Hopefully you have seen a little of how our World Champs in Santander went, we tried to keep the old Facebook updates coming through.. As annoying a website as it is, its rather handy for quick and easy updates and photo shares! [If you havn’t seen the updates, they are on the top right on the website!]
If you didn’t see anything, then spoiler alert….
We finished 2nd… Funnily enough, under rather similar circumstances to the 470 Worlds we competed in back in 2010 in Holland four years ago. What can we say, I guess if we were 2nd at those worlds and followed it up with London, we can safely say we are still on track for Rio, and at the end of the day, its better to hit a few speed bumps now, learn a few lessons, make a few mistakes, and be even more ready for Rio in two years time.
Anyway… Onto the actual regatta! We had a great build-up, we came over extra early to Santander to compete in two practice regattas, where we had beautiful onshore wind and some great racing (sadly it seemed we used up all of the nice consistent wind pre-regatta), we were in good form, winning both practice events and really happy with our preparations leading in.
By the time the actual World’s came around, the wind had softened rather a lot, and it was a slow start to the regatta with two light wind races on the first day, where we felt a little out of practice in that kind of breeze, although we were consistent, we did made a few mistakes that cost us a few points – This would continue to be an annoying underline for the rest of the event!
The second day consisted of us floating around on the water in no wind for 5.5 hours, where I-Spy was played to the point where we were laughing hysterically at random words like ‘potato’. I think the brain goes a little nuts after being confined to a small sailboat for that long… This was backed up by a few long postponements onshore where we both were good little students, and got our Uni textbooks out at any opportunity, getting some strange looks at times… Apparently we should have been intently preparing for the days racing instead of reading about international business…
Over the next few days the regatta really got going, the wind picked back up, but from an off-shore direction we had never seen before (The typical ‘its not usually like this’ weather call). We continued our consistent but not quite excelling form, over the entire regatta our worst race placing was a 7th, which was the very first race of the regatta, easily the most consistent boat in the fleet. The only problem was that our 3rds, 4ths and 5ths, could have been 1sts, 2nds or 3rds.. Just a few little mistakes and a few speed issues at times held us back. We did however manage our first event in a long time where we omitted our ‘stuff-up’ race, we were consistent all the way through…
Which brought us to the medal race… We went into the medal race one point behind the Austrians, with the British thirteen points behind us, so it was all set for an exciting race! We were happy with how we executed the start, with the Austrians being unable to hold their lane off the line, and splitting right. This was the moment we made our mistake, we let them go… Left it to chance (you may remember a certain medal race two years ago where a similar thing happened, but that time we were on the right side of the shift). At the first top mark, the Austrians were leading, we were in 9th, in danger of being overtaken by the Brits and dropping to 3rd overall. From there we knew our only option was ensuring the silver medal, so we clawed back to 6th in the race and took back second overall.
It was a long and tough event, winds of every direction and strength, a strong fleet and a lot of determined teams endeavouring to qualify their nations for the Olympic Games in 2016. The top 10 countries earned their spots, so we are happy to say that we have ticked off that box, with the next step qualifying ourselves to take up that place.
We can’t say we are satisfied in any way with the final result, but we know where we made our mistakes, we know the areas we need to work on, we have a great team behind us, and we are looking forward to lifting our performance again in the coming years.
But for now, its time for a bit of a break… We have been all go since early January, and with our next World Champs in March next year, the season is going to ramp up even earlier than usual, so we will take some time while we can!
Thank you ever so much to everyone who has helped us out this year, for all the messages of support and the unwavering belief you guys appear to have in us, its when it doesn’t quite go to plan that it means even more! An extra special mention to our coach Nathan Handley, who somehow supports and encourages us 100% of the time whether we get it right or not (although yes, you are always welcome to get annoyed at us.. we do too) the original super-coach…