Monday, November 22, 2010

Winter hits us in Victoria

Well, after a four day training camp with coach Dave last week, this week we've been forced into a bit of a hiatus as winter sets in in Victoria.  Winds of 55 knots are howling down from the north bringing us snow and temperatures as low as -8 Celsius.  For many of you this is probably pretty tame, nonetheless, it was pretty chilly down at the yacht club and driving home proved to be an hour and a half long epic adventure of dodging accidents!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Video from AthletesCAN

Check out the great compilation put together by Canadian High Jumper Nicole Forrester! This vid is from the KidsCAN School Day, where National Team members worked with over 1000 kids to demo sport, encourage physical activity, and promote healthy living.

Friday, November 12, 2010

New Friends at the Children's Development Centre

Jen here,

This week I was fortunate enough to be paired with two classes of students as part of the Adopt an Athlete program.  Their teacher, Melanie, welcomed me to the school where I spent an afternoon meeting with the students and explaining the sport of sailing.  All of the students were enthusiastic, asked great questions, and were eager to share their own stories about boating in general.  To say the least, I'm officially stoked at the opportunity to forge a relationship with the Development Centre, and make some new friends with the students. 

I will, however, have to control my urge to recruit them all onto the Royal Vic Opti Sailing team!

This weekend we'll be training each day with coach Dave Hughes, as one of our last major training camps before Christmas.  There are three teams training, and we're all keen to get out for some solid time on the water before the cold sets in for winter. We'll keep you updated as the weekend progresses.


Saturday, November 6, 2010

International Sailing Federation Annual Conference

Jen here,

This week is training as usual although everyone is biting their nails because of the ISAF Annual Conference.  There are some changes coming to our classes for the 2016 games in Rio, and we're all anxious to know what they are.  Mix 470 crews? Mixed multihull crews?  A skiff for the women?  All are options at this point!  I've posted the link to ISAF's conference blog below for all you keeners:


Multihull musings

November 6, 2010 at 9:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a Comment If multihulls are selected to be back in the Olympics the Multihull Commission believe that it should be: 3 sails; twin trapeze; centreboard and a manufactures class. Size should be 16,  18 or 20ft.  If a mixed multihull were selected they think in most case it would be female helm and male crew on something like a Formula 16.
-Posted from ISAFconference blog.

Monday, November 1, 2010

AthletesCAN Forum

Jen here,

I just arrived home from the 2010 AthletesCAN forum in Gatineau, Quebec.  The forum consisted of three days of panel discussions, workshops for Canadian athletes from all sports.  I had the opportunity to meet athletes from a variety of sports and hear some of the stories from those fresh back from the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.  The day prior to forum was KIDSCan, which is a day when national team athletes have a chance to speak with schools about their sport and what it's like to be an athlete. We then run the kids through a series of sport related activities so that they get to experience our different sports.  As you may have guessed, this was a real challenge for me as there was neither a 470 nor a large body of water available!

I was partnered with Ryan Ferguson, a member of the Canadian Life Saving team.  Who knew that lifesaving was a sport!?!  Ryan's sport consists of pool events, surf events, and emergency response events-all of which emerged from the tasks of lifeguards.  We decided to combine our two sports into a relay race with stations from each sport to create the "Lifesaving/Sailing Relay Race of Intensity."  The race went something like this:

Station 1: Sun safety, smear your partner's face with as much sunscreen as possible as quickly as possible.

Station 2: Run to one of 3 trapezes and demonstrate your intense trapezing skills.

Station 3: The ocean, to simulate that wonderful feeling of driving a 470 while water shoots in your face, dunk your head into a bucket of water and have your partner towel off your face. Teamwork at its finest.

Station 4:  Rope Throw:  throw a heaving line to your partner and pull them in to rescue him or her!

As you can imagine, there was sunscreen everywhere and a series of smiling and soaking wet kids leaving our station. Great fun was had by all and many comments about wanting to try our two sports.  We even managed to do a few talks in french! 

All in all, the AthletesCAN forum was a great event and a great opportunity to network, learn more about issues outside of my own sport, and to make some great new friends.  Thanks to all the kids who participated in KidsCAN, you all made my day!


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Getting Ready for Gatineau

Jen here,

Today I am in Kelowna for one last day of visiting with family before I head to Gatineau, Quebec for the Athlete's CAN conference tomorrow.  I will act as the able bodied sailing representative and be travelling with Brenda Hopkins who will act as the disabled sailing representative.  This will be a great opportunity to meet athletes from all sports and from all across Canada. There will be opportunities to learn about sponsorship and fundraising, athlete selection criteria, and many other issues that arise while competing.  Brenda and I are both keen to share ideas with athletes from other sports, and to learn about how things are done within their own sporting organizations. 

Thursday will be an exciting day for me, as I volunteered to speak about sailing at the KidsCAN day. This is a day that is put on for students from grades 5-8 to learn about high level sport in Canada. We'll have the opportunity to speak with nearly 1000 students and to lead them through sport related activities.  My speaking partner, Ryan, is from Life Saving, and the two of us have devised a pretty tricky looking relay race/obstacle course for our students.  We'll let you know how it works out!



Sunday, October 24, 2010

29er XX Camp

Jen here,

We spent this weekend sailing with 29er XX sailors from Victoria and Seattle. From the Victoria fleet we had Anne Round and Liam, Jess Round and Erin Berry (Youth Worlds team), Sam and Ian, Jon Hey, Kristine Williams, and Fraser and Erik from the 470 fleet. Mat and Katie brought three rigs up from Seattle for a total of five 29er XX's on the water.  We got off to a great start on Saturday morning in about 15 knots.  The rigs are lots of fun and there was plenty of action on and in the waters of Caddy Bay!  Around noon the breeze picked up to about 23 knots, and so Erin and I opted to get into our 470 and let the skiff sailors have fun in the breeze.  This fall has seen nothing but extremely light conditions, so we're eager to get some time 470 sailing in breeze whenever possible.  At this point, the 29er XX's headed in and, sadly, I forfeited my opportunity to skiff sail for the day in order to get some much needed practice!

This morning when we got down to the club to rig the XX's,  we found that there were two masts with fractures running up the masts from the base.  These fractures seem to originate from where the mast butt is bolted into the base of the mast.  In one boat, there was a crack running about 18" up the carbon fibre rig.  Given that this happened to two rigs in one day, we're wondering if it has to do with the design or construction of the rigs.  Katie and Mat indicated that this was a problem for the XX's who sailed at CORK in Kingston this summer as well.  Nonetheless, it was a great weekend and a good opportunity to spend time with our skiffy friends.  Big thanks to Anne Round for arranging the camp, to Jen Glass, Mat, and Katie for bringing up the rigs, and to the Round family, the Berry family, and Kelsey Stroppel for lending us their boats!

Take care,

Monday, October 4, 2010

Oct. 4 - Back on the Water!

We are back in Victoria and sailed for the first time since Halifax today! Brian Todd is in Victoria to work with the Paralympic athletes and has generously included the 470's in the camp. Yesterday we put the boat back together which was a bit confusing at first as we haven't seen the boat in nearly four months. We were concerned for a moment as we couldn't locate the rudder but it turned up under my bed. We had a good afternoon session in nearly no wind working on time and distance to the start line. The camp continues until  Friday so we will keep you updated.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Halifax Training Day 4 and 5

We are nearing the end of our journey - only two more days and we get to come home! Yesterday we had a great day of training out in the Bay with around 15 knots of breeze. We did some short course work to start off, which was challenging with the puffy shifty breeze close to shore. The mechanics of our tacks, gybes and mark roundings are correct we are now working to make them smoother and faster. We then headed upwind and out into St. Margaret's Bay. Jacob and Graeme had to head in due to a breakdown so they came back on the water in the coach boat. Coaches Dave and Brian switched them into boats and moved people around so at one point no one was sailing in their own boat or with their usual partner. This was really cool, as we got to see how the other teams do things. It lead to a great discussion in debrief about how and what each person communicated in the boat and also some insights into which boat set ups we liked better. I got to sail with Jacob while Jen steered for Karen, and we both learned a lot. Afterwards we had a team dinner at Karen's house. We made pita pizzas and shared stories.

Today there was a big storm cell predicted to hit with 35 knots of wind. We hid in the clubhouse while it poured rain, and finally started to rig. Unfortunately Jen was unable to sail due to the pain in her forearms, so I headed out with Teddy driving the boat. The breeze came up to just over 20 knots as we launched. We didn't stay out long; although Teddy is an excellent sailor, we have never sailed together before and communication and teamwork is key to keeping the boat upright in breeze. We headed in and watched from the dock as the other teams raced around. They didn't stay out too long; unfortunately Karen and Dana broke their mast when they capsized while doing a pin change. We re-grouped on shore and had to explain to the firetrucks, ambulance and news crew who turned up that we were fine; no one was hurt; and this was just a normal day at the office for us.

One of the perks of a national team camp is the support from the local sports centre. We have had a physio out twice and a massage therapist out every day after sailing. After 3 months of sailing Jen and I are nursing some repetitive strain injuries. Jen's forearms are injured from sheeting the mainsheet while my right shoulder is out of sorts. Adnaan the massage therapist is awesome - he has been working on us both every day. The hard part is that sometimes things have to get worse before they get better. Our bodies have learned to function with our joints locked up and starting to release them is very painful. We are both looking forward to a couple weeks off of sailing to rest and recover.

The forecast for the next two days is for sun and light wind. Tomorrow we begin racing to decide our national champion. Since there are only 5 boats, we have agreed to continue with some training in the mornings and to keep the races short. This way we can get in as much training as possible and benefit from having to excellent coaches available to us.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Halifax Training Day 3

Jen here,

Today we trained in a variety of conditions out in St. Margaret's Bay.  We focused on line ups and communication between crew and skipper, as well as combining kinetics with sheeting in order to balance the rig.  At one point our coach, Dave, hopped into the boat and I took the opportunity in coach boat to drive around and look at each helm's steering and sheeting style.  This served to reiterate my goal of "drive less and sheet more." 
 At one point a squall blew through and so for about twenty minutes or so we had some very nice 15-18 knot breeze and could get the boats into upwind planing mode. After a few days in light air this felt really nice.  After the squall blew through, the wind quickly went soft and eventually we towed in.  I sailed in with Teddy, one of the sailors from Halifax who came to Europe this summer.   He's a talented crew and sailing with someone new always gives me the opportunity to see how someone else interprets things and communicates. 

Tomorrow the breeze is supposed to pick up and we should get some nice planing conditions.  We'll see how Teddy's boat performs in the breeze!


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Halifax Training Day 2

We had a good session today in light to medium winds. Lots of line ups with the other boats and some short and long races. The focus was on kinetics, with Dave demonstrating how to pump from the trapeze in his plaid shirt and foul weather pants. Dave jumped into the boat with me for awhile to try and sort out some sail shape issues (I had accidentally turned the spreaders the wrong way) and to discuss trapezing and communication in the boat. Afterwards we had a good debrief with lots of video and some massage from the sports centre massage therapist. Its great to have so many coaches and resources available to us at this camp! Photos below.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Halifax Training Day 1

Jen here,

Today was the first day of training here in Halifax and the breeze was very very light.  There are five teams participating in the training camp, as well as our coaches Dave and Brian.  We spent yesterday putting the boats together as most of us are borrowing boats for the camp and event.  Today we focused on boat handling and short course work.  It's really nice to be back in a training setting after three months of racing.  We now have the opportunity to work on some of the boat handling issues that have been nagging us throughout the summer. 
Our pointing seems to have improved significantly in the light breeze, and we're working to slow down our maneuvers in order to make them smooth and powerful. 
After training we debriefed and received physiotherapy and massages.  This was definitely a great was to end the day.  Three months of racing has certainly taken its toll on our bodies-there seems to be a bone in the wrong spot in one of my hands and I think that my IT bands are tight enough that you could use them to play the violin. Erin is in a very similar stage as well.

Now we're back at Karen's house. Karen is the crew of the women's team from Halifax and she is hosting the entire Canadian 470 fleet at her place.  The ten of us are enjoying a nice communal living atmosphere with shifts making pasta in the kitchen and our five little 470's all lined up in a row back at St. Margaret's Bay Sailing Club.  This camp may be a far cry from the 200 boats at Worlds or the 90 boats at Europeans, but 470 Canadians will be a good little event.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Back in Canada

Jen here,

We arrived in Halifax last night after 24 hours in transit and it feels great to be back on Canadian soil.  Our coach, Brian Todd, picked us up at the Halifax airport and took us out to his farm to sleep and recoup for a day-which was just what the doctor ordered after a transatlantic flight.  He clearly knows how to deal with travel weary and bedraggled sailors, because he immediately fed us Shreddies and tucked us each into our own room with our own lovely bed and farm quilt.  This morning Brian took me for a walk around his property where there is a beautiful waterfall. Tomorrow we start a training camp with the sailors from Halifax and our coaches Brian and Dave Hughes.  Then we sail the Canadian Nationals before coming home to BC on the 20th.
After being in cities like Istanbul, Den Hague, and Barcelona, it feels a bit funny to be in Canada.  Istanbul and its surrounding area is over two thirds the size of Canada and so this little country of ours seems so empty!  I keep finding a few thoughts running through my head on my first day back home:

1) Where is everyone?
2) Hey cool! I can drink the tap water!
3) Why does that person sound just like me when he speaks?
4) I can't sleep. It's too quiet and there is no drone of traffic to lull me to sleep.
5) The cheese is so expensive here!
6) I bet this water is clean enough sail in without getting an infection. Cool.
7) Maybe without the language barrier people will think I'm funny. Then again, maybe not...
8) What's the exchange rate between CAD and CAD again???
9) Where have the comforting sounds of techno and the comforting smell of sewer gone?
10) I can stop drinking Nescafe and start drinking double doubles!

It's great to be (almost) home! One week of training and the Canadian Champs here and then back to BC.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Sept 7 - Europeans Complete

Well the weather in Istanbul has returned to normal so the 470 event must be over! We had one race yesterday morning which actually got started on schedule. It was about 8-10 knots but really puffy and shifty. With the medal race competitors missing from our fleet there was lots of room on the start line and clean air. Our race had its high points and its low points. We had great upwind speed and point and with clean air managed to play the shifts and round ahead of 4 boats. The reach legs were a bit of an issue with our spinnaker however. It does not fly well on the reach, and took me a long time to set on the first reach. We were passed while trying to get the spin flying and lost our focus for most of the downwind. The second upwind was good and we gained back a boat. We stayed ahead of them but had a rather embarrassing capsize right as we crossed the finish line when we were hit with a big gust! Everyone headed back to shore and started packing up. We packed up "Quatchi" and sent the boat back to Germany where it will spend the winter. It was a bit sad seeing the boat leave as we have finally replaced almost everything on the boat.
Those sailors who did not immediately head home went out for some fun in Kadikoy in the evening. Imagine a quiet Monday evening during Ramadan and then 80 sailors squeezing themselves into one bar to relax after 7 days of racing! This morning we packed up our bags and said goodbye to our garden shed. There was a bit of excitement when I discovered my lifejacket was missing. One of the Turkish 420 sailors had grabbed it by accident and was wearing it on the water. Our friend Shevy managed to get it back for me and we piled into the Istanbul Yacht Club van and were driven to our hostel in Sultanahmed (with much confusion and backing down narrow streets and getting lost). We are staying here for the next few days with a German sailor Morten. We will do a bit of sightseeing and then we fly to Halifax on Friday.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Sunday Sept 5 - Stormy Weather

We were postponed on shore for a few hours this morning as a big storm cell passed through. We hid in the garden shed while it rained. I copied some club music off Tina's computer while Jen tidied and Tina and Sanni re-organized their toolboxes. We were eventually sent out at 3 pm. We geared up in everything we own like in Weymouth (or Holland, or Kiel, it hasn't been a warm summer!) and hit the water. The wind was light but then another cloud passed overhead and the breeze picked up. Jen and I had the usual discussion about which pin setting to be in. We settled on a setting and the boys managed to get a start off without a general. (I shouldn't complain, we are just as bad but we usually are the 3rd start). We had a terrible start and headed out to the left. This was in fact a terrible race. We couldn't point upwind, we couldn't focus and I couldn't get the spinnaker system set up properly on the reach. The breeze was down to about 8-10 knots but huge puffs were rolling down the course and were difficult to see on the water. We re-grouped before the next race, and got some tips from the Danish coach who had followed us for a bit on the second beat. The next race was better. Our start wasn't great but we tacked out into clean air and were able to point. We rounded behind but caught a few boats on the downwind. The second upwind was good, we managed to capitalize on some shifts and pulled off a nice leebow on another boat at the windward mark (I don't think they were pleased, but they tack on us every upwind leg so fair's fair).

Another day done at sundown. Tomorrow is the last day of Europeans. The medal races will take place at 3:00 pm and the final race for everyone else will be at 11:00 am.
More pictures in the Turkey album as well as some pictures of us in the event photo gallery (images 19, 25 and 26 from Day 4.)

Friday and Saturday Racing

Sorry for the lack of updates, we are getting tired as the event goes on and the internet is in and out. Friday we had an 11 am start scheduled but were postponed on shore until 1 while they raced the men's fleets to finish the qualifying series. We sailed 3 races; the first in light wind with big gusts and the next two in heavy wind with big gusts. We had a good day, we managed to not capsize in the heavy wind on the last race and passed two boats who did. The three races put us back on schedule so we had a 1 pm start for Saturday.
Saturday we went out for 1 pm start and drifted around for an hour in no wind. Every one geared down in the heat so imagine 100 boats drifting around in bikinis and speedos (the Italians) with piles of clothing in the bottom of the boats. The race committee finally put up the flag to postpone us back on shore. We managed to get a tow with the speedo wearing Italians; the wind came up while towing in. We only sat on shore long enough to eat some lunch and then headed back out. We had 2 races in light and gusty conditions from the N. We had an amazing start in the first race of the day and were sailing up with the leaders briefly. We struggled with our upwind tactics - the first beat we went left and a huge right shift came in at the top. The next beat the wind had been left for 20 minutes or so, so we headed right at the top but the righty never came in! By the second race of the day we had pretty much lost the ability to focus. The fleet was very tight in this last race, the entire fleet rounded the first downwind mark within 2 minutes of each other. We were with the pack until the end of the second beat when we slipped back. We finished racing in the dark and got a tow in with the Germans.

We have a 1 pm start scheduled for today (Sunday) but a big black rain cloud is threatening so we will see what happens!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Europeans Day 3 - 5 Races Complete

Three days into Europeans we have sailed 5 races. Yesterday morning we woke up when a storm rolled in at about 1 am. The storm continued, bringing clouds and rain and very cold temperatures with it. We launched at noon for a 1 pm start in about 15 knots from the North. The wind increased and it rained while we tuned up. Then it died off. After the usual 45 minute wait while the men's fleets had several general recalls, we got a race started in about 6 knots. It was abandoned on the first downwind after a 60 degree shift came through. We then sat around for a few hours freezing while the wind went from a light and shifty northerly to an even lighter and shiftier southerly. We eventually got in two races. The wind continued to shift left however the race committee didn't seem to be able to move the windward mark as fast as the wind could shift so both races were drag races. We struggled to get off the starting line and there were very few opportunities to catch up with no need to tack more than twice to make the windward mark. We had some excitement in the first race when our centreboard block exploded, sending tiny ball bearings flying all over the boat. We hit the dock as the sun set and raced to get warm and eat some food.

Today the start time was bumped up to 11 am. The forecast for the day was for a light northerly, but when has a forecast been accurate during a championship? We launched in about 8 knots from the south. We tuned up with the Bulgarian girls and got a race started at about 12. We played the shifts upwind and had a very good reach leg. The wind suddenly increased before the second race and kept increasing up to about 20 knots. We pinned down a half pin and checked the settings and then pinned down a half pin and checked the settings... we went down 2.5 pins in 0.5 increments over a period of 20 minutes! We had a good race and were with our "pack" at the back. We passed one Turkish boat when they capsized on the first downwind, a Greek boat when they capsized on the second downwind and another Turkish boat on the second upwind. We were quite pleased and were 100 m from the finish on the bottom reach when the boat suddenly capsized to windward! We are still not sure what happened - Jen said it was like the rudder got ripped out of her hand, so perhaps we snagged a plastic bag or jellyfish or something! When we righted the boat the spinnaker was acting as a sea anchor. We frantically tried to retrieve it but the Turkish boat we had passed upwind sailed across the finish line before we could get going again.

We re-rigged the kite while sailing up to the line for the next race. We had an ok start and a good first upwind. The waves were very large by now, so the downwind was lots of fun surfing. By the second upwind fatigue was starting to set in and we were struggling to maintain height. The Turkish boat behind us managed to hoist their spinnaker a bit faster on the reach. We were neck and neck downwind; but they managed to just squeeze ahead of us on the bottom reach.

Overall it was a good day. We managed to finish all the races in the breeze and to not capsize in the last race, which is a definite improvement on Weymouth and Worlds.

Here are some links for the event: Results     Event News     Event Website     Event Photos

There is live tracking on the website; as well as regular updates on Facebook and twitter.

We have an 11 am start again tomorrow. We are ignoring the forecasts as they are all wrong anyways. Hopefully it will warm up!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Europeans Day 1: Waiting for Wind

Jen here,

Well it seems that we're playing that old cat and mouse game with the wind again: we wait...and it taunts us.  The only difference this time is that it's unbelievably hot here!  It's nearly 3:00pm and we've been postponed since 11:00am.  Our garden shed has proven its worth though today. The air conditioning has given us a place of refuge from the heat. We've been hiding inside with the Germans and Israelis all day!
Yesterday we took the day off before our seven day event.  I went into Istanbul with our Israeli and German friends to see the sights and have a good day away from the boat park.  This all proved to be a bit trickier than we had originally planned, though, due to some sensitive politics.  Remember that political conflict back in June between Turkey and Israel?  Its likely far from our Canadian minds, but things are still a bit tense between Israel and Turkey.  Our Israeli friends, Gil and Dana are required to bring a bodyguard with them when they go out, in order to prevent any problems that might arise due to their backgrounds.  With bodyguard in tow, we set off to Sulthanamet, only again, things became slightly more complicated.  Before we knew it, we were being escorted by four additional Turkish police!  Here we were, a gaggle of six girls with five bodyguards.

Left to Right: Dana, Leon (bodyguard), Gil, Tina, Jen

Basilica Cistern
The trip into town was a great break from training, measuring, fixing, and all the general preparation for the event.  I think the highlight for me was seeing the Basilica Cistern, a Roman water system that was built in 532AD.  As I walked down the stairs to the underground building, I received the most welcome reprieve from the late afternoon Turkish heat.  Then I turned a corner to see damp, ancient Roman pillars supporting a massive underground structure which is meant for supplying water to the ancient Constantinople.  When I think of how young our country is and compare it to something like the Basilica, it makes me realize how very small we are and how much history there is in this part of the world. I've attached some photos from our day in the city as well as two photos that will interest the more sailing savvy of our supporters.  The 470 class association is considering moving to tape drive sails, and there is a set of North Sails here on display for demonstration.  Their not yet legal, but we may see them in the relatively near future.  Check out the picks of these new sails.  What do you think??


New Demo Sails

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Aug 29 - Measurement

We had two good training sessions on the water Friday. We sailed for 2 hours in the morning, came in for lunch and then hit the water again for another 3 hours. We are focusing on boathandling - tacking and gybing and communication in the boat and getting used to the sailing area. The prevailing wind here is a northerly which is thermal - driven by the Black Sea. The wind comes over the city of Istanbul and then down onto the water so it is very gusty and shifty. There are some interesting trends on the water - two areas where the gusts tend to fill in from; one on the left of the race area and one on the right. In the middle there is sort of a hole. It will be interesting conditions to race in.
Yesterday we spent the morning changing the sail numbers on our new mailsail. It is new but was originally ordered for an Australian team, so we first had to strip off the AUS letters and numbers and remove the glue and then put on our CAN 610 numbers. We lay the sail out in what appears to be a dis-used bar in the upper clubhouse. Removing the glue proved to be incredibly time consuming but we managed it nonetheless. Then we had to make a rhombus - fancy word for diamond. This is to distinguish the women's 470 class from the men. We had forgotten to buy material for a rhombus, but managed to use some of the AUS sail numbers we had peeled off. Why do I tell you all this? I find the 470 fleet highly amusing. Impossible tasks become possible, and hours dissapear while working on the most mundane things. While we were working on our mainsail the rest of the fleet did similiar things. A Greek women's team was just in the hallway putting their sail numbers on their spinnaker with a permanent marker and the Bulgarian women were downstairs using whiteout to change their sail numbers. Finally we finished and there was no wind. We registered for the regatta and then walked down to West Marine. Yes, West Marine. There is a small store in the nearby marina. The man working here is extremely nice. He didn't have a chart of the sailing area so he is going to lend me the one off his boat! We forgot our West Marine member card so he let us leave without paying. He also invited us to go racing with him on his keelboat. Then we did some boatwork and managed to sneak into the pool for a swim and then went for dinner with Tina and Sanni. We played scrabble at the dinner table: crews vs. helms using English and German words. This was difficult, as the Turkish scrabble board has many strange letters!
Today we put on our new sails and went for a short sail in 4-6 knots. It is the first new mainsail I've ever used and it is lovely. We managed not to tear the new kite (if its going to rip, its always on the first hoist) and did some roll tacks and gybes. We came in to prepare the boat for measurement. We were a bit nervous as we are using a new boom, mast, rudder head, a different rudder and different sails from Worlds. And of course we got picked for full measurement, again! Alas, even with all of our preparation it did not go very smoothly! We had dried out the boat completely but the measurer managed to find some water inside, and the mast was underweight by 130 grams! (the mast must be a minimum of 10kg). After checking the class rules and making some adjustments we finally managed to get it up to weight (10.004kg). Thankfully our mast and boom stoppers were correctly placed!
It was a long afternoon in the 35 degree heat and we are tired now. Tomorrow is a day off before the event starts on Tuesday. We are heading into Sultanahmed with the German and Isreali sailors but also have to do a bit of boatwork in the morning (of course).

Friday, August 27, 2010

Pictures fromTurkey

I will keep adding to this album so check back!


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Aug 26 - In Turkey

We flew from Kiel to Istanbul on Monday. The transport to the airport and the flight were excellent - German efficiency at its best. Upon arrival in Istanbul we were to be picked up by someone from the Yacht Club. Unfortunately after an hour of waiting we did not find this person, so we took a shuttle bus to the ferry, where we had difficulties figuring out the token purchasing system. Once across the Bosporus we were ripped off by our taxi driver. So we arrived a bit tired and cross at the Yacht Club. It turns out the individual we have been dealing with through email about arranging our accommodation at the Yacht Club no longer works here. Awkward! So there were some things lost in communication and we had a place to stay - just not a very nice one. Our room resembles a garden shed with bunk beds shoved in. There is air-conditioning and bedding and pillows and one electrical outlet, for all of this we are glad. The nearest toilet is 800 meters away in behind the boat storage area - a bit of a trek if you have to go at 3 am.

Tuesday we headed into Sultanahmed and walked around. We walked through the spice bazaar and Grand Bazaar and haggled over scarves. We tried to find a restaurant with Fish for Jen for lunch. She thought she was ordering a "small fish meal" with the small describing the size of the meal. Turns out it was describing the fish - lots and lots of small fish deep fried! So we had an interesting lunch what with the owner trying to show Jen how to eat the fish properly and Jen trying not to throw up as she ate the fish. Then we went to the Turkish Bath where we were scrubbed and massaged which was excellent.
Wednesday we hung around the club until our boat arrived at around 2. We unloaded it and started putting it together and I had a rather dis-organized dinner at the club. With German and Israeli and Canadian sailors and the waiters not speaking any English (or German or Hebrew).
Today we finished rigging the boat and headed on the water. We had a good session in some light to medium breeze. The air and water are both very warm here; which makes the wind very unstable as it doesn't want to attach to the water. Very different from sailing in England or Germany. We came back in and checked the tuning numbers as this was the first sail with the new mast. Everything has to stretch and settle into place, so we expected the numbers to be different. (
Before sailing: tension - 35.5, rake - 101 cm, prebend - 55 mm  After sailing: tension - 34, rake - 102 cm, prebend - 45 mm)
We re-tuned the mast and did a bit of boat work and socialized with other sailors in the boat park. One of the younger turkish teams who Jen befriended last year were trying to tie an extra bit of line onto their spinnaker halyard, so I helped them splice it properly while Jen advised on gasket replacement.
We met our German friends Sanni and Tina for dinner at the same place Jen and I ate last night. The waiter seems to like us as he brought us some lovely fresh fruit for dessert free of charge.
I have taken some photos and tried to upload them to the picassa web albums but Turkey seems to block most google products so they may not have appeared. If you are on facebook I have also uploaded them to our facebook page "". I will try and get a link to the facebook photo album up soon.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Aug 22 - Headed to Turkey!

We have been in Kiel Germany for the past week taking it easy. We had planned to train here but our bodies have been telling us to rest and the weather has been terrible. We have slept in a good deal, done some minor boat work and tuned in our new masts, as well as make friends with many German sailors. We bought new masts while in Weymouth because it is 1/3 the price to purchase masts in England than in Canada. The idea is we have two new masts from the same batch that are both rigged identically. This way if we break a mast we have a spare ready to go. The masts that came with the boat will travel to Miami in the British container and will replace some aging masts on our North American boat. The crazy 470 logistics continue!

Today we loaded our boat back on Jasper's van to be driven to Istanbul, Turkey for our last event over here. It is the 470 European Championships and we are looking forward to some warmth! We fly to Istanbul tomorrow morning so we will have two days without the boat to get used to the heat and get acquainted with our surroundings.

Thanks so much to Susann Beucke and her lovely family for hosting us while in Kiel!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Aug 14 - Sail For Gold Complete

After 5 days of racing the Skandia Sail for Gold regatta in Weymouth is complete. We had two races each day and stayed mostly on schedule which is pretty amazing considering some of the other courses struggled with this. Thursday the breeze was very similar to Wednesday but from the NE, which meant it was coming over the cliff beside our race course. This made for some interesting puffy and shifty conditions! We continued to struggle with our starts and pointing but had good downwind speed and made some good tactical decisions. In the first race of the day we ended up on the left side of the course when a big right shift came down, but we managed to consolidate back towards the middle on some smaller shifts. We caught up and managed to pass the Polish boat and sailed a smart downwind to finished ahead.
Friday the breeze was even lighter and more fluky with huge shifts coming down the course. The first race we were set up all nicely on the starting line and at 15 seconds the Spanish women (who were leading the regatta) stole our hole and we were sewered off the line. The breeze was in a right phase at the start so the fleet headed off on starboard tack. We sailed and sailed and instead of shifting back left after 5 minutes like the wind had been doing for the hour before the start, it just stayed right. So we were caught out on the left side but we weren't alone; the world champions and half the fleet were out there too! The second race of the day and the last day of the regatta took a while to get off, as the breeze was all over the place. After several postponements and general recalls we actually managed to get a good start! We were with the fleet and had clean air.  We played the shifts upwind and rounded ahead of a dozen boats or so. A large black cloud had moved overhead and we were treated to a small squall that lasted for the next two legs of the course. The breeze then completely shut off after the squall, and the reach was a painfully slow run. We remained calm and sailed for pressure and finished ahead of three boats. The finish was a mess as the entire fleet had compressed on the reach/run and there was a lot of shouting ahead of us! We were very pleased with the day's sailing and it was a good end to the event. 
Today we packed up the boat for transport. It is being driven to Istanbul by one of the German teams, by way of Kiel. The fun regatta (President's Cup) we were going to do in Istanbul has had the dates changed, so we are no longer able to participate. Instead of heading straight to Istanbul we are going back to Kiel to train for a week before heading to Turkey for 470 Europeans.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Aug 11 - Day 2 & 3

We had two races yesterday and another two today. While I greatly dislike getting up at 6 am at least we are getting races done on schedule! Yesterday the first race was sailed in around 8 knots. We struggled on the first upwind with boatspeed, and managed to make some changes and the boat felt much faster on the second upwind, but not fast enough to catch up! The wind blew up right after the first race to about 20-25 knots gusting 30. We pinned down 3 full pins and tried our best, but ultimatly were still unabe to complete the race in this much wind. We made it much farther around the course than we did in Holland in this much wind, but after several capsizes we were very far behind and we lost the power batten in the mainsail. After staying late at the boat park to help our fellow Canadians, Jono and Teddy, repair their kite, we huddled in a warm English pub and ate hot stews for dinner.

Later in the evening I started experiencing a lot of pain in my right foot which took several hours to subside. This morning I saw the onsite medic who managed to get me into the physio who works onsite. She diagnosed it as a sprained ligament in my foot. CYA coach Brian Todd taped me up and we headed on the water. We had a good day of sailing overall. The first race was in 8 knots and although we did not have a great start, our speed upwind was better then yesterday in these conditions. We managed to stay ahead of another boat the whole way around the course which was uplifting. The breeze steadily picked up as we had one general recalled start after another. We finally got the second race started at around 2. We are still struggling with our starts (athough getting lots of practise) but had decent speed upwind on the first leg. On the downwind we were fast on port gybe but couldn't seem to get starboard gybe dialed in. The second upwind we couldn't seem to find the groove, and athough we were on top of the wind shifts we couldn't point so weren't able to capitalize on them. We finished just behind the British team we had beaten in the first race of the day.

There are two more days of racing left with 2 races scheduled per day. My foot was fine racing today so it should be alright to get through the rest of the regatta. We are still struggling with our starts and at the back of the pack but we are steadily improving in all areas as we gain experience in the boat and the fleet.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Aug 9 - Day 1 Sail for Gold

We had a bit of a slow start to the regatta today. We got up at 6 and were down to the sailing site for 8. We launched just after 9 am and sailed downwind to the course. The breeze was pretty light but picked up as we got down towards our course. We tuned up the boat but didn't manage to find Teddy and Jono to check our speed with them. The race committee started on schedule at 11 with the men's fleet. After several general recalls for all the fleets we finally started at around noon. Our first start was a general recall and then the black flag went up. We thought we had set up far enough back on the second start but at 20 seconds we realized we were too far up and tried to slow down and slide back in line with the other boats. We didn't quite make it, so at go not only were we pretty sure we were black flagged, but we were going backwards. We tacked out for clear air and got lucky as a right shift came down. The breeze had died off since before the start and we were underpowered. We had good downwind speed but upwind we just couldn't get going fast enough to make up for our start. We changed the boat settings and then ate our sandwiches while trapezing/hiking and headed to the line for the second race. We checked the board on the Race Comittee and confirmed that we were black flagged in the first race!

The second race was similar to the first. We set up far enough back on the line but did not have a great start. We went too far right on the first upwind and got caught out on the layline when a left shift came down. We made up some ground downwind but the second upwind was painful. The breeze was up and down - gusts every 5-7 seconds with about 3 knots more velocity and a 10 degree shift. It was incredibly tricky and frustrating to keep the boat consistently flat and going fast with the wind changing every 5 seconds! At least we weren't black flagged!

CYA coach Brian Todd had watched the second race and had some good pointers for us for tomorrow. Hopefully we will remember how to get off the starting line!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Aug 8 - Training in Weymouth

Jen here,

We've just wrapped up a week of training here in Weymouth and it's been a productive and positive week.  To start off, we had our new rudder head installed, received a new shipment of masts, booms, and spinnaker poles, and got to focus on sailing rather than boat work (well, once the rudder head was on at any rate).  We've been training with the boys' team from Halifax, Teddy and Jono.  Each day we launch together and work to tune up on long upwind legs. Then we sail together for the duration of our practices doing long runs, beats, and working on our tacks and gybes.  The practice races here seem to be closed, so our focus has shifted back to the basics: boat handling and speed.  Teddy and Jono have turned out to be great training partners, and so were the Canadian girls, Karen and Dana.  Unfortunately the girls went back to Canada so there are only the two teams here in Weymouth.                              

The rest of the Canadian Sailing Team is here as well.  We've caught up with a number of our Canadian pals and swapped stories of our respective venues such as Poland, Medemblik, and others. The consistent comment we keep hearing is "I hear it was nuking windy in Holland!"  Actually, the funniest thing about arriving in Weymouth was the day we had our rudder head installed.  We parked our boat at Sam's shop and when we arrived back, a good chunk of the 470 fleet was also parked outside his shop.  There were eight other 470's flipped over, still with their bow stickers on from Worlds, waiting to be repaired by Sam and his team.  He shook his head at us, "You lot could pay my annual salary with all your repair work!"  We wouldn't mind at all if Sam just followed the 470 fleet around and fixed our boats on a regular basis. 

Yesterday we also had the opportunity to meet Erik Stibbe.  Erik is a newly appointed Canadian coach who will be working out of Vancouver. Although he's here coaching the Lasers and Radials, he made some time to come and work with us on the water.   He was thorough.  After only about twenty minutes of working with us on the water, Erik took us through a debrief which lasted for about two hours!  Both he and his wife, Jenny, have lots of experience with 470's, and so we look forward to working with them as much as possible back in Canada.  

Racing starts tomorrow, so we'll be sure to keep you updated on how things are going.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

New Rudder Head

Jen here,

Well, after all of the hullabaloo with shearing our rudder head at Worlds, repeated attempts at fixing, and then ordering a new one all the way from New Zealand, we finally have a functioning rudder head! Today was a great day in that regard. We arrived down to the sailing site where Sam had the boat ready to go. We stepped the mast, tuned the rig and went for a glorious sail. Well, it's not that easy-as I'm sure you've all figured out, the 470 never is. In truth, as we tuned the boat and tapped new holes in our jib cars it poured rain. We were an intrepid team, however, and managed to get our day's boat work accomplished in time to see the sun return and go for a quick sail. It really is a good thing that the sun finally came back. I spent the whole deluge whining about being cold and threatening to go back to Spain so that I could sun myself on a rock like a Spanish lizard. Erin just laughed at me and told me to rig the spinnaker system.

We went for a quick sail around four o'clock because we were dying to get out on the water and try out our new rudder head. So far things seem excellent. The system works very well and there is zero play in the rudder head (for non sailors, picture driving a race care with a loose steering wheel and you would get an idea of what a problem that is). It was quite breezy while we were out, roughly 20 knots, but flat water and the boat felt good.

Tomorrow we head out to train with Teddy and Jono, the Canadian boys from Halifax, and hopefully some of our other pals from the fleet. As we speak, Erin is baking fresh chocolate chip cookies for Sam, as our thanks for the help with installing our new rudder head. Yum!


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Aug 3rd - Boatwork in Weymouth

We arrived in Portland/Weymouth late the evening of the 1st. We are staying at the Pascoe's house. Sam is a boat builder and works out of a shop at the Weymouth Portland Sailing Academy. Meg is a 2.4 M sailor campaigning for 2012. Brenda Hopkin our fellow Canadian and Skud 18 sailor is also staying at the house. The house is in Portland and is about a 20 minute walk down the hill to the sailing centre. The sailing centre is just off the causeway which divides Weymouth (mainland) and Portland (the island).

Yesterday we found our boat which Barry had dropped at the sailing site for us last week. We took possession of our brand new Mackay rudder head which had been delivered to the sailing site and walked around the site and said hello to friends. We started putting the boat back together and got the mast up as well as the old gudgeons for the broken rudder head off the boat. Then we headed into town with Meg and Brenda to shop for groceries and pick up some replacement tools for the ones which were stolen in Holland (all of our cutting implements, strangely).

Today our game plan was to fill the holes from the old gudgeons and hang the new gudgeons. We started sourcing fibreglass material for this project but soon decided it was best left to the professionals! Sam offered to do all the work for a very reasonable rate and to have the boat ready to go for tomorrow morning. As he has the shop and tools to do the job properly, we felt this was an excellent idea. We caught the bus into town with Brenda to visit the Chandlery and pick up a few other items we hadn't had time to get yesterday. So we should be on the water tomorrow with a brand new rudder head/tiller.

Aug 2nd - Erin's Vacation

So I thought I would share a bit about the past two weeks. From Holland Jen and I flew to Ibiza to stay with my friend Gisella. Gisella and I went to UVic together but she grew up in Ibiza, so was home for a few weeks. We spent 4 lovely days lying on the beach and swimming in the ocean and getting into vacation mode Spanish style. After the first day in Spain I took off my watch and tried to just go with things. In Spain breakfast is whenever you get up (not early when on vacation!) Lunch is at around 3, then siesta for 3 or 4 hours. Dinner could start anywhere between 8 and midnight depending on how hot it was that day. It was great to just relax and not worry about the boat or being anywhere on time.

From here Jen and I split up. I headed to Dublin, where I have several friends and a relative. I stayed with my dear friend Kate who I met when she was working in Canada teaching sailing for the summer. Kate just completed medical school in April and has just started working as an intern; as have her four female housemates! In Dublin I also saw my cousin and his wife and family; another Irish friend who worked in Canada for the summer; and my friend Dana who I grew up sailing with in Calgary and who has been studying marine biology in Dublin for the past 5 years. It was awesome to catch up with some old friends and hang out in Dublin a city which I love. I went for a run in Phoenix park which is one of the largest walled city parks in Europe (thank you wikipedia) and contains a huge variety of things including the President of Ireland's house, the zoo, a 30 m cross, an abandoned fort and a herd of wild Fallow deer. Kate and I also saw the Museum of Modern Art which is in an old Veteran's Hospital and the National Botanical Gardens.



Monday, August 2, 2010

Arrived in Weymouth

After a long day of travelling both Jen and I arrived in Weymouth last night. We are headed out to find the boat (it was delivered here last week) and start to set it up. We will try and get some more information about our travels up later today.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

July 20 - Post Worlds Update

After 15 days of training and 7 days of racing our first 470 World Championships is complete. It was a long and exhausting regatta and Jen and I had hoped our results would be better. However, we have learned a ton of things we would not otherwise have learned. The 470 fleet is one of the toughest fleets in the world; with the top sailors competing full time. The World Champions in both the men's and women's class have both been competing in the 470 for 12+ years. While Jen and I are both experienced sailors and mature and intelligent individuals, we were probably the youngest team at the event in terms of our sailing partnership. This became apparent in the strong winds, as a small mistake by one of us was not instantly compensated for by the other - a necessary skill to prevent crashing! This will come with time and practice. Our starts and upwinds have improved immensely. We can now get off the line and round the top mark in the midst of the fleet. The next stage is to work on our downwind speed and our maneuvers and get as much practice as possible in strong winds and large waves.

Our next event is Sail For Gold in Weymouth, UK. The event is from the 9-14th of August. We will arrive in Weymouth and begin training on the 1st of August with our training partners Teddy and Jono from Nova Scotia. It is cheaper for us to stay in Europe rather than return to Canada so for the next 1.5 weeks Jen and I are going on separate holidays to re-cooperate and have some time apart.
We would like to thank everyone at home for their support and encouragement. Please feel free to email us as we love hearing the latest news from Canada. We will continue to keep the blog updated over the next few weeks but not as frequently as we have been.

You can check out the results and photos from Worlds at the event website.
photos by Thom Touw taken from

Saturday, July 17, 2010

July 18 - Last Day

Yesterday 3 races were sailed in 25-30 knots with 2.5 m waves. We started the first race and were doing alright until we capsized with the spinnaker up on the first downwind. We had some issues getting the boat up and could not complete the first race in time. We ducked back into the Harbour and de-powered the boat and headed back out for the second race. On the way back to the race course while trapezing I was swept off the boat by a large wave and slammed back into the side of the boat, causing us to capsize. This was extremely painful and strained my lower back which has been previously injured. As a result I was unable to continue sailing and we headed in so I could go home and ice and rest everything.

Today there is one last race for all the competitors in the morning and then the top 10 boats take part in the medal races this afternoon. These can be viewed live on the website at or in the box below if you download the silverlight player. The men's medal race is at 2 pm and the women's at 3 pm local time in Holland.

Friday, July 16, 2010

July 16 - Still Windy

Just a quick note to update everyone. We launched last night just after 6 and had one race in dying breeze. It was painfully slow as the boat was still set up for tons of wind but by the second upwind leg the wind had died off to 8 knots and the current was still ripping. They tried to start a 2nd race but the current and huge waves were such that the boats couldn't make headway. We got back to the beach at 9.30 and by the time we rinsed the boat (200 boats and 2 hoses) and de-rigged it was 10.30.

This morning we launched on time for an 11 am start but the breeze is cranking again and our repaired tiller promptly bent and nearly snapped off. We are back on shore waiting for the local machinist to bend a new tiller for us. We hope to get back on the water for the third race today but at this point it is not looking good.

We are pretty exhausted but in okay spirits. When the boat is not coming apart at the seams and we get to sail we have fun and learn lots. We would just like to be out there sailing! Check out the awesome photos from yesterday morning on the website

Thursday, July 15, 2010

July 15 - Too Much Wind!

We just can't seem to win here in Scheveningen. The system came through last night and lasted all night and is still here! It is very windy. I'm not sure how windy, but the 470 class likes to pride itself on racing in 30+ knots so it must be more than that. We were supposed to start at 10 this morning. They postponed until 11 and then we went out. We had the boat pinned down two and a half full pins (something we've never done before) and everything was good to go. We got just outside the Harbour and headed downwind towards our course when a gust hit the boat. I looked back as the boat started to wipe out and Jen was no longer with me! She was in the water already, holding the tiller which had broken off in her hand. We got a tow in from one of the rescue boats and by the time we were back in our spot the rest of the boats were headed back to shore. We are now postponed on shore again. I did some running around to the hardware store and a machinist and managed to source some aluminum to fit an insert into the tiller and after some hacksawing and rivet-ing we are good to go sailing again! Hopefully the breeze drops off and we can get some races off. We need two more races to complete the seeding round. More later.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

July 14 - Two races in 15 knots

We launched before 10 this morning and headed out to the course. The wind was from the SE which is a direction we haven't seen before. It was about 10-12 knots when we launched and picked up to around 15 before the race started. We tuned up with Dana and Karen and the Race Committee started on time at 11. The first race we had a really good start and an awesome first upwind. Our game plan as per Dave was to "start near the middle and tack as little as possible" which is exactly what we did. There was more wind closer to shore so the entire fleet was hitting the left side. We rounded mid-fleet and headed downwind. While our upwinds have improved greatly; our downwinds leave a bit to be desired. We struggled to get in sync with the waves and the ridiculously strong current and fell back in the fleet. The second race we thought we had a clean start but after looking at the results apparently we were over early! Our upwind wasn't as good as in the first race we got a bit out of phase with the shifts. We continued to work on our downwind speed but something about the boat set up felt wrong. After the race we headed in as a huge storm with winds up to 100 km/hr was predicted. The plan was to wait out the storm and then head back on the water for a 6.30 start; but like the last time we postponed for a storm it took its time arriving. We checked the tuning on the boat and discovered the pre-bend on the mast was out by 10 mm; this along with a few other adjustments explained the weird mast set up. We de-briefed with Dave and sat around waiting for the storm. It finally arrived at 5, which is when we would have had to start rigging again for the 6.30 start. They cancelled racing for the day and changed the start time for tomorrow to 10 AM. This means we need to launch at 8.45; which means we will have to get up around 6; so we are going to bed early tonight!

You can read the official 470 Worlds reports here.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

July 13 - 2 Races Complete!

We headed back on the water this afternoon for a 3 pm start (and I had just found a good place to nap). There was about 6 knots of wind from the North and the current was still ebbing. The yellow fleet's first start was a general recall; the second was postponed as a 20 degree right shift came down the course. At about 3.30 they started and we were next. The flood tide was just starting but it came in quickly! Between the yellow fleet's start and ours we watched the race committee boat rotate 180 degrees on its anchor. Our first start wasn't spectacular, we under-estimated the strength of the current and didn't accelerate soon enough. We tacked out and tried to tack back in front of another boat and ended up fouling them, so took some penalty turns and continued upwind. Because we had tacked out for clear air, we ended up on the right hand side of the course even though we knew we needed to go left. However, we worked with what we had. We had fairly good speed and managed to catch back up to the fleet and rounded ahead of one boat. The rest of the race we just worked hard to stay ahead of them and tried to catch up to the boats in front of us.
The second race we actually got a decent start and had a lane until a boat tacked directly in front of us. We tacked out but remembered to get back to the left this time! The tide was now in full flood and the game was all about sailing as fast as possible into the current. The downwind legs we sailed on a reach the entire time and the upwind legs we sailed on starboard tack almost the entire time. We were ahead of several boats until a poor leeward mark rounding on the last downwind allowed two boats to get inside us. The wind had shifted farther right and we struggled to keep the spinnaker filled. The two boats inside of us made the correct call to drop their spinnakers and got us just at the line!
The third race we had a good start, held our lane and went fast on starboard tack all the way to the windward mark. We were up in the mix with the rest of the fleet! This was amazing but also stressful - we aren't used to coming back into the windward mark on the port layline and dodging boats in 5 knots of current and 5 knots of wind! We took a few sterns and tacked late but got around the mark cleanly. The downwind was good and we came into the leeward mark still surrounded by boats. Needless to say with little practise in this kind of traffic we were slowly slipping backwards in the fleet. By the reach leg the wind had almost completely died off. By now it was 7 pm and the light was fading behind a giant black cloud moving in. With the wind dying off and shifting radically, the race committee abandoned the third race and we headed home.
It was a very long day of sailing - but a really good learning day. We can now get off the start line and point upwind which is a huge improvement over Miami OCR's. There are many other boats in the fleet around the same speed as us so we are confident we will be able to improve on today's results.
Scoring explanation - the first part of this regatta is the seeding round. The fleet is split into two fleets (yellow and blue) every day based on the results of the previous day so that the fleets are relatively equal (the first day it is done based on World Cup rankings). The two fleets sail separately but are scored together. After 6 races the results determine who will race in the Gold Fleet and the Silver Fleet. The same thing occurs in the Men's division, except with more boats they are split into three fleets. For the seeding round the women and men sail on separate courses - one to the South of the shipping channel, and one to the North. After the split into Gold/Silver, the Gold Fleets will race on the same course (whichever one the RC decides has better wind) and the Silver fleets will sail on the other course.

Turn down-time into play-time with Messenger games Play Now!

July 13 - Still No Wind

So it is mid-day on Tuesday, and we still haven't had any races. They pushed the start time up to 11 am for today so we got up at 6.30 and were at the boat park before 8 to move our boat onto the slipway. They launched the men first, and then us at around 10 am. We managed to get a tow out to the race course with one of the American coaches, as Dave was going to spend today on the men's course. So we towed out in absolutely no wind, untied and promptly started drifting towards Rotterdam in 4 knots of ebb tide. After over an hour of attempting to sail to stay in one place (it didn't work) the race committee finally sent us in to wait on shore. We are now postponed until 3 pm.

However, there are lots of other Canadians who are getting racing off.

From our home club of Royal Vic we have:

Jess Round and Erin Berry in the 29er at Youth Worlds in Istanbul;
Brenda Hopkin and John McRoberts at the IFDS Worlds in Medemblik

From our neighbours at Royal Van we have:
Alex Heinzman in the Laser at the Youth Worlds;
Isabella Bertold at the Laser Radial Worlds in Scotland;
Nikola Girke at the RSX Europeans in Poland;
Hunter Lowden (and skipper Gordon Cook) at the 49er Europeans in Poland
and lots of others who I have missed!

Monday, July 12, 2010

July 12 - End of Day 1

After being postponed on shore for 3 hours, the Race Committee sent us out for a 4 pm start. The slipway (that's ramp to us North Americans) was PACKED with boats but we had moved our boat onto the ramp at 9 am so we were at the front of the queue. There was a bit of wind when we launched and for the next 15 minutes, and then it totally shut off. With 4 - 5 knots of current all the coach boats had to drive forwards in order to keep us beside the Race Committee. We sat around in no wind and laughed witht our coach Dave, who was wearing our Canada flag and practicing using "eh" correctly in a sentence. This was nice, but the rather ominous black clouds to the SW were getting closer. The Race Committee finally cancelled the racing for the day at around 4.30; and the cloud was close! We towed back in at high speed and managed to get our boat up and almost into its spot when the squall hit. 30 knots of wind and torrential rain for about 10 minutes. We were very lucky that we had gotten in so quickly - many teams were still on the slipway with their new sails being flogged, and several boats were capsized in the entrance of the harbour and had to be rescued. A Greek team broke their mast as the boat capsized right as they entered the harbour under tow; with no mainsail up the boat turtled and the mast struck the bottom. Hopefully they will be able to get their equipment replaced for tomorrow. The start time has been moved an hour earlier for tomorrow and hopefully we will get in some racing.

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July 12 - 470 Worlds Day 1

Jen here,

It's day 1 of the 470 World Championships and our start was scheduled for 20 minutes from now.  However, there is a very large low front hanging out off of Belgium which has threatened us with up to fourty knots of breeze.  We're postponed on shore for the next four hours and so I'm up in the regatta office as I write this post.  So far there is no wind, but there is the type of rain that you usually find in Vancouver in February. Yuck!  All boat covers are on, though, and boats have been tied to the trailers in case this thunderstorm shows up.

Yesterday was the practice race and then there were opening ceremonies.  The practice race was held in very light conditions; so light, in fact, that it was difficult to tell if we were making any headway through the current on the course.  We're doing much better now in terms of pointing (just make the boat feel terrible!) and now working on the next step of switching gears between different trimming techniques for different conditions.

After the practice race, we all headed back in and fortuntaly today there was a regatta official guarding the entrance to the harbour from the bands of sailing hooligans.  I was pretty relieved to see that boat guarding things for us as the previous day, one kid actually tried to grab onto the side of our boat to climb in and I had to fend him off with the tiller.  Then of course I felt bad, probably because this is what we do as Canadians!  The boat ramp, though, was absolute chaos. There were over 200 470's waiting for two tiny little freshwater hoses to rinse the boats. Then, as you pulled your boat up the ramp, you had to thread your way through a concert band which had been strategically place at the very top of the ramp to play music for us as we came in.  Lovely gesture and the music was pretty fun, but it was hilarious trying to watch the trombonist play while having the back of his horn clipped by passing shrouds and forestays.  We took in the opening ceremonies and then watched the fantastic Spain/Netherlands World Cup Final.  As dissapointed as I was about Holland not taking the Cup, I was relieved that it was (relatively) quiet after the game and we could get a good night's sleep.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 10 - Measurement Day

We have had a couple of very long days as we prepare for Worlds. Yesterday we did some more boat work and headed on the water. It was very warm and there was almost no wind. We tuned up with the other boats and consistently could not get the boat going as fast or high as our training partners. Karen and Dana and Jono and Teddy had brand new sails up, so that was part of it, but there were some other things going on. Our coach Dave hopped in and out of all of our boats so he could check the sail settings and talk us through how the top guys sail the boat. This was amazing, but also more than a little intimidating. It was great to learn how focused and how hard the top guys are working the boat, but also a bit of a wake up call-as we have so far to go! Once off the water we re-tuned the boat and re-spliced some lines.

Today was another long day, but a good one. We got on the water just after 11 and tuned up with the other Canadians. We had a minor breakthrough, in that we learned how to go point upwind! The thing about the 470 (apparently) is the boat just feels terrible when you sail upwind (I don't have the tiller, so I don't feel this). Jen has always tried to make the boat feel fast and powered up - which it does, just not when you are close hauled. So once we had this explained to us we were able to make the boat point - its easy, just make it feel really really crummy, and you're on the right track.

We headed in just before 2 as our measurement time was at 4 pm. Dave towed us all into the harbour, where we were sort of attacked by hooligans! A group of young men were diving off the sea wall and swimming across the channel and shouting and attempting to grab onto our boats. Yesterday they were just on the sea wall, spitting and shouting at us. One grabbed onto the boat and Jen hit him with the tiller to get him off! They were doing this to all the boats entering the harbour; they grabbed onto one boat's rudder and messed up the transom of the boat. We aren't really sure why or what their intentions are, but definitely not positive.

Once in we prepared the boat for measurement. This is when the measurers check everyone's equipment to make sure it fits the class rules. In case you are just tuning in, the 470 is just a bit complicated, so there are lots of things to check. The majority of boats only get a few main items checked while the top ranked sailors and some randomly selected individuals get "full measurement". Guess what? We got tapped for full measurement! The boat must be presented fully dry with the mast down and everything you use sailing must be present (tow line, compass, all foils, spars, sails and lines). They check everything to make sure it is the right size, they weigh the mast alone and then the entire boat. Our mast came in 60 grams underweight; so we had to add some blocks and shackles to it to bring it up to weight. Our boat came in 1.5 kg overweight, which is pretty normal for a boat of this age. They don't care if things are overweight, just if they are underweight. Then you put the mast back up and they check to make sure you cannot raise your sail above a set distance. Overall it was a positive experience, we only had to make a few minor adjustments and it is always good to learn more about what they are looking for.

Tomorrow we are aiming for a shorter day as it is the last day before the event begins! We are going to sand our centreboard a bit and then head on the water for the practice race. The weather has been very warm with little wind but as I write this we are in the middle of a thunderstorm with lightning and pouring rain and the TV just went out, so we will see what the weather is like tomorrow. More photos in the album.
From Den Haag, NED

From Den Haag, NED

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Coach is in the House

Jen here,

Our coach, Dave Hughes, arrived yesterday evening and so we've been busy getting the coach boat and his logistics sorted.  Today we and the three other teams that we're working with for the worlds spent the day re-tuning our rigs and doing more general boat work.  Fortunately, Dave was able to guide us through some of the remaining rigging problems that we've been experiencing with our boat and so we're keen to get back on the water tomorrow morning with our boat in better shape.
We've got a four boat training group for this regatta. There are two Canadian teams from Halifax- Teddy and Jono in the men's fleet and Dana and Karen in the women's.  We're also working with Barry and his crew, Thomas, who we bought our boat from. While we've been in Den Hague for nearly two weeks now, the other teams have just arrived and so it's nice to have our group together for the event, as well as our coach!
Tomorrow the measurement process begins and competitors start getting their equipment checked for the event.  While some sports grapple with doping issues, the main issue in sailing is whether or not your equipment is legal.  Boats are weighed to ensure that they're not too light, sails are checked for measurement stamps, rudders, centreboards, masts, and booms are all measured for length and angles and to make sure that sails can't be pulled up too high or to far out on the outhaul.  This is all something that we don't really deal with in Canada, especially with strict one design boats like lasers or 29ers.  It will be very impressive seeing all these boats go through measurement...especially now that there are 210 teams registered for the Worlds.  Every day new teams are showing up and setting up their boats.  The jam packed boat park just keeps getting more and more tightly packed.  To make matters more interesting, the harbour master has scheduled all of the bricks that pave our road to be re-laid.  This is absolutely hilarious as every few minutes a large tractor rolls down the thoroughfare amongst all of the 470's and nearly clips off a boat's rudder.  You see a spandex clad sailor running to create a human shield from the tractor in order protect his or her beloved rudder while trying to finish applying sunscreen to his face.


Monday, July 5, 2010

July 5th - Back on the Water

We had a good weekend off of sailing and returned to the water today. Saturday Jen and I met up with Remco, a local who was interested in hanging out with us and showing us around. We met beside the Parliament buildings, and while locking up her bike Jen knocked her pannier into the canal and had to do a bit of wading/climbing to retrieve it, so we made quite a first impression on Remco. We went to the Mauritshuis; a museum of 15 and 16th century Dutch artists including Vermeer and Rembrandt as well as the Escher museum which is inside a former Queen's Palace. When we left the Palace it had started to rain, so Jen took refuge in a coffee shop while Remco and I biked around the gardens of a different palace. I love going to parks when it is raining, as they are empty and quite and I tend to notice things I wouldn't otherwise, like the improvised chess set. Plus you can always find some dry spots under the trees.

We had asked Remco to recommend a good Indonesian restaurant and the one he took us to was great! So much tasty food it was good there wasn't a fourth person as they wouldn't have had anywhere to sit! Then we watched the Spanish football match and got lost on our way home. Sunday I visited the Gemeente Museum and the Museum of Photography, which were both excellent.

Today we sailed in light wind from the SW. We have decided our venue is just like Miami: light thermal breeze with steep choppy waves; unless there is a storm cell in which case it is rainy and windy. Today was also *technically* the first day we are allowed on site to train (we had permission to train last week as well) so many more teams arrived today, including the two Canadian men's teams and our friends the Israeli women's team.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July 3rd - Pacific Yachting Article

Check out the article about us in this month's issue of Pacific Yachting! Click the image to view the article full size.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

July 1 - Training Day 5

Jen here,

Training is going and going and going. This morning we finished our standoff with the spinnaker halyard...we won. Oh yes, a nice brand new 5mm spectra halyard and new blocks on the uptake system. We didn't realize this until we took the old halyard off, but the blocks on the uptake system were so bent that they didn't even run. Hmm...ever feel like you don't want to look in that drawer or under that pile of junk because you're afraid of what you might find there? More and more this seems to be how I feel about 470's.
We trained with some members of the German team today. Very nice folks who all were very welcoming and came over to chat with us in the boat park. We've been working on surfing because the waves here are much bigger than in Victoria. It's fantastic. Sailing in waves upwind is a bit of a challenge, because they're short and very steep. It's great practice though.
Oh our bike rides home, we usually stop off at our favourite grocery store: the JUMBO, pronounced Yimbo in Dutch, which meant that for the first 2 days I rode my bike right past the Jumbo while looking for the Yimbo. I'm becoming proficient at riding my cruiser bike through rush hour traffic with twenty pounds of groceries dangling off of my left handlebar. One piece of advice to those who want to try this out in the future: pack your canned goods in your panniers. I discovered this trick after cycling for three kilometers and cracking my kneecap on a can of diced tomatoes with each pedal. It made for some lovely bruising!


Wednesday, June 30, 2010

June 30 - Training Day 4

We are starting to get into our routine of boatwork and training. Monday we spent the morning installing a new traveller bar on the boat so now Jen can trim the mainsail properly, which has led to fewer angry exclamations from the back end of the boat. We found an awesome machinist shop right by the marina where the machinist cut the bar down to size on a giant machine. He was very careful to put out his cigarette whenever he adjusted the machine and then lit up again immediately afterward!

We got on the water later in the afternoon and were immediately waved over to join in some training with the Croatian and Turkish mens teams. The coach would emphatically shout and wave at us "Girls! Tack!" Then we were joined by the German national team for some small races. These proved to be a bit of a gong show for us as we haven't done any short course work in a while and with a new boat and all the systems in the boat in constant flux we weren't very quick off the line or around corners.

Tuesday we launched with the Australian boy's and girl's teams and tuned up with them upwind. It was about 8-12 knots from a dark cloud in the SW with big short waves that were hard to get over smoothly. The Australian teams sail like skiff sailors - footed off and lots of sheeting. It was a bit strange to sail with them as we sail totally differently. We rarely were pointing the same direction; sometimes they had more speed but we were sailing higher, and sometimes we had equal speed but were sailing lower. We did some upwinds and downwinds together for a few hours until the cloud moved through and the breeze died down and swung around to the SE. The Aussies headed in, we stayed out for a while and worked on our boat handling.

Tuesday evening we met up with a French Canadian who has been living in Den Haag for the past two years. He works for the cartography company and gave us free charts and a current book for Den Haag, which is amazing! We cycled into Central Den Haag and he showed us the International Court of Justice, the Palace and the Legislator. We then went to a local pub to watch the Spain vs. Portugal match with a whole bunch of Spanish people.

Today when we arrived at the Marina a fog and a bit of rain was moving in. We did a bit more boatwork and the fog blocked our view of the marina entrance. It retreated and we headed on the water around noon. It was hard to tell how windy it was with the big short waves, fog and current, but somewhere around 16 knots. We were sailing around in the fog by ourselves when we found the Singapore mens team, and tuned up with them upwind. We were fairly evenly matched for speed (they don't sail like skiff sailors) except they were doing a better job of managing the big waves. By this I mean they did NOT get washed off the boat while I did! Eventually the fog cleared and the wind died down to around 6 knots. We joined the other boats for one race and then headed in. We had yet more boatwork to do. We have been trying to nurse along our spinnaker halyard by replacing some core and splicing in some extra line but it is a losing battle, so we are going to have to replace it.

Our boat parking spot has slowly been moved by some Australians who have arrived over the past two days. I guess we will be nice as one of them is the Bejing Men's 470 Gold medallist. I found this out after asking if he was the coach. Whoops! Maybe they will have some tips for us? Pictures from around town below.
Den Haag, NED

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 27 - On the water in Den Haag

Today we went training! It feels like it's been awhile since we did that! The wind was light out of the north about 4-6 knots, and about 3 knots of current from the north as well. It is quite warm here, so we could finally wear a few less layers then we have been at home and in Kiel. We were supposed to meet up with the Aussies at noon but we have no phone and they have no internet so somehow that didn't work out. We spent a good 3 hours focusing on boat handling and boat speed now that (most) of the systems on the boat are working. It felt really good to get back into the boat and work on things on our own for the first day. The wind is a thermal breeze which doesn't seem to appear until 11 or 12 and increases in velocity throughtout the day.

We have made up a schedule for ourselves for the next two weeks so we can get back into a routine. We will sail everyday this week then take the weekend off, then sail again next week. There is organized group training for the event July 6-8. Measurement takes place the 9-11th. The practise race is July 11th and racing is July 12-18.

There is a small group of boats training out of the sailing venue including the German and British teams but most teams are taking this week off and will show up next week.

Our apartment is a block up from the Scheveningen Pier and Strand. This is basically the beach where everyone in Holland comes for summer vacation, so it is packed full of people. Jen and I have both already been scolded in dutch for riding our bicycles on the Strand (apparently it's pedestrian only). Riding our bikes to the club is very nice as we cycle along in the bicycle lane with bicycle stop lights. We have rented one speed's with pedal brakes and panniers. I do enjoy cycling in an upright position, but sometimes I forget how to stop.