by Rob Burn
With the wind blowing well but from an unstable direction, the 420 Worlds got underway. The Ladies Fleet launched first as their course is further out. The Open course Start line is still about 5kms away and with the writers aged and failing eyesight, the individual boats cannot be made out even with good Binos.
The two NZL boats were in separate flights. The 110 strong fleet is divided into three flights and after 6 races in the qualifying series, the fleets are divided into Gold, Silver and Bronze. Our Teams first aim is to make the Gold Fleet which means being 12th or better each race, but with one drop as the sailors worst race.
Taylor and Oscar were very pleased with their starts and line speed but struggled with the big shifts that changed as much as 40 degrees ....so much so that Oscar fell out of the boat while on the trapeze wire at full noise and a huge direction change. They recorded a 12, 28 and 14, not stellar but 2 out of three ok in a day of lots of OCS's and Black Flags.
Sam and Sam had similar results but were OCS in the second race. Their third race they were scored as Did Not Finish but a trip to the Race Committee saw them restored to 15th. Sam's trapeze wire rope fittings came apart and dragged him down the course until he could get back in...a heroic recovery. Lots of sewing done afterwards. The Sam's had 12, OCS and 15.
Our Team is 55 and 65 respectively. To help us put it into perspective, Christophe Seeber, Mr Sailing Austria, said 'look at the local Austrians, all but one are bad, we don't sail this direction' . The top sailors, as always, did well. The Greeks and Spanish are awesome and all the Europeans take their 420 sailing very seriously. Sailing 200 plus days of the year, seemly without a budget seems to work. Many of the crews here did Kiel Week, then Neiupoort Week in Belgium, the ISAF Youth Worlds in Dublin and the French Nationals as well. It is always tough on Kiwis coming from Winter into the European sailing season when all are peaking.
The boys will go into the second days racing knowing they have to give it their all to get into the Gold Fleet. The forecast is much lighter but from a better wind direction.
I will get back on the Stand Up Paddleboard and head for the Top mark to see some of the racing, it was a long paddle out yesterday, luckily a friendly Argentinean Coach, Fernando, gave me a ride home in the coach boat.
Apologies for the quality of photos, I can't get near the action as yet but there will be a good gallery on the official site www.420worlds.org/events
It is difficult to navigate but a bit of perseverance should get you there.
Many thanks for all the supportive emails coming in, the boys are really thankful for all your support and good wishes.