Optimist World Championship 2015 – Dziwnow, Poland
Being part of the GBR team for the 2015 Optimist World championships was definitely the highlight of the year for me.
In the build up to the regatta we raced as a team at a test event in Poland and also at the Flanders regatta in Belgium. The weekend before we travelled out to Poland, we had a weekend of team racing training at Lymington with the European team racing squad.
The team for the Worlds was me, Will Hall, Vita Heathcote, Julia Mellers and Milly Boyle - with Alan Williams as coach and his wife Jen as house parent.
The trip out to Poland involved a flight from Gatwick to Berlin, where we met up with the boats and the RYA minibus. I must say a big thank you to Jan Laskso and Chris Boyle for driving the minibus to and from Poland! We then drove the final leg of the journey to Dziwnow on the north coast of Poland. The teams accommodation was a 20min drive away from the sailing venue, so having the minibus meant we didn’t have to rely on the event coaches.
The accommodation had a holiday camp feel and was a little cramped at times for 5 sailors and 2 adults!
We arrived 7 days before the opening ceremony, which gave us plenty of time for training, measurement and registration. For the training days the sailing conditions were fairly good (more on this later!).
The opening ceremony involved a big parade, with all of the teams going up onto the event stage to be introduced.
Conditions for the regatta ended up being challenging for both the sailors and the race officials due to the light and very variable conditions. As a result we ended up spending lots of time on the water waiting to race and practicing our french as we were sharing a RIB with the French team. The light winds also had an impact on the team racing competition which ended up being shortened, but we were pleased to make it through to the 2nd phase.
In the qualifying phase of the fleet racing we only ended up completing 7 races. I had a few good races but also a black flag and was a little disappointed going into Silver fleet (there were 4 fleets in total, Gold to Emerald). Frustratingly the weather conditions didn’t improve for the final series and we were only able to complete a further 2 races. Overall I finished 110th out of 275 entries and learnt a huge amount over the course of the regatta.
Whilst the lack of wind was a big disappointment, the overall experience was fantastic. I’d like to thank Will, Vita, Julia and Milly for being great team mates and Alan and Jen for doing a fantastic job of looking after us.Matt PS. The day we left the wind returned and was blowing 25knots!! :roll: