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Marathon of events in Europe for Irish Optimist Duo.
By Steve Cockerill
This summer took Johnny and I to many places around Europe for a couple of big events and what a summer it was!!!!
First off in June was a lot of training every day in our own club, RCYC. We had 3 specific days there also coaching with the European and Worlds teams training together with the Worlds coach Magda.
Then we had a separate 3 day clinic in Dublin with just the worlds team and coach about a week before we left for the Worlds and our marathon of events in Europe
So then on July 9th we started the marathon, we flew from Dublin to Italy for the Optimist world championships in Lake Garda. We travelled with our team leader, Mick, he was looking after the five of us for our trip. We got there and unloaded our boats and went for a sail in the afternoon Ora wind. We then trained for a few days and did the practice regatta and we trained with the British Virgin Island and their friends the US Virgin Islands and also Mexico as we where sharing the rib with them per competition rules. The Mexicans have become our very good friends at this stage.
So the first day of the event came, i had been looking forward to it for so long, I felt no nerves at all. We went out and sailed 2 races, I had a bad day, just not nailing the starts!!! Johnny got it in the second race and got a 13th.
The second day brought a lighter Ora and a day for me to count 2 good results. I had a 8 and a 10 and Johnny had a 21 and a 24 which was a good day for both of us. Johnny thought the pro aquafleece was great to stay dry on while trying to be one of the first to get to the cliff. I would play it safe on the first beat and then take off on the reach and long gaining from the middle 20s to top 10 .
Day 3 brought a different day , it was light and difficult to understand the wind pattern. Johnny scored again 2 solid results and his consistancy was starting to pay. I had read when the wind comes from the further left and in light to medium conditions it shift more left as you go up the beat. I used that to my advantage and had great speed and scored a BULLET. This was my second bullet at a world championship as I got one last year also in the Dominican Republic. I was absolutely delighted.
Then we moved onto the team racing championships, we IRL, nearly made it in to the second day but sadly we lost in the race that the winner got through against Croatia on the line. We where all very disappointed but we moved on and we watched the second day on the rib and then we had a nice lay day.
Day 4 brought a weird day with stormy conditions. Johnny scored again very well with a 15th. I sailed the second beat in my race very bad and I lost 20 places and had a bad race.
Day 5 and the second last day of the event with normal Garda winds. Johnny got his second yellow flag unfortunately, and I scored a 14 and 7 which was a nice day.
The Last day a storm was fast approaching so the second race the day before the other flights finished that and Johnny scored top 30 again. So we both had a great time off the water and the experience was great. I ended up 69th and johnny got a 97th.We both where also first and second Irish.
So we flew from Italy to Dublin on July 26th, spent an overnight in Skerries with the Parkers (thanks Olive) where my Mum did the washing and then the following morning it was straight off to the British Nationals in Largs, Scotland via the ferry.
We picked up the charter boats, rigged up and went for a sail to see the area we found that the major factor was tide. The first few days Johnny showed great speed around the course and was in the top 5 after the third day. I was struggling to get to the hold of things with good speed but bad tactics. Then Thursday and Friday brought wind which both off us had fantastic speed from the line and both Johnny and I gained loads on the reaches and runs. The last day brought 1 race and it was 25 knots. It was about keeping the boat dry on the beat and stay fast on the run both Johnny and I did this for another great result. So between us we had 14 top 10s and 6 top 5s.Johnny ended up great in 6th and I was not far behind in 8th.We both had a great week and where 1st and 2nd Irish.
We then had a few days off so we went to Baltimore in West Cork with our friends and just relaxed and had a bit of craic.
Then we headed to Dublin for an event in Sutton just before the Irish Nationals, we had a 1st and 2nd overall. We then trained for 3 days with Team X in Dun Laoighaire where the 2013 Optimist Nationals where being held. The forecast for the event was a light first day and windy for the rest of the event.
The first day was raining, shifty, light and nobody was able to get two top 10's. Johnny had the better day of the two of us with a 25 and a 16. We both knew that there was a long week in it.
The next day was very gusty and shifty again but around 15 knots gusting 17. Some of the lulls spread around the racecourse where only 9. I had three solid top 10s but Johnny again had one of the best result of the day with a 1st. He won the race by a fair bit, scaring everybody with his pointing (including me).
The next day brought squalls of up to 32 knots with an average of 20 guesting or more. Johnny and I loved these conditions and flew around the course with Johnny playing it safe with 2 top 5s and I scored a bullet and a 3 to move us both up in the results. Going into the last day Johnny was 4th and I was 1st by two points. The last day was again windy and I knew I could get top results in the breeze. Johnny had a 13,16 and a great 4th .I got a 10,5,2 and I became the new Irish Optimist National Champion by 14 points. Johnny finished 4th he was 1 point off 3rd.
Last week we had the Optimist leinsters and I came 1st with four bullets and Johnny came 3rd it was a great weekend
This weekend we are going to the Irish Sailing Association all Ireland sailing championships in Schull.
Without doubt it has been the best summer we have ever had, We have met many people have made so many new friends We would like to thank Rooster sailing for all their help and for helping us to have, really,the best summer ever! Roll on 2014!!!!
Harry and Johnny