Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Bermuda Jr. Gold Cup 1

From Auckland to LA on NZ2 12 hours then 7 hours waiting in the US Airways lounge for their 5hr flight to Philadelphia, arriving 6am local time then 4 hours waiting for the 2 hr connection to Bermuda sooo that's 30hrs travelling! It was good to get here in the end. Bit reminiscent for me as I have been here 3 times before in 88, 92 and 93 for the Bermuda Gold Cup when I was with Nippon Challenge.

All this years competitors are new for me except my old friends Yaji san and Peter Gilmour. I have known Yaji san since he was 19 with no sailing experience joining The Nippon Challenge. He now tells me he is 45!!! How time flies!

The last 10 years odd, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club have been running the Jr. Gold Cup in Conjunction with the main event. They invite the top sailor from countries around the world to come and race against the top Bermuda skippers. info here:

By today most of the jr skippers had arrived and were getting their boats sorted. Some got out for some practice in the morning when there was a light breeze while the big boys started the elimination round robins for the main event. Unfortunately the breeze died and only one set of races could be held. 

Some pictures from today:

 Cruise ships regularly come and go through the narrow Hamilton harbour stopping the racing.

 Local Insurance company Argo is the title sponsor of this major World Match Race Tour event.

 The sailing is done from the marina pontoons. No trolleys here.

 The big boys boats are 8 IOD (International One Design) yachts made of fiberglass. For information on these boats go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_One_Design  They are great boats for match racing and have been used for ages! They are the same as what I sailed back in 88!

 The Opti racks in front of the RBYC

 The opti launching pad with some boys burning off excess energy with a swim off the marina. Can't keep them out even though coach Tom (who is from Wales and knows our Pwllheli coaches by the way!) told them that there are barracuda in the harbour!

A group of International skippers chill while waiting for some wind.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Watch this space....

Last night we had dinner with Keiju Okada who goes to high school here in Karatsu. Last years Worlds team members will remember him as the 60kg "beast" (Len's description) that was 3rd in Langkawi and this years 4.7 Worlds team will also know him because he came 4th there. An interesting, well mannered and dedicated sailor to say the least.

Keiju sails here almost every day of the week and so was kind enough to give the boys a few pointers on the wind patterns around the bay. He actually comes from a different area of Kyushu but because there is a high school here that has a very strong sailing team, he has moved here by himself to go to that school. The students involved in the sailing program don't have much time for study by the sounds of it though!

Today we managed to hook up with a group of 3 from Enoshima including Yuka Kishi the girl in the Worlds team for Napier. We set up a windward leward course and did a few short races. The breeze has been offshore yesterday and today so it is very puffy and shifty ranging from sitting in the boat to full power/hike.
We had a huge rain squall come through the first race and the wind shifted right about 40deg. After the squall it settled back into the left right puff and 30 deg shifts coming off the land. A bit like the North Shore beaches in a south westerly only worse.

Len heads for the shower in the Opti supervan. Actually that's about the only thing this van doesn't have!

Had some good practice on the race course with these 3 sailors from Enoshima (tokyo olympics sailing venue) up near Tokyo.The lad in blue is their coach Wataru Komiya and did the Opti worlds in Dan W's era. The girl in black is Yuka Kishi and she is in the Worlds team for Napier

Len gets some direction from the locals during his efforts to take out the Castle

Things start to spin up tomorrow. It is measurement day and they are really serious about it here. Each club has an allotted time during the day and the Hikari team are late afternoon. The big problem now is how soon we will have to come in from practice to allow enough time for the hiking straps to dry out! If your straps aren't dry they won't measure you (weigh the boat). I am now checking the rules.....

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Second to last leg

Google map of Karatsu

In Karatsu City now after a 4 hour drive down from Hikari City in the Koizumi family opti wagon. This is the best opti car I have seen yet. It is a special long wheel base hi roof Toyota something or other. It has a shelf for sleeping or carrying 2 optis in the back and racks inside the roof for spars and sails and yet it is still long enough to have the backseat set up as normal and of course it has a tow bar to tow one of the club VSR's

Now being on Kyushu Island,  it meant we had to drive over the spectacular Kanmon suspension bridge which spans the narrow ish gap between Honshu and Kyushu.

Google map of Kanmon kyo bridge

The big attraction in Karatsu is the Castle which dominates the skyline here standing high and proud on a hill . Look for it in the background in future photos!

After arriving at the Karatsu Yacht Harbour we launched the VSR, pulled the optis out of the van and got the boys out on the race course area for a bit of a sail.

Monday, August 15, 2011

And you thought Texas was hot!

Been here in Japan a week now and I don't think it has been under 35C once. All of us have spent a lot of time trying to find a cool place to catch up on the time zones with an mid day siesta.

Love the VSR's. wonder if they would notice if one was missing.....

Leonard's first day sailing in Japan since a year ago here in Hikari City, Yamaguchi Prefecture after a 10 hr 790km drive from near Tokyo. This is where the Japan Nats were last year and we are being looked after again by the Koizumi family here. We met their middle son, Ibuki, last year at the UK Nats. Ibuki was in the Japan National team at Langkawi.  He just missed out on a trip to Napier and will age out of optis but his 11 yo brother Gaiyo is the up and come sailor here now. The plan is 2 days practice here then move another 4 hours drive west with the Hikari Club team to this years venue at Karatsu, Saga Pref.  on Kyushu Island. The Hikari Club has been kind and lent us an oldish Winner but we found today that the mast collar area had some hidden damage and the collar was floating around in an enlarged hole. So a little bit of repair work is on the programme for tomorrow before we move to Karatsu the next day.
I took the attached 2 pics with the iPhone. One from the top of the mast collar and one from underneath. Now I know the meaning of FaceTime on the Iphone!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Final Day UK Nats

Hi All.
Sitting in an internet cafe in Tokyo as I write this, the final blog. We have just said goodbye to Rob, Kazyuo and Leonard as they continue on with their journey catching up with friends and family in Japan and then onto the Japanese Nationals while we head for home, we have a 10 hour stopover here before flying out to Auckland. I am pretty sure I speak for all us when I say we are looking forward to getting home.

Everything was quite rushed at the end of Racing on Day 4, unlike most regattas that finish earlier on the last day the last warning signal was not until 3.45pm which they went right up to, with the prizegiving at 7pm. Our drama was we had to leave by 8.30pm that night to drive to Heathrow (6 hours) to catch our plane to Frankfurt then Tokyo. As soons as racing was finished we had to return the charter boats, race back to the apartment pack the cars, throw sailing gear in the dryer and get back to prizegiving, we didn't end up leaving until 8.45pm so quite a quick trip with Mark leading the charge and Rob right up his tail. So unfortunately there has been no time to blog until now, fortunately the facebook updates have been real time and taken some of the pressure off.

Well our boys have made us all so proud, all finishing in the top 5. We have been inundated with messages of congratulations from you all so from everyone here thank you so much.

Final results were Leonard 1st, Markus 3rd, and Isaac 5th.

For the previous days sailing we had seen a typical sea breeze come in and blow from the South West, Race Day 4 was somewhat different we had a shifty flukey offshore breeze, varying from 3 knots to 10 knots during the day. During the guys speed tests before racing they were noticing massive changes in wind direction and this remained constant for the day making it difficult to return consistent results.

Three races were sailed for the day, which gave a total of 12 sailed all together.

I think the trip has been a great success, the boys have experienced some great highs and some lows along the way to go with them, they have dealt with both situations really well. They have experienced sailing under pressure with the need to perform to maintain and hopefully improve their position and had lots of starting practice. They have learnt heaps and hopefully they will be able to take this learning with them through to the Worlds at the end of the year.
Well time to sign off, thank you all for taking the time to follow the boys and we wish Leonard well in Japan.

A few snapshots from the last day.

The boys about to leave the beach for the last time.

The boys off doing some fine tuning between races, Markus on helm, Max on mainsheet and Leonard the tactician, oh and I nearly forgot the big boy (Rob) hot on their heels.

The boys with their well earned hardware, also Bleddyn (coach) and Max (Honarary Kiwi from Dominican Republic)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

UK Nats - Day 4

Another night of rain but we have woken up to a slighty overcast day but the forecast is for the day to clear and provide a bit of breeze.

On the water today at 10.30am with some better pressure around 12-15knots, a lot of cloud cover which would hang around most of the day and provide 3 good races in some reasonable breeze.

All the boys are now in the gold fleet so it made it much easier to follow them in the same flight. Mark is doing a great job of putting up to the minute positions at mark roundings on facebook for those of you staying up late to keep updated. The facebook page is optiworldsnz 2011 nzl team for those of you wanting to have a look, some extra photos to llok at as well

The results from today

Race 1
Leonard 1st Isaac 5th Markus 32nd

Race 2
Leonard 3rd Isaac 6th Markus 8th

Race 3

Leonard 1st Markus 4th Isaac 9th


Leonard 1st Markus 2nd Isaac 5th

All good, now all the boys in the top 5 with 2 races scheduled for tomorrow.

Check out the full results at: www.kbsuk.com/data/optimistiocaevents/data/results/2011natsengoldnh.html

At the end of tomorrow we are bags packed and gone by 8pm for our 7 hour driver to Heathrow to jump on the plane and head home, Rob Kazyuo and Len jumping ship at Japan so Len can smoke them all at the Japanese Nationals.

The laughs from today.

Today we were doing the old throw the bottle in the water and measure the tide trick. All good, Rob was up the front so his job was to retrieve the bottle. Anyway we come up to the bottle Rob reaches in to grab the bottle and showing commitment reached in a litlle further to get the bottle, oops to far and there he is hanging over the side head buried in the water bum pointing upwards, we had to jump forward and pull him back into the boat, and we all thought Leonard was the only one who could fall out of the boat on the reach, we were wrong, it must run in the family..

Then there was Isaac ready to start race 2, off goes the gun and off he goes got nailed and a pretty deep start, one of the English girls was in front of him wearing Markus's orange beanie, off it flies into the water, so what does Isaac do, he tacks grabs the beanie and continues to sail out left, must be a lucky hat Isaac finished 4th in this race. Definetly not standard practice and I am sure Mum will be horrified reading this!!!

UK Nats - Day 3

Hi All, once again I have to start with an apology this post should have been up yesterday but the internet at the apartment is diabolical, the only good thing about this is that I am now sitting at our local 'The Crown' I made the mistake of wearing my Chiefs Rugby top so it has taken a while to get past all the local welsh boys.

The weather has been amazing even the locals can't believe the amount of sunshine we have had, a little bit more wind would be nice though. Today we had around 8 knots of breeze which died off early afternoon. This was enough breeze to allow us to get 2 races in and complete the qualifying series.

The results from today were:

Race 1

Leonard 1st Markus 2nd Isaac 4th

Race 2
Markus 2nd Isaac 6th Leonard 8th

Markus 1st Leonard 2nd Isaac 7th

Hows that 1st and 2nd overall go the Kiwis and all three in the top 10. The S.H.I.T.S on tour are doing the damage, lets hope they can keep it up. With the early finish the kids were keen to go to the movies so an early dinner and off to see the final of the Harry Potter series, big kids included. By the way Markus has changed his name to 'Rock' short for rockstar, at the end of the second race today he was approached by a rib full of people with cameras and microphones wanting to interview him, the interview will be on BBC Wales 6.30pm today, I am sure there will be an online way of watching this somehow.

A few photos from the day.

The boys standing outside someones front door, either we breed em big at home or this town was colonised by very short people.

Who said only the little kids could wear beanies!!

Rob chilling out between races.