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    Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 4:00pm

How I didn’t win the Worlds….

 The rule change that might allow masts to come in sections for ease of transport came a bit too late for the two alloy masts bound for Kingston as part of the British bid to boost the North American contender population.  While Alan Mollat happily hacked away at his carbon spar, shortening it by more than enough for it to fit into the angle our mistaken mathematics had allowed for all the masts, and the Simon Mussell contribution to the export was reshaped to allow it to enjoy the journey (under some stress), the two Wavelength alloys were never going to fit and had to make their own way to the Worlds.  By some quirk of fate both the container and the masts arrived in Kingston on the same day, all intact.

 It must have been some kind of omen that things would not be as they had been portrayed.  “It’ll all fit, no worries” someone, somewhere had said about the container.  Wrong.  “Come to Kingston, enjoy the thermal – 25 knots of breeze”, someone else said, albeit in a slightly different accent.  Also wrong.

 I must have been the only woman in England on a ‘get fat for summer diet’, (and the photos show it worked) anticipating with some nervousness the famous Kingston thermal breeze and big waves, and to start with, that was what we had.  Rodger White, in ye olde GBR 473 was the only Brit with the grit to endure the Canadian Nationals.  The wind grew in strength all day on Saturday, boats came ashore with various breakages and there were the usual stories of waves bigger than houses – was this a taste of things to come? Much to my amazement 473 held together, as did Rodger, finishing 19th overall.

 The wind kept up on the Sunday, building itself up into a frenzy for Monday, measurement day, and we were all grateful for the not to have to go out and train as waves broke over the wall of the famous Olympic harbour and the sails of many of the youth regatta competitors came back in tatters.  Instead we were able to relax into boat bimbling, dismantling and rebuilding as Ron kept a wise eye on all proceedings in the measurement hall.  For my part, I discovered GBR 621 weighed quite a lot less once I’d remembered to remove the obligatory 50ft tow line, sailing jacket and ten gallons of water I had stowed inside my buoyancy tanks for safe keeping.

 It’s probably a measure of the development of sailing as an Olympic sport that whilst Portsmouth Harbour in Kingston was able to host the 1976 Olympic regatta, there’s no way it would be able to do so now.  I wasn’t the only one struck by the smallness of the harbour itself, the changing facilities were non existent (were there any women sailing in the ‘76 Games?) and while the sail room was more than adequate for the measurement of our fleet of 34 contenders, had there been more boats it would have been jam packed.

 For the Contender Worlds, however, it was a great venue – once the Youth Regatta competitors had gone; sharing just one narrow slipway with over 100 laser sailors was no joke, and many of the guys resorted to mooring up to the jetties and waiting it out.

 Tuesday saw the start of the Worlds proper.  It was cold, shifty with hateful marginal trapezing conditions interspersed with a few welcome opportunities to flat wire.  Mol and Rodger tussled it out in the early twenties, with Mol finishing just slightly ahead after two races.  I had spent the day practising falling around the boat due to a pro grip shortage and making the usual hash of my boat handling.  Things got a little better when I remembered that I could use my legs and hips to raise myself to the trapeze hook rather than feeling it should lower itself to meet me…. I did, however, manage to put two races between me and my rival for the women’s title.  So far, so good.

 On Wednesday there was little wind from the start.  We lolled around the dinghy park looking gloomily at the postponement flag and then the race committee decided to lure us out to the course area with the promise of the tow.  Once we got outside the harbour the offer of a tow turned out to be a bluff…. Did I mention that it was an hour and a quarter sail out to Foxtrot course….and the same back again….?  By this time the temperature had returned to a more typical 30 degrees – as shown by the lovely zebra stripes on Rodger’s legs shaped by the intermittent exposure of his flesh to the sun, broken by his very fetching kneepads… Clearly the light winds suited him as he scored a 9th, pulling him clear of Mol who scored a 15th.  I was nearly last, a position I am well used to, not helped by a hashed crash tack directly in front of my rival.  I was dazzled by her bright smile as she cruised past me…..   We did start a second race and had almost completed a triangle, with me gloatingly clear of Steph, until the RO decided the so called thermal was a myth and packed up and went home. 

 Still two-one to me, but what I was worried about was the number of boats there were in between us in Wednesday’s only race….

 Thursday was no better wind wise, though clearly the light stuff suited Rodger who scored an outstanding 6th then marred by a 22nd  - a result of being over the line at the gun.  Mol was Mr Consistency with a 14th and 15th and I continued true to my tail ender form.  Worse than that, Steph beat me in both races – in the first by only one place but in the second she scored a 25th with me struggling in at 28th.  More in-between boats with in-between points to worry about….

  The wind stayed very light for Friday and Rodger kept up the good stuff with an 8th, Mol stayed consistent with a 13th.  By this time I had invested in some mega rough non-slip and whilst I was ripping the backside out of my new-for-the-trip race skin I was no longer doing a Torville and Dean around the boat and I pulled in my best result of the week with a 25th, probably also because I was sweating off the weight in the blazing Kingston heat – most days saw the temperature rise well above thirty degrees…

 On Saturday it looked as if we might finally get the big winds we’d been promised and the day started out with white horses on the waves and plenty of breeze.  Just as well, because we had three races to fit in….and we managed it – just.  I managed to ditch the boat doing the big bear away just before the start and as I checked for damage after the resultant succession of Eskimo rolls I looked up the sail to see my top batten waving cheerily through a little hole it had made in the luff end of the sail.  This nearly finished me: I was knackered and I thought I might as well give up.  Then the fighting spirit resurfaced (and the remembrance of what it had cost to get to Canada and I decided to carry on regardless.  As it was, the wind died throughout the course of the day, with the final race of the Championship reverting true to type – we were sitting firmly in the boats with our trap wires taunting us as they swung about in the slop.

 I tried to fix the batten in between the first race and second but it was having none of it and instead did a neat dive into the lake water,  Never mind; I had beaten Steph in the first race and was determined to carry on.  I knew we had started the day just three points behind.  I was now two points behind, so I spent an awful lot of time doing speculative mathematics.  I needed to keep beating her, and I needed boat between us too.  Unfortunately a lot of the boats that had been in and around us at the start of the week had not ventured out, put off by the rough start to the day, so there weren’t many takers for the roles of ‘fillers in’. 

 I did find one in the next race, so now just one point separated us.  I have never before raced with such grim concentration as I did then – a hateful thing to have to do in the heat and the extreme light winds.  Coming up the last beat I had one boat between Stephanie and I – that should be enough.  But no!  I paid the price for being a life long atheist and the powers that be sent that boat past me on a gust.  Damn: equal on points!

 Meanwhile Rodger seemed to lose his grip a little, perhaps doubting 473’s integrity in the rough stuff, scoring only two 20ths and a 19th, allowing Mol to pass him with a 28th, 11th and 13th.  This meant Rodger finished the week 20th – not a true reflection of his form,  – and Mol 18th.   For my part, I sailed all three races with no top batten yet finished better than I had done all week.  However, despite beating Stephanie in 6 out of the 9 races and drawing equal with her on points, she beat me for the women’s title on count back.  Oh well.

 It may seem that given the lack of wind the Kingston Worlds were a disappointment; not so.  We had nine great races with plenty of boat to boat tussling at every level of the fleet, the races were exceptionally well run – not a single general recall, and the social side of the sailing – organised by Mrs ICA, Andrea Smith, was outstanding and very much appreciated.  We had a superb welcome dinner within the CORK complex itself, an excellent evening’s entertainment at the historic Fort Henry and a never to be bettered Championship Dinner during a cruise round Lake Ontario’s famous Thousand Islands (and yes, it is where the salad dressing comes from).

 



Edited by winging it
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radixon View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Quote radixon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 5:29pm
Blimey you had a good time.

At least you got racing in and able to get over all those "transportation" hurdles to get your boats out there.

Must admit, this post is of the GRF length but boy is it worth reading!!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Black no sugar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 6:23pm

Clap Clap Clap

Great job Vanessa! I'm glad you found the time to write it down. It almost makes me regret to have missed it (although Canada is a bit too far to stand on the shore and watch the others having fun).

Copenhagen next year?

Gurnard this weekend? Mark will be there!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote winging it Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 6:31pm
Definitely Denmark next year - but Sonderborg, not Copenhagen (Sonderborg looks much nicer.  I can't make Gurnard, but will definitely be at the Inlands at Rutland.

Nikky got fed up in Kingston because we were sooo far away she couldn't see us - no one could!

Was great though!
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Black no sugar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 7:22pm

Sorry, I knew it wasn't Copenhagen when I was typing it but I was rushing and didn't take the time to check. It doesn't matter to me anyway because I don't think we're going to Denmark next year.

Mark will definitely be at the Inlands and I probably will be there too. If anyone wants to babysit my lil' un, I could even give you a race (you'll see that when it comes to being last, you're just a rookie - I'll get lapped twice and finish 20 minutes behind you )

Cya!

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Post Options Post Options   Quote G.R.F. Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 7:50pm
Originally posted by radixon

.Must admit, this post is of the GRF length but boy is it
worth reading!!


What and mine aren't I suppose.

But great wing wang, thanks, I love reading stuff like that, makes me feel at
home, and it's not just me that ess aich one tee happens to, and i bet one
day when it's near forgotten you'll come back and read it..


And Godless as well as Gay? Vote Lib dem by any chance?
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 Sep 08 at 10:30pm

Nice report; here is a similar tale ...

http://www.mustoskiff.com/reports-and-news/2008/toms-tale.ht m

I think these reports make a far better read then the usual Fred was 1st stuff ....

Is that true only 34 boats at the worlds?

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Post Options Post Options   Quote winging it Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 08 at 9:33am
Unfortunately yes.  We had an amazingly popular venue for the Europeans so most people, including most Brits, chose to go there rather than have to pay out to ship boats to Canada.

Last year we had around 140 boats for the worlds in Medemblik and doubtless numbers will come back up to the 100+ norm for Denmark next year.  After that venues include Brisbane, La Rochelle for the Europeans - should be massive - Weymouth - should be huge - and then potentially Florida.  The contender really is a world wide class.
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Post Options Post Options   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 08 at 10:41am

Always difficult for an International Class to venture out of Europe.

The reality is that is where most of the boats are and other continets are so big that it's still expensive for the "locals" to travel.

That said I am sure the Canadian fleet were very pleased to host the event.

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Post Options Post Options   Quote Black no sugar Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Sep 08 at 11:32am

European Contender sailors would travel a long way to take part in the Worlds. Recent  championships held in Australia saw a better turnout than the Canadians. That's chiefly because, when the Worlds are held in Australia, they happen during the winter of the Northern hemisphere. You lose your boat for 6 to 8 weeks but it's not as bad as missing a whole summer of sailing.

Besides, as winging it mentioned, the Europeans in Punt' Ala were very well attended. There's so much time you can take off work...

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