Sailors Mathew Belcher and Malcolm Page experienced a successful re-introduction to the Europe season at the Trofeo SAR Princess Sofia Mapre regatta. They share with us their experience in Palma, Spain:
On our way to winning race 9 and 10 - Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia Mapre 2012
The racing was some of the most difficult we have had in recent times. It was like Groundhog Day for the training week and first four days of the regatta we were in Palma. We had 5-7knts, very choppy wave conditions, 18 degrees temperature and sunny skies. These conditions have traditionally (indeed for most Aussies) been our weakest point of sailing. So it was great to be able to match the fleet and keep in the front part of the results after each day.
With these difficult conditions it was a game of attrition. Basically you just needed to not do anything stupid to keep yourself in the running...
Then day five arrived... We suddenly had 15knts combined with large waves. We were in our element! It had been such a long time since sailing in decent wind, that the 15knts felt like it was a gale. We handled it well and came away with 2x bullets. This suddenly threw some dominance over the results, and gave us a 14 point lead going into the final Medal race, and with the great strength of knowing our worst position would be a silver medal.
The Medal race day dawned and the wind just kept coming. The conditions were now even bigger waves and 20knts of wind. If the day before was a gale this felt like we were in Bass Strait (although neither of us have actually sailed in Bass Strait). Our medal race strategy was pretty simple, 'keep it upright and get around the course'. We did this without too much trouble and crossed the line in second, and won the regatta by 18 points.
One of the most exciting things for us was that our training partners Sam and Will AUS13, finished the regatta with a 10th place overall. With two days of racing to go, they were in third position and had the red jersey on. They had some bad luck in the medal race with their mainsail falling down with a breakage, but they battled on and finished just the same, showing some great fighting Aussie spirit. They have spent every day on the water with us over the last two years and supported each other in our development and improvement towards the event later in the year. They earned this great result through hard work, against all the best 470 sailors in the world.
Thanks for your support.
Malcolm and Mathew
Belcher and Page Blog