European Champs

 2011 European Optimist Championships

Wednesday 29 June – First days sailing

Today is the second day for the New Zealand 2011 Euros Team (Lola, Zak, Cole and Nick) in Tavira, Portugal and with the final arrival of the charter boats overnight the team was able to take possession of their new Blue Magic boats and take them through the measuring phase of the regatta.

No problems were experienced by the team in measuring although Nick’s sail tube containing sails and spars has still not arrived, having been misplaced by the airline between London and Lisbon. “Maybe tonight” we are told…

The team was then able to spend some time with coach Susannah Pyatt pimping each of the boats out and getting them into shape for the regatta ahead. The boats are really well presented and everyone seems pretty pleased with them.

It was another clear blue day here in Tavira, with the temperature being up in the mid to late 20s C and the overnight offshore breeze turned into a moderate sea breeze. If the weather and breeze stays like this it should be an awesome sailing venue.

The boatyard is baking hot and dusty so the sailors were keen to get afloat. The yacht club is located on a river about a kilometre from the sea and the sailors launched for the first time about 2.00 pm and headed downriver heading for the sea with Susannah in hot pursuit.

The team was able to get in 3 – 4 hours training on the race course and found that while the breeze appeared moderate at the club (inland remember) the actual breeze on the course was quite light. Also there was unexpectedly a lot of tide running across the course.

The team was able to join in on some impromptu racing against several other teams so have started to get a feel of the likely competition.

The regatta starts on Saturday 2 July being the official arrival day and an invitation race scheduled for the 3rd. The first official race is 4 July, hopefully leavingadequate time for the team to get themselves familiar with local conditions.

The team is really enjoying the trip so far with the township being very picturesque and locals really friendly and helpful. Fortunately most Portuguese are able to speak good English because our Portuguese and/or Spanish is non existent! Food pricing is good with a pizza costing about €6 – 7.00 although petrol is very expensive.

The hotel ping pong table is getting a real workout with Zak, Cole and Nick taking on some of the other teams and doing OK. They’ve also had an impromptu rugby game against the Israel team. Judging by their form if the ABs come up against the Israelis in the World Cup we should be in good shape!

Another report tomorrow and hopefully Nick’s sails turn up.

Regards

Lola, Zak, Cole and Nick.

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