Well, things did not pan out exactly the way we would have planned, but it has been a wonderful week regardless of the results.
Jason Muir’s Queensland team of Paul, Bucky and Matty did a fantastic job of sailing a very composed and consistent event and won with a race to spare. Going into the second last race, we held the event lead by a point or two. We had a wonderful start in the race, heading to the left side, but unfortunately for us, the wind went right slowly by a factor of 15 degrees and we were in the 30’s at the first mark. On the run and the next beat, we needed to throw the dice a little to get back into a point where we could at least challenge going into the last race, but as is usual in these situations, we went backwards with each throw to the side we worked. We finished 32nd and the Jason’s team came 8th. Regatta over. Well done to the Queenslanders! We also dropped a place further to 3rd overall, with Team Barry from Melbourne overtaking us. These Gen Xers (or is is it Y…. stuffed if I know…anyway, they are whipper-snappers of about 30 something years old) sailed a nice event to cap off many years campaigning together in the Etchells. Well done to Damien, Sloth, Andy and Wareboy.
Basically, the Black Flag start disqualification mid-regatta cost us the breathing space of any room for error. Jason and his team made no big errors and were always there. End of story.
To sail with JB and Ben in both Adelaide and Melbourne was something I will always treasure. JB is someone I have always had a large amount of respect for. That level of respect went up a lot yesterday when I witnessed how well he responded to the tough day we had when the dream of winning the 09 worlds ended. He is a class act and a wonderful role-model within our sport. Ben, as we all know is the most decorated sailor of the modern era. However, i got to see him operate close-up. What an absolute professional and polished guy he is. An absolute honour for me to be associated with these guys….John and Rasa opened their home and their hearts to both Ben and I and also to my little family. Wonderful people and a fantastic chemistry in our wider crew family that also included Ernie Lawrence and of course (in the days prior to the event) the world’s best sailing coach, Victor Kovalenko.
My final word is to say that from all of these sailing events there is a lot of silver-ware that the winners carry home. However the thing we ALL walk away with is the memories of who we sailed with, who we sailed against, who ran the event and how we each interacted with all three of these entities on AND off the water. In that sense, I have been a big winner, as I will only ever have positive memories of the 2009 Etchells worlds on every count. Well Done RBYC, the huge team of volunteers and the Melb Etchells Fleet.
Over and out from Melb. Time to resume the real business in life of wrestling with three rug-rats who put real perspective into my life!
We had another decent day today in finishing second to GT, Wharo and MJ by half a length.
More breeze today, which was good for us, as we seem to go well in more wind and it also takes some of the “lottery” element out of play that can sometimes occur in the lighter breeze. However, it was from the north and anyone that knows the top end of Port Phillip, knows that the northerly is a fickle breeze.
We started ok near the middle but took an early opportunity to get to the right. It took a long time for the right side to show promise, but when it did, it paid pretty big at the top of the leg. From there we had a very tight three boat race with GT and also two-time winner Stuart Childerly from GBR, with Jason Muir’s very consistent team snapping at our heals in 4th. There was a massive gap back to 5th. We finally claimed the lead on the last beat, but GT hit the right layline looking for a shift and it went his way. Well done to them. They have had a tough week in the light air. They were fast today.
Yesterday was up and down. On a positive note, we placed 4th in the second race of the day. It was a nice comeback, as we were around 10th after a lap. The downer for us a disqualification in the first race of the day for starting prematurely. Basically it was operator-error. Hard to describe the feeling when our number got called out over the radio. Not good, but that’s the sport.
With three races to sail we have a very slim lead to Muir’s team. Their worst is a 10th, so they are in a great position. Two races tomorrow with a very dodgy forecast, so still early days. Lots of golf left in this hole. There is also a plethora of very talented teams in the mix. For me, it is simply a matter of doing what I do to the best of my abilities and to support my team-mates to do similar. Having a ball sailing with John and Ben.
So, just the one race today after an hour’s delay for the limp sea-breeze that eventually got going sometime around 1430.
We had a nice start in the middle of the long start line and were fast enough out of the blocks to be able to let Ben do his thing and play the shifts and pressure up the middle. We led by 30 secs at the top mark and extended slightly on each leg to win by a minute or so.
For us it was a very nice day of sailing. For others it looked tough back in the fleet. 85 boats make a lot of bad air and chop and it is tough getting through all of that in light air in an under-powered boat like the Etchells. Sailing is a great leveller. We know we are just a poor start away from having to go through that sort of race ourselves. For now though, it’s all positive for us as we enjoy the challenge of the racing and the oppurtunity John has provided for us to be here sailing with each other.
Two races scheduled for tomorrow, but the forecast is not promising. More light winds on the menu. The following day looks even worse. We’ll see.
Two races today. A tough day for us that ended pretty well.
Light southerly wind that paid the right hand side all day. Problem was for us that we went to the left on the first beat of the two races. In the first race we won our side by a long way, but had to settle for 4th at the mark and got back to 3rd by the end.
The second race was tougher. 26th at the top mark and dug back to 11th at the end.
Coming first by a point after day one but plenty of golf left in this hole.
Guys are great. Ben did a great job in picking our way thru the fleet and John was on fire on the helm. great guys to sail with. A real privilege for me.
Today marks the start of the 2009 Etchells Worlds.
John Bertrand, Ben Ainslie and myself have had a good build-up this week, following our 2nd placing in the pre-worlds last weekend.
We have had Victor down here for a few days putting us through a couple of training sessions, which were quite intensive, but exactly what we needed. The build-up has been pretty relaxed apart from that. We did not do the practice race yesterday, instead opting to watch the start from the coachboat and then head in to rest up for what we expect will be a taxing week.
Through the week, we have trained at the Collingwood FC gym and I have got out for a few rides. this morning i did a quick lap around Albert Park Lake, which is in prep mode for the Grand Prix. Another ride was a trip down memory lane, as I rode around the area north of melbourne where I did my welding apprenticeship. I love Melbourne. We also had lunch at the MCG one day with none other than Ron Barassi. For me this was a great privelige, having been such an AFL fan when I was a kid. Another day we had a round of golf at Royal Melbourne. I am glad JB and Ben can sail, as their golf is fairly ordinary.
Anyway, the wether today is very nice. Expecting a light to moderate sea-breeze day. Two races.
Really looking forward to sailing with John and Ben and going out to have some fun sailing.