Team Jolly- 470 World Champions- One year on…
by Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie on 16 Aug 2013
Jo Aleh/Polly Powrie (NZL) celebrate their World Champion win © Christoph Breschi http://breschi-photo-video.com/
You may already know.. But we are now the current 470 World Champions.
Thought we should probably do another update as we actually have something to write about! Tried to keep updating our Facebook page throughout the event, so hopefully if you were watching you saw a few of those and sounds like we got some media coverage at home at the end as well, which is cool!
Well, overall I think we can definitely say we had a great time in La Rochelle (apart from a little thievery – where four of team NZL’s mountain bikes got stolen overnight from our hotel). We competed in the ‘Legends Trophy’ a day before our worlds started – which was an incredible event, part of the 470 50th anniversary celebrations, with some true 470 legends all getting back in the boat and having a series of races to decide the final ten boats, who then fought it out for the title. We made a late run for it and managed to sneak into third place overall – a few inches ahead of Hamish Wilcox (Kiwi 470 Legend, and current men’s coach). Which was lucky, as I don’t think we would have ever heard the end of it if he had beaten us!!
So after that little warm up, we were straight into day one of the Worlds, after Legends Trophy we had gotten a few of the ‘first day’ jitters out of the way and so we started out strong with two wins and a second on day one. Day two was a bit more mixed, with a very nearly last place and a slightly better race. The format for this world champs was a little confusing – with a two day ‘qualifying series’ after which you carried that ‘qualifying place’ as ‘race 1? of the final series (sorry for all the 's but its the only way I can think to explain it!!). So we went into the ‘final series’ in fourth place – carrying a fourth as our first race.
Then the real regatta started… We were a bit up and down at times, starting the series well winning the first race . We then followed that up with a not so good race where we attempted to see just how close to the back of the fleet we could get – very close it seems. Then due to some very poor memory by all three of us, we failed to sign off within the time frame – and got five points added on to the first race of the day: truly muppet-like). But in true Jolly form, we reckon this is what ended up winning us these worlds, we were so annoyed at ourselves for our sign-off error that there was just no way we were going to let our title hopes disappear through a silly mistake… So the next day we sailed a close to perfect three races with one win, and two second placings. It was a tough day on the water and we were the most consistent boat by a long way…
The last day of ‘finals’ brought tricky conditions yet again and we got a bit overcomplicated (and wearing the fluro yellow, let the pressure get to us more than we should have) to end up with a thirteenth in the first race of the day. But after a ‘Don’t worry girls, you are still in there, just keep chipping away’ from our great coach Nathan Handley (who we were SO happy to have back on the team) we pulled ourselves back into line and finished off the series with a third in the last race. Due to everyone else in the fleet also having bad races, we actually managed to extend our lead from the day before and we went into the final ‘medal race’ (8 boat, double point short race) with a thirteen point lead.
Medal race day was awesome, we knew that we just had to keep things together and we would be on our way to our first World Title. It was just a case of keep things simple, do the basics and actually enjoy it! To win the regatta all we had to do was finish anywhere but last (if the French team won the race), so we just stuck to the basics, decent start, decent first beat to be fifth at the top mark, passed a few boats on the first downwind leg, then on the last upwind leg we got a few good shifts to round the second to last mark in second behind the Chinese. We timed the downwind to perfection (or got a little lucky…) and managed to sneak inside the Chinese boat at the last bottom mark to take the medal race win and take the World Championship title in style.
As you can maybe tell, we rather enjoyed that last day! It was great to have the pressure off us and just be able to go out there and enjoy ourselves. The amazing thing being that this medal race was held on the 10th of August – exactly one year to the day of our Olympic medal race in Weymouth, so it was another gold one year on… Pretty incredible timing. Its also David Slyfield’s (who is a huge part of our behind the scenes team) birthday, so obviously a good date all around!
So that's pretty much it… Our first World Title, after a year that has been more about time off and making sure we don’t go too hard too early, it is simply great to know that we are still on the right track. With a big list of ‘to work-on’s’ for the kiwi summer, we are going to be nice and busy, but for now its time for a change of pace. As we go check out the conditions in Rio, have a look at the America’s Cup in San Fran, then finish the year off with the World Cup event in Qingdao (China) in October where we get supplied charter boats, so we can’t take it too seriously!!
Also wanted to take this opportunity to thank our awesome team of sponsors that came on late last year: Apollo Projects, Kingspan, Active Refrigeration, Flexilease, John Jones Steel, O’Donnell Griffin and Profile Construction. To be able to focus on the sailing and not worry so much about everything else has made a huge difference. So really, Thank You.
- See more at: www.teamjollyracing.com