The Delta Lloyd Eurosaf Regatta had another week of close racing and possibly one of the coldest weeks of racing either of us has competed in.The Regatta has finally come to an end. Despite the challenges of the weather conditions, and the use of another experimental racing format of a virtually 'winner takes all' medal race, we were once again able to put together a solid week to finish the event on top!
Men’s 470 action during the 2013 Delta Lloyd Regatta
Following Hyeres regatta we all enjoyed some time off, but it was great to get back into the boat this week. We enjoyed some sunshine and a mix of winds in the lead-up to the event; but Holland turned on its best for the racing. To give those of you an idea of how cold it was; we were both wearing wetsuits which we had previously decided were 'too warm' for the waters of Weymouth, UK last year. Day two saw us start racing at 5:30pm into the late evening, before a 9:30am start on day three which we were told was about five degrees air temperature over the race course.
Each regatta together allows us the opportunity to develop another aspect of our sailing together, and with a small but quality fleet this event was no exception with some great racing. But it was an interesting final day. After 11 races in four days we sat with a comfortable overall point lead; but the format allowed only the top six boats for the final race, with their current provisional placing counting as their overall points tally thus far (and therefore ignoring all previous scores). The medal race would be scored as single points, and would be the tiebreaker. As we waited for our turn to race, we watched as only three other 'provisional leaders' going into the medal race actually managed to win their class - not particularly reassuring...
Will Ryan, Mathew Belcher and Victor Kovalenko after winning gold in the 470 men - Delta Lloyd Regatta 2013
In a way it was a tough situation - for Mat to have worked so hard to be in a position with such a unique and impressive winning streak, for it to come down to one race where any boat could win overall - this format could be viewed as quite unfair.
We approached the race as any other, because as normal the real focus of the day was on ourselves. Despite a tricky course with a shifting land breeze, and a few old wooden sailing ships venturing across our course area between the fleet, we had a game plan and we were able to execute it, which was satisfying for us as a team, and a positive way to end the event. We finished the race in second place but ensured the Croatians were behind us - giving us the overall win. It was very satisfying to extend the winning streak despite the challenges of the format, but particularly to continue the strong tradition of Australian 470s in Europe. Certainly a credit to coach Victor Kovalenko.
Next on the calendar is the hopefully warmer and sunny waters of Formia, Italy for the 470 European Championships.
Full results from the Delta Lloyd event are available here