December 9th, 2019
9th in the 2019 49erFX World Championships!
The last day of racing included two more fleet races and then the medal race! The fleet races were in the morning with the first start at 10:30! The wind was already in and blowing a nice 14-16kts with the sea state starting to pick up!
Race 1 started good. We held our lane out to the left hand side of the course, but it didn’t favor quite as much as we had hoped and we were around 10 at the top mark. Downwind we lost a little distance to the boats that gybe set, so we knew the right was working well, so we made a plan before rounding to head to the right up the second beat. Not many boats headed out that way and we were able to sail fast and on the shifts we wanted and when we tacked back on layline we were crossing all but one of the boats that rounded the leeward mark ahead of us. We focused on keeping it simple and crossed the line in 2nd! We were pumped and it was a great way to start the day!
The second and last fleet race of the regatta, we had a good start and headed out to the right hand side of the course. We rolled into the top mark in 4th, and were attacking the downwind sailing fast…and then we found a wave! And we didn’t go through it…so we pitchpoled and went swimming! We knew that it meant that we were pushing it points wise to make it into the medal race so we got the boat upright as fast as possible, and sailed as hard as we could and ended up catching 7 boats to finish the race in 18th. We were super bummed because it would have been a fantastic way to finish the gold fleet series with a string of top 5 finishes, it more importantly we were concerned that we were no longer going to make the medal race.
We didn’t know if we had done enough to make it in and the whole sail in we were held in suspense. Then we got the news and we were so excited! We had about 2 hours ashore before we had to head back out to race. The wind was picking up more and more and so we knew the medal race was going to be exciting and challenging!!
This was our second medal race together so nerves were a little high, but we made our game plan and knew we were fast. We wanted to head right on the course and so we started on port tack. We headed out to the layline and decided that we didn’t want to go too far so we tacked a little shy. The course got a little shifty towards the top and we got a little out of phase. We rounded the top mark in 9th. We made the bearaway and set the kite. In front of us a boat had capsized, so we had to avoid it. We made our gybe and rounded the left downwind mark and headed out right. We knew we wouldn’t pass people by following, so we split and tried to sail the shifts. We got a nice right hand shift which we tacked on, which held for half the leg but then faded back left a little and so gained a little bit, but not enough. By this point a few boats had capsized and now we were up to 6th in the race. On the last downwind leg, everyone’s nerves were high as no one wanted to capsize at that point. One boat in front of us capsized while gybing, we completed ours and raced to the finish in 5th. Heading into the race we didn’t have the possibility to catch a boat or two in the points, but the boats that needed to finish 4-5 boats behind us were part of the group that didn’t capsize so we maintained our overall position of 9th!
After returning to shore it was de rigging, container packing and awards! We owe a huge thank you to Nevin, Dane, Harry and Finn, and the British guys squad who loaded our boat while we were at the awards!!
There are a lot of thank you’s that we want to say! Firstly, we want to thank our coach Willie for keeping the team going this week! Next, we would like to thank everyone who has donated and supported us to get us to this point. We would also like to thank Ovington for the great boat we are chartering!!
And last but definitely not least, all of the race organizers, the race committee and judges and most of all the volunteers that made the event go what seemed flawlessly!
We had a great time training and racing in New Zealand. Now we have a couple of weeks rest over the holidays and then we head to Australia for round two of our Olympic Trials and the 2020 49er FX World Championships!
Paris & Anna