From Jim Hall, NZL Star in road to London 2012.
Hamish & I are heading back to NZ after another great 2 weeks of Star sailing.
After collecting our new boat off the ship in Valencia we had 6 days of training in Palma prior to the ISAF World Cup event, the Princess Sofia Regatta.
With 3 new masts, 2 new booms plus the new boat, we had long days both afloat & ashore to make sure everything was ready to race.
The event was to be a real test for us as most of the top teams were there, in preparation for next months World Championships in France.
We were coached by the experienced Guillermo Altadill from Spain.
The first 4 days of racing were all raced in under 10 knots & we sailed well to always be placed in the top 4 overall, even leading for 2 days.
On the final day of qualifying the breeze came in at 16 – 18 knots and our new boat went well in these conditions where we placed 7th & 2nd to be joint leader going into the final medal race with current World Champions, Robert Scheidt & Bruno Prada from Brazil.
The medal race was sailed on a different course, close to the shore for spectators to see. It was 22- 24 knots of wind & big waves.
As the medal race is only 30 minutes long it is very close & intense racing, especially in these conditions.
We rounded the top mark in 6th & climbed to 3rd a lap later, putting us in position to win the regatta.
On the final run we caught some good waves to pass GBR & SUI to lead the race just 3 boat lengths from the line.
Having been talking about our safe position on our opposition all race, we weren’t pushing particularly hard as knew we were in great shape already.
So you can imagine our surprise to get a penalty for pumping as we came into the finish line!
By the time we’d taken the pole off & dropped the rig back to take the 360 turn, we were past the finish line so had to return to course side to take the penalty, dropping us to the back of the fleet and to 5th overall in the regatta. We’re gutted not to take the overall win as felt we weren’t pumping & sailed a great regatta.
On the plus side we’re really happy with the new equipment & with our improvements overall.
We now sit in 4th overall on the ISAF World Cup standings so are in good shape moving into the World Championships next month in Hyeres, France where we need to qualify NZL for a spot for the London Olympics. The boat is now at Composite Works in La Ciotat, France & we’re heading home.
Hamish & Jim