Following Warnemunde Woche, Brad Utting and I travelled from Germany to Poland with Irish Laser coach Ben Lynch. This meant that we were travelling in a seven seated van with six lasers and coach boat behind! (see attached photo). In what we thought was going to be a relatively short journey, it ended up taking 5 ½ hours due to traffic and road conditions.
Once arriving in Dziwnow, Poland the location for the upcoming Europa Cup and World Laser Radial Championships we quickly got settled in by collecting our charter boats and setting them up ready for racing.
I took my boat for a short practice sail prior to the event starting on the 11th July and this was a great experience with the fun downwind rides on such big waves making up for the upwind slog required to enjoy them.
To get out to the racecourse you have to sail out of a small canal and then out onto the ocean (similar to sailing down the river out from the old Fremantle traffic bridge and then out onto the ocean).
On Day One of racing the conditions were crazy, 25knots of wind with some of the biggest swell I have ever been sailing in. I managed to come out of this long, hard day leading with a 1,1,2 scorecard having many close battles with the three time Polish World Radial Champion Marcin Rudawski. My brand new mast top section unfortunately didn’t handle these conditions too well, resulting in a significant bend.
Day Two of racing the conditions were slightly more moderate with 15-18knots for the first two races and 7-10 knots for the third race of the day. I again had a consistent day with a 2,1,2 scorecard to maintain my lead. Unfortunately in the first race of the day (when in a close battle with Marcin) I went to tack on his transom going around the top mark and my foot missed the hiking strap, resulting in a capsize and me losing my favourite sunglasses!
The final day of the event was very different, with a totally different wind direction and a much shiftier, lighter wind. I had extremely poor starts in both races to find myself well back in the fleet on both first unwinds. However, I used my downwind speed to my advantage to claw my way back through the fleet to end up with a 15th and a 2nd in the two races for the day. Bouncing back in the second race meant that I had managed to win the Europa Cup on the World Championships waters. A great confidence boost ahead of the main event, the World Laser Radial Championships in one weeks time!
Thank you to Fremantle Sailing Club, Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club, the Ron Tough Yachting Foundation, WA Laser Association, Optimum Time and Monkeyfist Marine for their continued support!