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Laser Radial Youth European Championships, Croatia split.  

Laser Radial Europeans

After much anticipation and excitement me and josh were at the airport buzzing to get to a warm country and get in some good sailing at the euros, The premier Youth European event. Check in went smoothly and we made it to the right bit of the airport which was our first success since we were travelling alone for the first time. We got in the departure lounge with plenty of time to spare to get lunch obviously representing GBR we opted for the healthy salad options and avoided mcdonalds to keep our weight down anticipating a light wind event. (every little helps!) Waiting in the lounge was a bizarre experience as we kept bumping into other british sailors but also reassuring as we knew we must be in the right place. Our boats had been transported on a 12 stacker trailer the week before already waiting in Croatia so with no sailing kit we may as well of been on holiday!

With no hold luggage when we arrived at the the airport in Croatia we just walked straight off the plane through security to meet our taxi driver to take us to our apartment. After a bit of dodgy european driving only jumping a few red lights and some minor road rage we were met by our apartment land lady. The lovely Croatian lady Julia gave us a tour of the apartment then quickly drove us to the sailing club to show us where it is making us feel very welcome in Croatia. Anxious to find our boats we spent a good long time looking for our boats in the already packed dinghy park, after a few laps josh’s hawk eyes spotted our boats and we could relax again, go to bed and get ready for a good training session the next day.  

We had a good first days training in glamour sailing conditions doing some tuning runs then joining in with the squaddies for some practice races getting in a good 4 hours sailing helping us to get a good look into the venue and what to expect as well as getting a good first tanning session in! The next day was measurement which turned out to be a very long day registering and getting measured and by 4 could finally get out for a sail in the dying light wind having done nothing all day we needed it even if there was little wind. The final day before the beginning of the regatta including a practice race where we would get a taste of a big fleet start however it seems everyone just goes 1 minute before the gun! Still got in a good bit of fleet racing on a full course preparing ourselves for the beginning of the regatta.

Day 1 and with little wind there was a long wait before the first race so keeping hydrated and ready to sail was important, The long wait proved not worth it in the end as after one race start only one fleet got a race in out of the 4 fleets racing.

The second day had better wind and 3 races were sailed posting a 44, 31, 21 in that order having a very disappointing 1st race but gradually getting better with a pleasing result in the 20s by the end of the day. Although not as good as I was hoping I had a lot to do the next day to move me up the results to qualify into a good fleet.

The final day of qualifying was not my finest days sailing getting very disappointing results (42, 44) I found the chop and light winds very challenging to get my boatspeed up and therefore lost a lot of ground on the upwind legs and just could not hold my position on the racecourse. I would've said its my worst days sailing ever but being in croatia sailing in 30 degrees at the Youth Europeans I couldn't really complain, still having great fun! So after a poor qualifying (and once I had stopped sulking ‘dry your eyes mate’!) I refocused my goals to making the most out of this opportunity to sail at an international event and get the most out of the event in terms of enjoyment as well as valuable experience in a highly competitive fleet which I could take forward to other national events later in the year.

The first day in emerald fleet was an interesting one being towed out in no wind and then rushed back in as the wind came joint with a thunderstorm! (when it rains in Croatia, IT RAINS.) so no races that day but got back in time to get to to the local market before it closed to get some good quality genuine fake ‘ray bans’ We decided to try out one of the posh looking restaurants (bad idea on my behalf!) The restaurant was so bad the outraged Andy Clarke was forced to tell the world of the terrible experience we endured by publishing his very own review on tripadvisor! http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowUserReviews-g295370-d1903609-r165677021-Restaurant_Hotel_Adriana-Split_Split_Dalmatia_County_Dalmatia.html#REVIEWS please read the review above by the new self acclaimed author Mr Clarke.

Second day we only got one race in and I posted an average 21st in the very shifty conditions from the local ‘bura’ wind direction coming off the land.

The last day and finally the wind came in at a good 18 knots helping me post two satisfying results (6, 7) so I could end the week on a high sailing in glamour conditions, getting a good tan and posting some decent results!

Overall I learnt a lot during the week, the importance of getting a good start and holding your lane to sail your own race as once you lost your lane in such a quality fleet of sailors I was spat straight out the back of the pack! Learning to focus a lot in the light winds to get every bit of boat speed I could as the little gains are very important in such a tight fleet where the difference between first and last in very little. Gaining a lot of good experience tactically where one bad decision can see you drop 10 places very quickly so keeping your head out of the boat was vital to be able to take advantage of every shift. Finally that europeans do not do there turns!  

Thanks a lot to KSSA for your support from when I first did a kssa training event in 2008 at downs and giving me valuable training at good value with great coaches and friendly advice from everyone. Without KSSA there is no doubt I would never of had the opportunity to participate in such a high profile and high class event.

Cheers, Michael Calvert 

Laser Radial Europeans

Laser Radial Europeans

Laser Radial Europeans

Laser Radial Europeans