An unexpected podium finish at last year’s Optimist African Championships has given Cape Town sailor Matt Ashwell just the boost he needed heading into the Optimist World Championship in Thailand this month.
Monday 3 July
تحيات الآباء المحترم للبحارة رائعة الذين يمكن أن تدفع المدربين اليأس في بعض الأحيان!
سلعم أليكوم ….
Today, the group is in a somber mood, and the team and coach is feeling a little bit down.
Yesterday was not a good day on the race course, with many hard lessons learnt. You all had my WhatsApp commentary during the races, so I won’t go further except to say that the results so far are not a good reflection of our kids ability and for all the hard work they have put in. Added to that the conditions are exactly the opposite of what we have been training in.
Insult to injury today when Team RSA was knocked out of the team racing after only 2 races. Admittedly this is not something the team has worked on at all. Angola successfully defended their team racing title against UAE in the 3 race final with a race to spare and their camp is over the moon. And so other than the Angolans, it was a bit of a glum ride home.
However . . .
Tomorrow heralds much stronger breeze and the forecast looks much more suitable for the SA sailors. There are 4 more races left in the regatta and I am sure with stronger breeze, the results will improve.
There are huge variances in sailing techniques and boat set-ups on the go here. The Angolans are sailing with tight vangs and stiff leaches, but the Egyptians seem to like everything on the rig much looser, to the point of being floppy. Yesterday in Race 6, Egypt 88 sailed by one of the smaller kids won by nearly a minute and a half. His sail set-up was a lot of twist in the sail upwind and the leach completely loose downwind. This seemed to make the sail a lot livelier – almost fanning the boat downwind. See the pic below. But the Angolans who are are winning the regatta at this stage have almost the opposite setup with board flat sails both up and downwind. As far as the Tunisians go, there is not a sail in their team that is less than 8 years old!!!
Rule 42 has not caused to many problems so far, but there is a discrepancy between what are planing conditions and not. Yesterday it was marginal and the lighter kids could pump and plane. I asked the rules lady at large about the heavier kids and the thoughts were that if they couldn’t get on the plane, then they weren’t entitled to their one pump per wave. This obviously penalises heavier kids in lighter airs quite badly. I am meeting with the IJ tomorrow to see if I can get some further views from him and will pass on to the worlds team.
Another area that is being addressed quite severely is misconduct and bad behavior – both on the water and off! The evening before the regatta started, two Egyptians were indulging in a bit of horseplay in their room. Short version is that a football went through a sliding door window and one of them was cut quite badly on his leg. Both kids were immediately sent home with no refund – both due to misconduct and one with an added injury. The Egyptian Federation will hold an investigation separately, but both are facing impending RRS69 hearings – instituted by their own federation. SAS – take note!
Other things they are clamping down on is dishonesty in jury hearings, verbal abuse of competitors or officials, and not doing penalties for whoopsie-daisies on the race course. There is a ‘confessional’ form to be filled in at the end of each day where you state which rule you may have infringed during whichever leg on whatever race e.g. leg 2 – Race 4 – Rule 31 – one turn. Then the IJ’s look over that list and compare it with what they observed during the day. Woe betide you if you are on their list and not the confession form.
That is all for today.
The Imam goat-cats were in their towers again at 3.30am, so it’s been a long day – in fact the closest tower was late and only got going as the others were finishing. And he is really close, you can hear him warming up. The microphone goes, “click….tap..tap….…tap…..cough…..and then….ألااء أكباعاء ..اكي ياكي يخرج من السرير …..and so on.
Team Racing Results: http://2017africans.optiworld.org/uploaded_files/Document_6314_20170703204128_en.pdf
Angola leads the African Optimist Championships after Day 2. All the results here: http://2017africans.optiworld.org/uploaded_files/Document_6299_20170702202705_en.pdf
تحياتي لهذه الأرض القديمة التي كانت الحضارة الأولى لاختراع البيرة وأول من حظره (غير معقول جدا).
Friday 3.30 am signaled 2 events.
The first was the end of Eid, which is the post Ramadan celebrations. Now I actually love the sound of a mosque at the beginning or end of the day, but around 20 started up at once and woke the entire hostel up. Some of them were in tune, but the nearest three had deep baritones that sounded like a lovesick goat interbred with a cat!
The second was the arrival of the much feared but anticipated Egyptian Enteritis. No one at breakfast was owning up much but on the way to the regatta center, when the translator got the bus to stop outside a pharmacy, everyone jumped off and ordered the same anti-gippo medicine. In fact there were locals from the street buying the same thing, so somethings going around. Claire, Wendy, me, and the Tanzanians were affected, but seemed to be OK. What really makes us nervous is that the regatta center is based amongst several restaurants and has one toilet that is jealously supervised by a cleaning lady who insists on spring cleaning the place between users. And there is usually a queue. During yesterday’s race, several coaches were seen jumping off their boats for a special little swim.
And then it was the opening ceremony. And.., the Egyptians pulled off a very special occasion. I sent the photos last night, so you should have an idea of what it was like. And I have managed to compress the video down to 37 Mb which is the maximum allowed here. The shirts were a major hit – well done Axel. We were completely swamped by entire families wanting to take selfies with us and it all got rather jolly. We held babies, posed with moms, dads and children, gave out SA flags and I daresay we were the most popular team there. There was high security with lots of police and navy boats patrolling around. Each team had a chaperone provided by the local sea scouts and it was all very well done.
And then onto today’s racing. We knew it was going to be difficult with light winds and a short choppy swell – completely the opposite conditions the team has trained so hard in. The Egyptian are all but one local from Alexandria. The Angolans have exactly these conditions at Luanda as do the Algerians. The Angolans are starting to look VERY good with 3 outstanding sailors in the mix. There is a theme of lots of full time pro coaches who are regularly sent to Europe on courses, or recognised coaches visiting them. It is something we are going to have to look at if we are to stay abreast of the rest of the Oppie world.
Richard and I spent the day aboard a very old motor yacht with a seasick Egyptian TV crew, which was hilarious, but we had to abandon the last race as they couldn’t take any more. “iinani ‘amut – iinani ‘amut – la ‘akthiru, yrja hifz li”.
Anyway – you have the results and photos from the day – more tomorrow, so I will sign off
لا يزال هناك النبيذ، ولكن لدينا عدد قليل من الخيوط! ما سلامة،
Download Results Day 1: http://2017africans.optiworld.org/uploaded_files/Document_6292_20170701202954_en.pdf