New 470 Womens crew, Jo Aleh and Polly Powrie (Team Jolly) reflect on the recently completed Sail Melbourne Open 470 event on Port Philip Bay, Melbourne:
Time for the last update of 2009!
It has been a rather busy year for us, and we have just finished competing in the Australian Sail Down Under series, which for us consisted of the Sail Sydney Regatta (SIRS) in the first week of December, and last week, the Sail Melbourne World Cup event.
Our trip got off to a slightly rocky start (literally...) as our boat flew off its trailer and onto the pavement – and then rolled around on the pavement, just as we were finishing up on a day of boat work. This meant we got to spend the next day watching gelcoat dry, which is about as exciting as watching paint dry… only slower. Luckily between us we had some basic repair skills, and the bottom of the boat turned out all good… Just a whole lot of stressing along the way!
We managed to put all our pre-regatta issued behind us and started the regatta in great form, winning the first race (beating all the boys – which is always a bonus). From there, we had some good races, and also some not so flash ones, but overall, really a learning regatta for us, as we were there for the first time overseas without a coach. Which although it was a little harder for us to figure out where we were going wrong, meant that we were forced to really work together to figure it out, and how to improve for the next race. Which we are hoping will be a good skill going forwards!
We eventually finished up 4th overall, and 2nd girls, which is not quite what we wanted, but we got a lot out of it in the process.
From there it was straight on a plane down to Melbourne, where we got within thirty seconds of missing our flight, after the bus we thought was going to the airport, actually did an hour and a half loop before it got there…
Polly was at this stage rather sick – having caught the flu in the later stages of the Sydney regatta. But toughed it out a little too much pre Melbourne, and after one training day on the water, she spent the next few days at home trying to recover in time for racing. Peter Fox (who was my coach back in the Radial) had come over to Melbourne to coach us for the event, so he spent a few days being my fill in crew (with boat work anyway – I was not quite keen enough to let him out on the water…).
By the first day of the regatta, Polly was a little better, and could go over 30 minutes without coughing like she was dying. For that first day, the women’s and the men’s fleets were separated, so we only raced with the other 7 women, which although we won both races, was not quite what we had come for.
Luckily, after some suggestion from coaches, we raced together in one fleet for the rest of the regatta, but were still scored separately (hence no overall results on the website - luckily for all the boys we beat) and we were pleased to be very competitive in the overall fleet, with a overall race win, as well as a second and a third. On the women’s fleet front, we won five of the seven races, which meant that we had a four-point lead going into the medal race - Where after a slightly shaky start, we came back strong and led around every mark, to give us a medal race win, and in turn, our first overall regatta win.
So now it is back to NZ for a well-deserved break, as we have been pretty full on for the last few months, and it is all go again come January.
We wish you all a great Christmas, and an awesome New Year, and hope to have lots more (hopefully) good updates next year!
Jo and Polly
Special thanks to our supporters and suppliers:
SPARC and the New Zealand Academy of Sport, Yachting New Zealand, Harken, Zhik, Donaghys, Mackay Boats and Quantum Toni Tio Sails.