Top Womens 49erFX team reflect on the opening stanzas in Europe
by Alex Maloney and Molly Meech on 7 May 2013
Alex Maloney and Molly Meech on of the top 49erFX crews in the world, recap on their first half of the 2013 European season:
44 TROFEO S.A.R. Princesa Sofia Mapfre, ; NZL-1315; 1; Alexandra Maloney; Molly Meech © MartinezStudio.es
Our first trip of 2013 has come to an end, and it was a great adventure. Everything from driving through 4 countries in one day, getting lost in old cities, over night ferries and training in massive waves and breeze was a worthwhile experience. As a team we grew and we can’t be more thankful to our coach Nathan Handley for showing us the ropes of campaigning in Europe. It was also a successful trip and we came away with a silver and gold medal in the two ISAF world cup events we competed in!
The first world cup event was in Palma de Mallorca. This event was an eye opener to Olympic sailing for us. With all the Olympic classes invited, it is a big event and further more it was the first time for FX sailors from all around the world to be able to compete against each other.
All very exciting and nerve racking for the kiwi team with high expectations. While we were there we were able to experience a range of conditions, some more testing than others. The most challenging days were when a strong breeze blew straight into the bay, carrying rather big waves. Not only was it spectacular to watch the skiffs try come in and out of the beach, were also sure spectators found the new skiff greenies in the FX fleet very entertaining.
In Palma, our racing was not so consistent with days where we came out firing with great results and other days where we struggled to get off the line and get back into it. Despite our mixed results we still managed to qualify second for the stadium racing on the last day. Here the top 8 compete inside a tight course with boundaries keeping the fleet close! The intense stadium races had 3 laps which provided plenty of exercise for the crew’s!
All Molly’s hard work in the gym really began to show in this new format. We were leading around every first top mark and we had a chance of beating our Danish rivals going into the last day, but they managed to sail really well themselves and passed us in 3 out of the 4 races. Something to work on! We were still really pleased coming away with a silver ISAF medal and enjoyed the whole experience. It was also special to share our excitement with our older brothers who gained a gold and bronze medal in the laser fleet.
We then moved onto Barcelona for a training camp. We stayed on site, in an amazing complex where we could do gym work, eat, sleep and sail from! It wasn’t too shabby either. In Barcelona we worked on improving a few skills, mainly starts and maintaining fitness. It was also a good opportunity to do a few touristy things and see some amazing sights.
Moving on to Hyeres, we were refreshed and ready to get into our last ISAF World Cup of the trip. The regatta started out a bit sticky in light winds where we had decent results but hadn’t hit our full form yet. From there it was only upward in a good mix of conditions. We think we were fortunate to not have to battle the typical 'mistral' strong breeze however. We steadily worked our way into the lead for the last day of the event.
In the stadium races ISAF threw double points into the mix, so anything could happen! We did what we had to, stayed clean and safe to come away with gold! It was a great way to end the trip and the results reflect the hard work we have been putting in and the faith our supporters have given us, during these early stages. Since it is just the beginning for the FX fleet, we know it will only get harder, so this trip has given us the motivation to keep getting better ourselves! All very exciting.
From here we are home in NZ for a month of training before heading to the 49er and FX Europeans in Aarhus, Denmark in late June. We look forward to focusing on a few weaknesses at home before being able to test ourselves against a quality fleet at Euros!
Thanks for all the support and encouragement over the last few months. We hope to be able to keep you updated and part of the journey. Please feel free to follow us on facebook at Molly & Alex Sailing, for more regular updates from the team.
Molly and Alex