Trofeo SAR Princesa Sofia update from Andrew Campbell.
Unfortunately, we had a bit of an ugly start to our medal race in Palma. We were pretty fired up to have a good race with good potential to move back up the leaderboard and get onto the podium with a good finish in the ten-boat final race. The only potential snag I could foresee was that the Italian Olympic Trials was going on at this event and there would be two Italian teams in the medal race: Diego Negri and Francesco Bruni. Having raced against Francesco last week in the Congressional Cup I figured he would be after Diego in the pre-start and that we needed to be clear of that mess; we had too many other boats to race against.
Sure enough, Diego and Francesco were sitting at the committee boat end at the warning and about to commence their duel. Ian and I had been struggling for height so we figured we should try and get down to leeward of the group anyway. We were set up with a nice gap between us and the French team at the pin with about 30 seconds to go when Diego and Francesco come screaming down the line. I closed the gap to ensure Diego went past. He did, sailing all the way to the pin. But in defending the pin, the French opened up a larger gap than I realized to leeward of us. I saw Francesco sail behind us a few seconds later and brushed it off, fully confident that he would continue to the pin to attack Diego. I looked at him and he indicated that was his plan. I assumed wrong. Francesco changed his mind about a second later and came head to wind in our gap to leeward. We were both about a half length over the line with 10 seconds to go and even with a substantial bear-away I couldn’t get back to the pre-start side. I’m fairly confident he was over the line with us at the start, but when the X flag went up I knew we should go back, and when we dipped the line the X came right down. We spent the rest of the race well behind, only able to pass Bruni and Alex Schlonski on the last run to the finish to take eighth in the race and sixth in the regatta.
The scores were so close in the end with a three-way tie for second place, it will continue to drive me crazy until we can get a chance to redeem ourselves next week at Hyeres Semaine Olympique Francaise. We had every opportunity in the world to make things happen and I committed a fatal error that cost us at that start. The reality is we had so many boats to worry about we got too passive. If we had only one boat to chase, we probably would have been more focused to make something specific happen. Lots of 'what ifs' but the biggest reality of it all was the missed opportunity on race day 5 with two races in the teens. Things always feel like they come down to the last race, but we have some tuning issues that we need to take care of to really get ourselves on track to consistently win medals here.
Masts and sails are going to be the top expenses over the next three months. We have some flights booked and some housing, but I’m mostly concerned about making sure our equipment is correct for the rest of the spring leading into Weymouth. At the moment, as much as this campaign is on the cusp of being on the very top level we are also on the financial brink. I will be reaching out to many of you over the next few weeks to enlist your help for this final push to win the next two events just as we have been so close to doing in the last two World Cup Events.
After taking the ferry from Palma back to the mainland and dropping Ian at the airport in Barcelona. I continued on the road in a massive caravan from Barcelona to Hyeres, France. Probably a hundred trailers and teams made the journey in a massive armada on the highway. Its nice to get a friendly wave and a thumbs-up from another sailor letting you know that the trailer looks good every once in a while. On this trip it was like a mini-boatpark every time we got to a toll plaza!
I’ll fly back to the States from France to get ready for the CISA Clinic which starts Thursday in Long Beach, CA. I’ll do my best to have updates from CISA at CampbellSailing.com. CISA has all the info you might need as well if you have young sailors interested in the best youth sailing clinic in the world. This year we have 15 world-class coaches for our 115 young sailors. This will be my third year running the clinic and I’m excited to be involved again. We’re going to work hard to make these 4 days the best training of the year for these sailors, hopefully giving them a taste of what we have just been doing in Europe the last two weeks.
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