We got to Riva del Garda – at the north end of Garda Lake on the 2nd of May, and as luck would have it the Italian 470 National Championships were scheduled to take place two days after we arrived.. so we entered and took part as a bit of a warm up to the EuroSaf event which we had come here for (or cool down as it is absolutely freezing on the water here..).
We were a little rusty, but still ended up 5th place overall and top women’s crew. Then came the one we were here for, the 2013 EuroSaf event… It was five days of racing, with a total of eleven races sailed – we were meant to sail thirteen races but lost a day in the middle with no wind – day three, and was actually a rather horrible day – it rained all day, it was freezing and there was no wind… We got sent out to the race track, we drifted around for a while.. then came back in… so all in all a great ‘getting very cold and wet’ excursion…
Anyway! We started the regatta in a slightly different way to normal… very simple really… we switched places. Polly was skipper (steering) and Jo was crewing, for the first two races on day one. We actually went surprisingly well too!! We were up in the top few overall, and won the girls division in the first race – although we did get a few laughs around the race track as Jo proceeded to trip over herself during boat manoeuvres and seemed to end up face down in the bottom of the boat more than normal. Polly got a bit lost at the back of the boat with all the ropes she was meant to be pulling – although she was being ‘helpfully’ reminded by Jo… Then the wind got up a little, and Jo’s weight on the wire was not quite cutting it, so the second race was not so flash!! We followed that up with a failed start attempt in the next race, to end up disqualified from race three… (Jo was steering again – whoops…)
To be honest, since then, all of the races have merged a little, they were all rather cold (that we remember…) and we had some good ones, as well as one really not so good one… But it was all good fun!!!
We went into the final day in 2nd place in the womens fleet, with one ‘final race’ left to sail. The ‘final race’ thing is a new format for this event – and it consisted of the top six boats going into one very short final race, where your regatta finishing score would be the place you had going into the ‘final race’ plus your finishing place in that ‘final race’ – All a little confusing, but anyway, all it meant was that the first four days of racing got condensed into one score (a 2nd in our case) and pretty much to win the regatta we had to step it up and take out the final race as well….
And thats what we did. The ‘final race’ was sailed in a lovely 12-15 knot breeze, it was sailed ‘theatre style’ – so we were racing between two barriers on each side of the course - basically just meaning that no one could go too far in any direction. A normal race for us used to be an hour, and now they are getting more like 45 min, but this final race was a whopping 10 minutes!! It was pretty much a exercise in boat-handling, and luckily we still seem competent enough in that area! A little surprising considering the amount of time we have spent in the boat recently! We planned the start perfectly, and once we got our nose infront we were off, to take the race win by a comfortable margin, and the regatta title overall.
So not too bad for our first event, we were pretty happy with how we went (most of the time) but more importantly have started working on a few of our problem areas, what can we say, learning is fun!
Now we get a few days off to enjoy Garda (Exploring the rather impressive mountains that surround the lake) and then we are back in the car for a 1400km journey to Medemblik in Holland, where we will take part in the second EuroSaf event of 2013.