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Kate Ellingham reports on day 1 of Sail Go for Gold

by Kate Ellingham on 15 Sep 2009
Sailing downwind - Kate Ellingham (NZL-48) .. .
Top New Zealand Womens RS:X sailor, Kate Ellingham, reports from Day 1 of the Sail for Gold Regatta in Weymouth, England:

Today was the first day of Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth, England. Having just finished the worlds, I am treating this regatta as an opportunity to work on some weaknesses highlighted in the worlds. It is also another chance to sail in the 2012 Olympic venue. Out on the course today it was 8-14kts and I placed 7th and 8th to be 7th overall.

Staying in Weymouth again after the Worlds has lost a little of the initial excitement from when I first arrived three weeks ago. Back then I hopped off an exhausting flight and hired a car, only to immediately enter a four hour traffic jam in London. The following day was not so exciting when I opened up my board bag to find the tail end of it crushed!

Fortunately I discovered a boat builders was pretty much next door to my accommodation in the quaint little (tiny!) English town of Chiswell – close to the Portland Yacht Club - venue for the Olympic games 2012.

The builder did a good job fixing it up, and I was back on my own board after three days. The first day of the worlds turned out to be the most thrilling with one race averaging 25 knots! This strong wind resulted in a lot of carnage, with girls flying off their boards as massive gusts of up to 35knots hit them. I got through unscathed (despite a few swims too) and was happy with my results of 7th and 10th considering these are not normally my conditions.

Through the rest of the regatta I remained quite consistent with my score card being 7, 10, 7, 14, 9, 7, 9 13, 22, 7, 13. This consistency meant that I climbed the results board every day. Most races were in planing condition, but some were that difficult transition between planing and non-planing. Going in to the penultimate day of racing I was in thirteenth position overall and needed two good races to make the top ten medal race. Unfortunately, I played the first race too safe and had a bad result. I was gutted but managed to turn my day around in the second race to get a 7th. On my return to the beach, I learnt that I missed out on the medal race by one point.

Being extremely disappointed to miss the medal race, I went out on the water determined to keep my 11th position in the final race. The plan was to cover the Italian girl coming 12th and the Hong Kong girl in 13th. I didn’t have the greatest race as I had to go the non-favoured way to always keep them in my sight. However I finished in front of them which was enough to finish up 11th. This was an exciting improvement from my 33rd placing in last years World Championships!!

I’d like to thank Express Logistics, Orca Wetsuits, SPARC, YNZ, my coach David Robertson and off course my biggest supporters, Mum and Dad.

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