RS:X Sailors from the Northern Hemisphere make a trip from up top to down under.
The event – the 2010 Perth International Regatta is the lead-in to the Perth 2011 Olympic qualifiers. Several international teams took the chance to get some experience with the Perth courses.
The RS:X sailors from Europe shared their stories while waiting for the Perth wind to fill-in.
Flavia Tartaglini (ITA) and Marcelien Bos de Koning (NED) were two of the RS:X Open sailors waiting for wind at Bathers Beach in Fremantle Western Australia.
Flavia started sailing the Optimist at 6 years old, like most of the sailors here for competition in Perth. She was competing around Europe in fencing when at 15 years old she took up windsurfing for fun. Her home beach is Ostia, part of Rome Italy. She’s an only child and misses her mom back in Italy. They talk every day, but Flavia was quite insistent that she’s committed to being a full-time sailor.
She moved into full-time competition when she was 18 years old. Flavia and other Italian sailors are part of the Italian Army, though she is the only Itaian woman competing in the RSX. Her modest salary and pension provide a means for Flavia to race, including world competition in Brazil last year and previous events in Sydney and Melbourne.
Italy gets down to around 5-10 C during the winter and she was looking forward to Perth – the windy, sailors’ paradise. She’s been a bit disappointed that the predictable 15-20 kts of wind called the 'Fremantle Doctor' hasn’t arrived at 1 PM every day like it did the week before the competition. Flavia will be going next to Sydney to train with a couple of the Australian sailors and return to Italy in March.
Marcelien Bos de Koning (NED) blushed as she explained she is at the back of the fleet. She had been a 470 sailor for 8 years and won the silver medal in Beijing in the 470 fleet. She moved to the RS:X because she wanted the excitement. This is her first year racing the RS:X in international competition starting with Worlds in Miami last year.
She spoke of the irony of craving 20 kts on the 470, but finding the 20kts to be a bit difficult while developing new skills Her family sails and she’s been on sailboats since she was born. By the age of 12 years old she won the Optimist Championships in France.
By Saturday 20 November, Marina Alabau (ESP) from Cadiz Spain was the leader of the RSX Open fleet. Marina spent only one year in the Optimist at the age of 8 and always wanting to windsurf. At 11 years old Marina got her start and found her obsession. By the age of 13 years old, she was competing at the Worlds in Martinque France.
She’s a full time sailor and studying tourism on the side. She was first place at the 2009 Worlds in Weymouth Great Britain and seventh place at 2010 Worlds in Kerteminde Denmark held in September.
There were only 10 women in the RSX Open competition this year – the lead up event to Perth 2011 Olympic qualifiers. The competitors at this year’s event are hoping for 80 RSX Open athletes at the major 2011 event.
The weather in Perth has been atypically light. In fact, the weather was so light that the RS:X and Bathers Beach spectators watched the 49ers being towed back to Fremantle Sailing Club around 1 PM in the afternoon.