Harken Sponsored Sailor update from Dave Evans and Ed Powys’


South American Championships   

Our trip to Rio began with some long days and a lot of activity, as seems to be the case every time we come here. We are kindly borrowing a boat and mast from our Brazilian friends Thomas and Dante, which needed some tweaking and a personal touch before we could go training. Once sorted we had three great days training in the 'light wind' Olympic venue, which was proving to be anything but!

The South American championships began in a building 12 knot sea breeze and we started strongly with a 6,4 score line, but were slightly disappointed that a few small errors cost us some points and overshadowed how well we had raced as a whole. By the third race the wind had built to 20 knots and unfortunately our lack of practice since the Worlds showed, with a capsize!

The fleet here is really strong with only about four top teams missing, which made for some fantastic racing. The rest of the regatta was a bit lighter, but still 10-15 knots for the majority. The infamous currents of Guanabara Bay made for some challenging decision making and there was a lot of head scratching at times. The bay here is huge but has a very narrow entrance, with many bays and rivers feeding into it. The result is that the water that floods in doesn't always make it back out with the ebb tide and creates very unpredictable currents - a nightmare for sailing, unless you pick it right and then you look like a champion!

We sailed relatively well for the remainder of the races and most importantly worked a lot on the areas for improvement that we highlighted after the Worlds. We were plagued by some small racing errors that turned some top three races into fifth to tenths, but we should be able to iron them out. The end result was 6th, which should improve our World ranking and we are relatively happy, considering the time we took out of the boat and the fact that we were on borrowed kit.

Next up we have another four day regatta - the Intergalactic 49er Championships - a more relaxed regatta, but there will be an equally strong fleet. After that we head back to the UK for a week before continuing our programme in Abu Dhabi at the end of November for the World Cup finals.   

Ed & Dave   

Rio Roundup

The final week of our Rio trip was filled with a couple of days of exploration after the South Americans and another four days of racing - the 'Intergalactic 49ers' - a fun regatta set up and organised last year by one of the local sailors, with the hope of bringing some good foreign teams down to train and race against. In its second and final year and in keeping with tradition there were social activities every evening, usually involving a few caipirinhas!

We took two days off after the South Americans, due to a reoccurring back injury that Dave has, which unfortunately inhibited him a bit for the remainder of our trip. Nevertheless the racing was again tight and a great opportunity to work on some stuff, without really worrying about the result.

Once again the wind was solid for the whole four days and we struggled to find our usual speed on the borrowed kit. We had a couple of crashes/ incidents that cost us in a few races, but we finished strongly and took some great venue knowledge away from the racing.

The final race of the Intergalactics is traditionally a double points 'crews race' to keep the fun and add some serious entertainment for the coaches! With the wind building to very gusty 15+ knots and the 25 boats careering around the start line semi under control everyone was buzzing, but secretly very nervous! The race was one lap and then into the harbour to finish, which involves a long upwind through what the locals call the 'Gaza strip', due to the huge, unpredictable gusts of wind that blow over the towering sugar loaf mountain and drop out of the sky, exploding so unpredictably that it's super easy to capsize or crash into the moored boats, if you don't have your wits about you.

We had a great start and were in the top couple, but got a bit caught up trying to go fast and all the boats that got to the hard right made a big gain. After a sketchy bear away we had a solid downwind (no capsizes) and made it through 'Gaza' relatively unscathed! We didn't win, but it was a great way to finish the trip and there was plenty of banter flying around back on shore.

All in all the trip was a big success, with an improvement on our World Ranking and a lot of time spent in

Olympic waters. The practice using totally unfamiliar equipment should stand us in good stead for the World Cup finals in Abu Dhabi, which is all on supplied boats and masts.

We now have a week at home to catch up and repack before heading out to the Middle East on the 22nd November, with the regatta starting on the 26th.

We would like to say a huge thanks to Thomas LowBeer and his Mum, Alexandra for hosting us during our stay and we can't wait for our next trip to South America.

Ed & Dave

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