Naples 2016 Optimist Event
0500hrs Saturday 2nd January 2016, the Naples team met at Gatwick Airport. The team comprised of me and 4 other members of the Optimist National squad; Barty (Gray), Kai (Wolgram) and Will (Pank). India (Page-Wood) was already out in Naples so we were meeting her there.
After a short flight we landed at Naples airport. We met up with Pieter (our coach for the event) and found a taxi that took us straight to the Reale Yacht Club Canottieri Savoia.
When we got to the club the weather was warm and sunny. We found our charter boats and then had a raffle to decide who got which boat. We then spent some time rigging the boats as well as checking the spars, foils and polishing the hulls.
Without planning Pieter told us we were going out for a sail. We went to the changing rooms, got changed and headed back to the boats. The charter boats had no mast clamps so we had to tie the masts on!
Once that was done we launched from the pontoon. The club didn’t have a slipway, so we did this by lifting the boats in to the water. We did some training exercises (rabbit runs and downwind tuning) and then we joined with the Italians who were also out training and did a practice race with about 50 other boats. It was very light winds (about 2 knots) but it was great to finally get out on the water after all the travelling.
There were 3 days of racing in a mixture of wind and conditions. On the Sunday we launched in 20knots, hail and dark ominous looking clouds but managed 3 races. On the Monday there was a postponement while we waited for the wind to arrive, and when it did it increased to 30knots. At this point the racing was abandoned after completing 2 races. While all the other countries went in we requested permission to stay out and have some fun on the large Napoli waves (reminded me of Pwlhelli). On Monday there was only just enough time to complete 1 race.
After racing each day, food and entertainment was provided by the club. We had great fun and made loads of new friends. On the Saturday evening at the club the Italian sailors decided to have a massive sing-song, we all joined in, we didn’t know any of the words but it didn’t seem to matter as long as you were enthusiastic in your singing.
My results improved as the event went on, and on the last day I managed a 16th. My final result was 47th (out of 91 boats). I was really happy with this - I had never been abroad for a sailing event before and I had learnt a lot.
The Rooster SuperTherm Top certainly kept me warm while I was out there, and although the sun was shining it was still cold out on the water. I was glad I had also taken my Rooster Glove Liners and Hot Socks as I found all these items of clothing really good and kept me warm so I could concentrate on the racing.
Naples was an amazing experience and I am so glad I went. I enjoyed every minute of it, from making lots of new friends to surfing the Napoli waves.
Now I can’t wait to go to Braassemermeer at Easter!!
Sam de la Feuillade