May 13th, 2019
Today marks the first day at the 2019 Volvo European Championship here in Weymouth, England. Weymouth was the host sailing venue for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. For those of you familiar with the area we have a cute little stable house on the hill in Portland and are sharing it with our Danish friends, Ida and Marie. We have been here for about a week and we have a long event ahead of us! The regatta will be 7 days long with 17 races overall, plus a medal race for those who are 10th overall on the last day.
Today was 13-16 knots with about 3 foot waves. We were scheduled first start of the day and finished 3 exciting races! There are 57 FXs so our fleet was split into two fleets, yellow and blue. We were in blue fleet today and although we don’t focus on results the first day, what we got overall doesn’t reflect how we sailed.
We started the first race with a great start, starting just below the pack at the committee boat. We had a great lane at go and executed our plan which was to hold our lane all the way left. Coming into the windward mark, we crossed everyone who went out right and rounded the windward mark 4th overall. We managed to stay in 4th place the whole race, however on the final downwind leg right before the gybe into the finish we hit a huge wave and pitchpoled (capsize). Everyone ended up passing us and because it was the last downwind we had no opportunities to pass boats.
Trying to shake it off and focus on the good parts of the race, we started race 2. We had a decent start coming off the line in the same spot, with the same game plan as race 1. Although we played the left side, we didn’t play it hard enough and the boats who went further left managed to come out better. We were still in the game, but chasing the fleet the whole race. We finished the race in 14th out of 26.
The left was strong the whole day, so the last race we made the same game plan. We had the best start, starting more towards the pin, and managed to sail out in front of everyone. We rounded the windward mark 1st and from there everything was a little easier as we sailed clear of everyone and fast! One boat passed us on the second upwind, but we were still happy to be sitting 2nd at the second windward mark. Unfortunately, just like the first race, right before the gybe into the finish, we hit a massive wave and pitchpoled again. 😦 We managed to get the boat up faster this time and finished 16th. The photographers also got a picture of us right when it happened. (See below and no one was hurt after it happened).
Without the capsizes, we would have finished the day 4th, 14th, 2nd sitting about 9th overall, however we have to accept that this is not the reality. Although we are bummed about our finishes, we are not disappointed because we know we can be at the front of the fleet and we have very good speed when it matters! It is a very long regatta with lots more racing. We came here to get more practice in the windy wavy conditions, as well as build on our communication skills. The event looks perfect for us to work on these areas.
Tomorrow is a new day with 3 races scheduled later in the day. It will be windier tomorrow; however, we will sail inside the harbor so the water will be flat. Onward and upward!
Anna & Paris