Day 2, we had to move in closer to race due to the race committees issues on day 1. So day 2 was raced into Watson's Bay, in some very difficult conditions. Not only were we in rain squalls for most of the day with limited visibility but also drifting conditions in the first race. We struggled in those conditions, and had to forget the race and re boot for race 4, which we did well and raced in the top 6 for whole race (in some very patchy, shifty conditions, with gusts up to 30knts). About a boat length from the finish line reaching with the kite up, we anticipated one of those huge gusts a little to early, and this resulted in a capsize, finishing 24th after sailing back upwind around the finish boat. After an incredibly tough day, we were pleased to have a lay day, and then re-start.
Day 3, after the lay day, bought in a solid 20-25knt breeze and we raced beating into Shark Island. The first race of the day we sent it, finding our selves with a big lead in 2nd place after the 2nd beat. But a silly mistake again, under laying the top mark with tide pushing onto it, resulted with Elz in the water and a lot of time lost, eventually hoisting the kite in 5th. The 3rd leg we were light on vang due to the casing breaking and we also accidentally lost the spinnaker pole in a congested bottom mark rounding, so we flew the kite without a pole until the final reach, still holding 5th, but without a kite on the reach, we finished 10th. Disappointing considering where we were, but we used it as motivation and raced fast and well for the next 2 races, scoring a 6 and 3.
Day 4 we looked forwards to smashing out another few good races in a breeze, but unfortunately we weren't raced. The final day of racing was again raced on Watson's Bay, and the first race we were in about 6th before making a lot of mistakes, and not sticking to plan, finishing with a bad result. The next race we learnt from our mistakes, and port tacked the fleet off the line, taking the lifts and tide all the way to the top mark, rounding 1st. We raced a close race, but finished 3rd. The final race of the regatta our start plan was poorly executed, and we struggled to come back.
We were very disappointed with the final result of nationals, knowing that without our 2 capsizes and losing the pole, we would have finished comfortably 5th, but we knew we still had Youths to achieve our goals (VIS, and jumping back up on the youth worlds rankings). We later learnt that the pressure we put on ourselves from this caused some bad sailing throughout the event, with not enough focus on all the process...
All of youths were raced between Watson's Bay and Shark Island on a windward/leeward course, with mostly medium strength breezes. The first day we struggled to execute our starts, as well as applying strategy and downwind speed. The second day was some very patchy conditions, and we spent a lot of time in the water... from crash tacks, to light house wind shadows, to falling out of the boat, it was a shocking day and even though we were certainly not the only ones out there upside down or in the water, we raced poorly and didn't come back. We did see better racing in the last race, rounding the top mark 4th (even after having to stop and undo a major tangle - also from the rushed pin change) and finishing 11th, only due to one spinnaker sheet being on the inside of the cap shrouds (after a very rushed gear change with a big wind increase) - which meant we could only sail one gybe on the run, giving away precious advantages to our competitors. The 2nd day of racing we started to learn, finishing the last race 10th, with only a shabby start to fault.
The final day, we knew the results were well out of our reach, so with no pressure on us, we took on the last day trying to use everything we had learnt from the rest of the event, and found our selves leading both races, the 2nd for a large majority. It was a very good note to end on, finishing with a 7th and 3rd.
Our overall results in the Nationals were 15th and 4th girls (qualifying us for the 420 worlds in San Remo, Italy, in July), and Youths were 16th and 4th girls. It's hard to know that it's another year to go again, but we know that Sydney Harbour brought out our weaknesses more than anywhere else would have, and that the skills we have learnt are invaluable. This year we wont be taking any prisoners, and after a few weeks break, we'll be back on the water and training hard and better than even before! We also can't wait for Italy and will striving to give it red hot go!
That's all for now!
Soph & Elz