Team Fletcher/Sign - Podium Finish
Team Fletcher and Sign recently competed in the test event for the Perth 2011 world championships which is an indicator for selection on who will be going to the 2012 Olympics.
We arrived in Australia with a few weeks before the event was due to start to get our barings of Fremantle. We were staying in the Esplanade hotel which was a 15 minute walk to the sailing club. We were told that the wind comes in at 1 pm every day called the Doctor and blew 20 knots every day. This proved a challenge in the lead up to the event as launching was tricky sailing on a reach out of the harbour and into the choppy sea.
The racing format for the week was that 49ers raced early in the morning before the breeze got to much to sail in. However the week started off with a delay as there was lack of breeze when it finally filled in we were racing in a 12 knot sea breeze we were sailing fast but catching some big sea monsters (sea weed) on the centre board and rudder which slowed us down having to try and get it off. We had an average day putting us 10th after day 1.
Day 2 saw us sailing in the morning offshore breeze which started off at 17knts and was dropping and becoming more fluky and shifty throughout the 3 races where it dropped to 4 knots. The racing proved great to watch as the windward mark was 50 meters from the beach. We managed to have 3 results inside the 4 putting us 3rd overall, and finishing so early on in the day as we started at 9am we had time to chill out (quite literally) in a ice bath which apparently helps aid recovery.
Day 3 we were all ready for a big sea breeze and nothing came the locals saying this is very unusual for the time of year. A tiny breath of wind came in and the 49ers were launched. And quickly postponed on the water as there were two breezes fighting each other resulting in no wind. So after 3 hours of sitting around we were sent back in for an early dinner.
Day 4 was forecast for little or no wind we were very surprised that the wind did fill in to 8 knts at times and we got 2 races in again showing our speed we had another consistent day putting us up to 2nd going into the medal race we were unable to catch the Australian who had already won without doing the medal race.
Medal race day again there was no wind and we were delayed on shore the points were very tight behind us and our race discussion was to sail our own race and try stay out of trouble and do the things well that we had been doing the whole week. So when the breeze did finally kick in we were set off a very short 2 lap race, we got off the start line cleanly keeping out of trouble we led round the windward mark and with little gains around the course the rich get rich and we were able to sail away from the fleet winning the medal race and keeping us in 2nd overall.
We were very pleased with our performance we knew we had a medal winning performance in us and finally we put a series together. We are now staying out in frematle for a weeks training in the breeze to get some decent boat handling under our belts