Mid-March, I flew back to Palma to finally sail my first big event of the year : the Trofeo Princesa Sofia. All the best sailors worldwide were on the entry list. More importantly, this was to be my second big regatta with only senior sailors and for sure it was going to be one of the toughest I had ever sailed.
During the pre-regatta training, we mostly had a nice steady sea breeze… but as ALWAYS, weather conditions became much tougher: we started the regatta with a wild day with over 35 knots. As the wind was coming from shore, it was very strong and super shifty making it very hard to make decent racing. We ended up staying for over 8 hours on the water just to do 2 races that usually last one hour each. What a tiring way to start the championship!!
The following days were less windy but still more than what I would’ve hoped for! The nice sea breeze basically didn’t show up again so the wind remained stronger and shiftier than usual making the racing very hard for me since I usually catch up on the best sailors with my tactics.
The good thing is that at least I did a few decent starts this time. I even did a race of 8th that got me into the gold fleet. So for the rest of the regatta I was with the 59 top sailors –> I sailed with the hardest fleet I had ever been with. As expected, I really got my ass kicked. The gap between youth sailing and senior sailing is huge. It felt weird going from sailing at the front of the fleet last year (while still in Youth <19) to doing races where I was in the last tier. But I was expecting it so I wasn’t too depressed about it. I know that I need a lot of practice sailing with the senior fleets before I can hope to do better results. In the end I finished 51/117, which isn’t too bad for my very first Trofeo Princesa Sofia. For sure next year I’ll have to do better if I want to qualify for Rio so now… BACK TO WORK!
I just came back from an intensive 6-day training camp in Saint-Raphaël, France with Nils, a laser sailor who is also in the Swiss Team. If you’ve followed the news this week, you’ve probably heard about the huge inundations in the South and the worst area was exactly where I was. So yes, it’s been a great but very wet week!
Our schedule was the following: get up at 7am to be on the water at 8.30; sail for 2 ½ hours; lunch on our best dish… PASTA; back on the water at 1.30 pm for another 2 hours of sailing. In addition we would go running or swim 2KM.
During the first 3 days, the wind wasn’t too strong yet at about 12 knots. It was perfect to train on our technique. But the hardest was yet to come…
On Thursday the East Wind finally kicked in at about 20 to 24 knots with big waves. That day was really great and I felt that I made progress in strong winds. Our coach made us take off our hiking pads to develop “tolerance to pain”. Hiking pads are rigid boards that are placed behind our thighs. That’s where we rest our weight when we are leaning out of the boat to counterbalance the wind. Note to myself: never again try to sail in strong winds without my hiking pads!! Now I have bruises behind my thighs and it really hurts.
On the last two days the wind reached over 30 knots (56 KM/hour) with waves of at least 2 meters high. It was survival mode for me, as I don’t often sail in those conditions. I did a lot of capsizing… but no pain no gain
On our way back from St-Raphael, I suddenly heard a terrible noise. When I turned to look at the trailer with our RIB, I saw fireworks of fire!
We immediately stopped the car and discovered that we had lost one wheel!
We stayed for an hour on the side of the highway until the Touring Club came to pick it up. Scary experience but our driver Ineke (Nil’s mom) kept her cool.
Now I’ll be back home for a few days. I’ll be going back to France on the 11th, but this time in Hyères!!!