Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Island Games round up at last - pics to follow.

Ahh at last some time to post about the Island Games. Well there were some ups and downs and it was quite an experience to say the least!! The up side was that Guernsey topped the medal table in style and all the talk was about how could Guernsey have done so well? Well the reality was that it was all down to hard graft and training and it was hard graft ands training that Chris Carter, Stu Martel, Dan Harradine and myself put in for several months before the games. There’s no training substitute for time on the water (TOW) and I, like the others, had had plenty of TOW in the months leading up to the games with myself recording 65 sessions in the 5months leading up to the event. I, like the others, was as they say fighting fit, and probably fitter than I have been since I was in my mid 20’s when I was into rowing, cycling as well as windsurfing of course. So the four of us rocked up to the event and the forecast was for wind on the day of the ‘training’ day (the norm for a regatta when you have a day to get to know the event area) and then marginal wind for the rest of the week with Wednesday looking the best. However, we’d been told by the event organisers that there would be a local thermal effect and that was why they’d bought 5.0m/6.0m/7.0m & 8.0m rigs and 104l & 133l boards, so at least that boosted our confidence. They wouldn’t have bought 5.0m rigs and 104l boards unless they knew something we didn’t!! So anyway down to brass tacks, day one ‘training day’, we were out on 7.0m rigs and 133l and the lighter guys on 104l boards with 6.0m rigs. All very nice and if the prospect of wind was as good as the event organisers were forecasting well it would be a cracking event. Day two, first day proper of racing, no wind, nothing not a breath in the morning, but the organisers were confident that there would be a thermal in the afternoon. So we waited, and waited and waited mmm by 2pm nothing not a breath so they stood us down. Went and saw the town crit cycling. Ahh well the event organisers said there would be a thermal the next day, so early to bed. Day three, mmm no wind, but the organisers said there would be a thermal in the afternoon and after all they wouldn’t have bought 5.0m rigs and 104l boards unless they knew something we didn’t!! Mmm at 3pm they decided to try to race, heat one headed out, ran through the race start up and then the wind dropped mid way through the race so the sailors limped back to the beach and then they stood us down, tomorrow would be windy they said. To be fair we knew that at the beginning of the week when we saw the forecast. Day four, ahh a little bit of wind. I went SUP sailing in the morning and apart from a brief interlude to talk to Prince Edward (he popped along to check out the action) and Chris Csrter having a chat with Sir Geoffrey Rowland (whilst wearing a pair of boardshorts with a leaf design that if the leaves were real would have seen him banged up!1) the prospect of thermal in the afternoon was again looking dodgy. Sue and Sarah (Stu and Dan’s better halves turned up) and it seemed that they must have bought the wind from Guernsey because within an hour of them turning up the wind started to kick in. They decided to send heat two out first which was my heat and sure enough there was finally some wind out in the bay. Heading out for your first proper slalom race with a proper countdown, unknown other competitors and with added pressure of flying the flag for Guernsey - to be honest it was pretty exciting!! With three minutes to go the adrenaline was flowing and of course I dropped the rigged, but no panic a quick uphaul saw me in just the right place and I hit the start line a full speed in about 6th place 4 seconds after the start gun. I pulled back a couple of places but it was Jersey sailor Mick Miller who stormed the start and led all the way. I managed to pull back a couple of places and even managed to cause enough chaos at one mark that resulted in a Jersey sailor falling in – nice!! I crossed the line in 4th place. I got back to the beach and I was shaking from the adrenaline rush – and in those few moments I’d finally understood why so many people love slaom racing!! Various other heats followed with Dan Harradine winning his heat, but Stu and Chris, like me, suffering from beginners nerves. My second heat again saw me place 4th, but I would have done better if I’d read the start line better and gone with the rest of the fleet. My two 4ths saw me get into the losers final and Dan’s first saw him get into the winners final. I placed 5th in the losers final, putting me in 13th and Dan muscled his way into second despite being the heaviest sailor in the heat. The idea is that a round of heats is in effect one ‘race’ (as a sort of complicated round robin system) and that to have an event you would ideally have 8 races (of 8 heats each). However this round of heats (or one race) had taken 2.5hrs. and given the prospect of no wind again there was a distinct possibility that that the one series of heats was going to be all we would get in for the whole week. And sure enough that’s what happened. Dan ended up with the silver, I was middle of the fleet and Stu and Chris never had the chance to improve on their initial stumblings. As it was I didn’t race against any of the medal winners nor 6 people who placed above me, but by the same token there were people below me that I didn’t race against so the result was a ‘result’ but not a true representation of the sailors ability. That said I think I might have got into the top 10 overall if we’d have a few more races, but I don’t think I’d have got a medal. As for the team result we got 4th behind the crapauds, which I have to concede was fair. Would I do it again, well apart from the waiting around and the pent up anger of no wind and working out ways in which to pass time I think I would. If the games in Bermuda have windsurfing I think I’d be hard pushed to say ‘no’!!

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