes a bit of effort to get it all packed and safely stowed – it was about 30 degrees and sunny on shore as well, which made it a bit more draining! We left Formia at 7am the next morning and started our 1850km drive to La Rochelle, with a rather efficient rotating driver scheme we plowed through the miles and made it to France in a day and a half. Polly then caught a train to Paris to fly back home (the story of which ended with Polly and the boys sleeping in the airport terminal for a night.. not so fun) and Jo hung around Paris for a few days to see the sights and enjoy some French food!!IMG_2912

So now we are both back in NZ – enjoying the middle of winter – trying to cram everything we need to catch up on into these few weeks at home! Getting used to the sun setting at 5pm! Even less time to fit things into the day!

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