Sailing Report from Charlotte Dobson and Sophie Ainsworth
It's been a mega busy spring for us with some great steps forward. After we got back from Miami in Feb, we had a busy week putting together our new ship for the summer, Angelina Maranello, who is now racing ready. We were keen to get our race boats ready as early as possible this year so it was amazing to have both the boats sorted by the end of February.
We then went to the last World Cup of 2014 in Hyeres, which was a regatta of two halves - we smashed out the first half leading going into finals due to some really good pace in the waves. The second half of the week was offshore and flat and we didn't quite have the boat speed and coupled with an OCS the week kind of stumbled to a close and we finished just outside the medals in 4th. Despite being frustrated with that, we are happy with our World Cup series this Spring of 6th, 3rd, 4th, which saw us 2nd in the World Rankings in March. These performances qualified us for the small team going out to the Olympic Test Event in Rio in August which we can't wait for!
Since Hyeres it's been a complete 180 from execution phase back into practice. We went out to Lake Garda for a boat handling camp with Ben Rhodes which was amazing. Ben completely changed the processes we have for a lot of our manoeuvres so there was a fair amount of swimming while we got to grips with it. It was a bit unfortunate that we had planned to do the Eurosaf regatta that was the following week - our new manoeuvres were definitely not ready for execution phase! On the results we had a nightmare but in actual fact the week was really good - we got our manoeuvres back up to about 80% but the last 20% were pretty wet! Not the ideal way to put together a regatta. Regardless we had a wicked week and learnt loads that we'll keep chipping away at over the next few weeks.
Next stop was Stokes Bay for a couple weeks of equipment testing to pick our Worlds and Test Event kit and then we get into the championships. Europeans are first week of July in Helsinki, then it's the Test Event in Rio in August. The whole year is based around the Worlds in Santander in September - so it's a long summer ahead but we are really excited to get to those pressure events!
Our equipment testing continued into Sail For Gold, a Eurosaf regatta in Weymouth. It meant that we struggled with peaky speed as we were chopping and changing our equipment. We did have some moments of glory and even arranged a birthday bullet for Charlotte. We finished 3rd overall, which was fairly average but execution wasn't our priority. The last day of the event was fairly spicy with three 10 minute race in 17-24 knots, everybody capsized in the last race bar us, so we won the final race. It was nice to go out on a high.
Today we packed Stacey Stingray (our boats are named after the cars from gone in 60 seconds) up to go to Rio in a container with 5 other boats, it's potentially the less glamourous side of our campaign but we need boats to be in the right place at the right time all over the world! Now it's time to get back on the water with the rest of our equipment...The clock is always ticking.