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Colette Blair at the Laser Radial European Championships

Following on from Colette’s great result at the ISAF Youth World Championship in Canada she travelled to Breitenbrunn, Austria for the Laser Radial European Championships.

The GBR team travelled in style by plane with the boats going by road on an eight boat trailer, which also carried a RIB.

Two days of training at the venue in 25 – 30 knots of wind didn’t put the team off. However, some of the boats didn’t pass scrutineering because there were bent spars. A hasty deal was done with the Laser Agent and we were ready to go.

The practice race was the usual farce, particularly as they organised a single start for the 189 entrants.

The racing started for real on the Saturday with two races. The fleet was divided into three flights making the starts easier but still very busy. I finished 14th and 15th after the two races and was pleased to get the first day over.

Sunday brought very little wind. The race committee decided to try and race. After one abandoned start we sat on the water for the rest of the day waiting for the breeze which never came.

Monday saw a repeat of the previous day but we stayed on shore until the official postponement.

Tuesday there was an earlier start and with light shifting winds I managed to get a 6th, a 15th and a 14th. A long day with OK results.

Wednesday dawned as the last day for racing with little or no wind. There was a time limit of 14.00, which arrived very slowly. I was very pleased as this meant that I was 30th overall and 1st female.

The prize giving followed soon after and I received one of the coveted Laser “cubes”.

After the prize giving the GBR team were very excited, with Nick Thompson winning, Giles Scott 3rd and me at 30th and 1st female. I was the first to be thrown in and on hitting the water, which was only two feet deep, I hit some rocks. My head was badly cut and there were cuts and scrapes over other parts of my body. I managed to get myself to the side of the lake where I was helped out. An Ambulance was called and we got the Fire Engine and Police as well. I was patched up at the hospital. The next day we flew back to the UK where my parents met me at the airport. I was glad to be home. A sad end to the excitement of the event and a lesson I will never forget.