Rob Burn reports on the third day of racing for the New Zealand team competing at the 420 World Championships in Travemunde, Germany.
Bad races, good races, the last throw of the dice to make the Gold fleets.
The Kiwi teams slow grind up continues in a light and shifty day on both courses.
The weather forecast predicted wind ranging from 13- 16 knots but we got around 9 knots, very soft, but the occasional puff up to 12 knots, a little rain in the morning but almost cleared to grey skies. The large chop that the heavier sailors had to punch through was probably the worst thing for our sailors. For some reason the Open Course and the Ladies Course were closer together today, not helpful for some sailors.
On the Open Course, Taylor Burn and Taylor Balogh had first start in Yellow Flight, got a good start, tacked onto Port and headed out right towards the clouds and breeze. The intrepid band of spectators waited at the Start area then motored around the Course expecting to see the Kiwi boat doing well.
The right side of the Course boats and us were all heading for a Mark that proved to be the Wing Mark for the Ladies fleet, the Ladies course mark layers were towing an alternative Mark that was the same colour as the Open Fleet ones. The Fleet peeled off, realising their mistake but for some, the damage was done.
Sam Barnett and Zak Merton in the next Start had a similar race, got on the wrong side of a wind shift in the light conditions and ended up at the back of the fleet.
Not a great start for both crews.
On the Ladies Course, the two top ranked Kiwi crews of Brittany Wornall and Emma Stenhouse, Eliza Wilkinson and Kate Stewart started to gain their confidence. Still not the best starts but Eliza and Kate dipped most of the Fleet to finish strongly in 12th.
The much less experienced crews of Ava Mannering and Rosa Hill, Sophie von Waldow and Annabel Cave are still struggling with the big start lines and the level of competition and this is reflected in the results. The additional issue of sailing for NZL as a German, and possible ISAF consequences, has certainly had a major effect on Sophie's focus.
In this writers opinion, time on the water together is everything, as shown by Sam and Zak, in their third season together. Taylor and Taylor have had three months of weekends, some of the Ladies crews just a few days. In New Zealand we tend to get sidetracked by other classes then try and catch up when we realise that we want to do well at an International Championships. What the Europeans do is to get into a class like the 420 early after Optis, and stay there. In NZL, we tend to have a crack at the P and Starlings, and others, all great boats, but definitely not helpful if high level results in World Champs are wanted.
The second race had both Brittany and Emma, Eliza and Kate put everything together for their best races yet, Brittany and Emma a very Eliza and Kate an even better 4th.
Both Ladies crews assured of making the Gold Fleet.
Back on the Open Course, Taylor Burn and Taylor Balogh again started first, another good start, 12th around the Top mark in front of the regatta leaders. A tough and close battle all race but a 14th finish, still better than they have had and a confidence builder in those conditions.
Sam Barnett and Zak Merton, with the advantage of watching the first flight start and where the wind looked best, had a great start, got to the front of the Fleet and held their position. Scanning the boats coming downwind for them, Sam and Zak looked like they had disappeared, next thing they popped out from behind the 3rd boat to hold onto and finish a storming 4th. With the 'Discard', the boats worse race being dropped after 5 races, Sam and Zak were definitely into the Gold Fleet, for Taylor and Taylor, it wasn't yet so clear.
As always, a tow back to the boat park, an eye on the Protest Board and wait for the Results to be posted. The Results come online before they go up on the Results Board and with some relief we found that both NZL boys crews had made the Open Gold Fleet, plus the top two Ladies crews. Overall NZL results,
subject to any Protest hearing changes, Sam and Zak 25 (43, 4), Taylor and Taylor 47 (38, 14), Brittany and Emma, 34 (21, 8), Eliza and Kate, 35, (12, 4) Ava and Rosa 79 (39, 34), Sophie and Annabel 82 (42, 40)
The Spanish and the Singaporeans are giving a sailing lesson to all in these conditions. www.420sailing.org
for full results and commentary, plus photo gallery. The photos added to the 'Postcards' are via a S5 phone, tricky to get too close without upsetting the Race Officer and risk disqualification of sailors. Some ferry shots are included today, the procession of huge ships up and down the narrow river is still eye popping but hard to capture.
Party at the Events tent on the beach tonight, good BBQ and a chance for the sailors to unwind with a day off tomorrow, to celebrate or commiserate with their sailing mates.
A huge thank you to all our sponsors, Yachting New Zealand, Interislander, Picton Lions, amongst many others.
Happy sailing Kiwi Teams
are Sam Barnett and Zak Merton, Tauranga, Taylor Burn and Taylor Balogh, Picton and Christchurch, Brittany Wornall and Emma Stenhouse, Christchurch, Eliza Wilkinson and Kate Stewart, Auckland, Annabel Cave and Sophie von Waldow, Auckland (and via Berlin), Ava Mannering and Rosa Bella Hill, Napier and Christchurch.
Coaches are James Turner YNZ, and Tobias Koeb of Austria, formerly Queen Charlotte Yacht Club head coach. James on the boys course, Tobias on the Girls.This writer (Rob Burn) is the Team Manager.