Kia Ora all
'Go out with a bang!' .......As the 420 and 470 Junior Euro Champs limped to its' inevitable no wind finish, the great positive thing was the Kiwi sailors ended on such a high note, a Second then a First in the only strong winds of the regatta.
For Taylor, in what is most probably his last regatta in a 420, to finish with a big margin win, was particularly satisfying.
Without becoming too mired in politics, the Regatta Sailing Instructions allowed no more than three races per day, and nothing about getting ahead of Schedule. One person had his own ideas why the Principle Race Officer and his Committee's 20 year experience at the venue wasn't sufficient and instead of a 12 race series the sailors got just 10, and only one day in anything resembling really challenging sailing physically. Two races per day, a late start, and no account of the very accurate weather forecasts was supposedly enough.
Many of the sailors, their coaches and managers were really disappointed that they spent some much time sitting around when they could have been sailing and building on their experiences.
The last day of scheduled racing came, all the sailors duly rigged up and at the usual time of 12 noon, trundled their boats to the waters edge and parked them.
The sun shone, the temperature was pleasantly warm, and the flags gave the occasional promising flap and flutter.
To help things along, us coaches and supporters launched our coach boats and waited off the end of the Marina ...... occupying ourselves with a spot of Mackerel fishing and RAF Jet watching. It became obvious that nothing was going to happen, we all motored back in to feed and water our charges.
By 3pm the hooter went, all over, and onto the pack up and Prize giving.
The first three girls crews came up to get recognised, then with the Open event, the First and Third Girls place getters appeared again, just one boys crew getting a mention on the Podium. The Italian National Anthem, once practiced, became much more rousing.
'Where were the prizes for the first three boys?" some were asking ........
Great to see Taylor and Henry up for recognition as part of the Top Ten place getters ...they have come a long way. Check out the Official site for the full results and Alan Dop's fab photography and videos.
To wrap up the boys results over four regattas and nearly 7000 kms of travelling by van, not counting the air travel to and from Europe.
They were 11th out of 85 crews, having just got off a plane and driven for two days. The Fleet was Open, like the Worlds, no age limit.
The Worlds in Valencia was 110 boys and mixed crews, they made the Gold Fleet and became the top Kiwi finishers at 13th overall ....still ruing the disqualification that robbed them of 6th.
The GBR National champs in Wales was used as a 'warm up'. They won that by 10 points in a 70 strong mixed and Open aged fleet.
The Junior Europeans was a toughie, 96 boats, again a mixed fleet but the girls competition separated out for prize giving, this time the age group was for 18 years and under, in fact there was a trophy for the youngest crew.
Taylor and Henry were 8th overall, who knows what may have happened if they had got a third race in on the form they were showing.....
A darn good effort from both and proof that they could foot it with the best crews in the World.
A huge thank you again to all involved with helping Taylor and Henry get to Europe and take part in this huge campaign. It is hard to single some out and not others but special Thanks should go to Interislander, Singapore Airlines, Ralph and Penny Roberts, Rob and Anne Capon, International Yachting Trust, Yachting New Zealand, the Picton Rotary, Blenheim Rotary, Blenheim RoundTable and Marlborough Triple Links, Queen Charlotte Yacht Club, Pelorus Boating Club, Spy Valley Wines and the many other Fabulous wine and food producers of Marlborough ....the Picton Flower Ladies too. If you haven't been mentioned, don't worry, you will be!
We are near Heathrow now, on the plane tomorrow night and back to reality ....until the next time!
Happy sailing for the new season
Hold the Press....!
Postscript to the last message
Forgetting my manners and wanting to recognise what a great Club Pwllheli Sailing is and the fab job they do of all their regattas.
This is the second time this writer has been there, the hospitality is second to none and tribute must be paid to the efficiency and friendliness of their regattas. For all readers out there, look for an opportunity to go.
A big thank you to Gareth Roberts for running everything so well (looking forward to your wife doing a stand up gig at Le Cafe, Picton), Bob for remembering my name and giving me the Office secret wifi code, Dave behind the bar and of course, Beth Jones, hostess with the mostess, and your ever smiling colleagues.
To my friend Richard Tudor, a sailor's sailor and a great stand in for brother Stephen, Commodore of the Pwllheli Club. Stephen is generally so busy he only has time for presenting top prizes at major regattas, just got in from the Fastnet Race, off at 6am for the Ireland to Pwllheli Race ....just as well Richard is there to swap club Burgees. Not that Richard doesn't have much to do, building all the Club Ribs from scratch, maintaining and rebuilding all the Club boat engines with his school of youth marine engineers among his minor tasks.
Us Kiwis and the Welsh share such a common heritage, not only sheep and Rugby, but sailing too.
A very warm welcome is extended to all to Queen Charlotte Yacht Club and New Zealand too.
Hw Lio Ha Piss