Over the month of August, we had our first taste of the European campaign experience. We arrived in Porto Portugal on the 12th and had a solid two weeks of training with our fellow Canadian team and the local Portuguese squad. This lead into the 2017 49er World Championships which lasted six days. Unfortunately, during the training and event there was a consistent thick fog for approximately half of our time there. This limited us to about 50% of our expected training time and only a three day regatta. While the conditions were less than ideal, the change in geography brought many valuable lessons; primarily learning how to sail in swell. With waves reaching up to 3m, the technique involved is much different from what we are used to. During the competition portion, it was evident how our weak technique in waves put us at a disadvantage; we felt a lack of speed throughout the entire event. Positively, we did find our past training over the spring and summer had paid off significantly. With conditions reaching 20 knots of wind speed two of the three days, we were one of only three boats in the bottom 40 boats to not score a DNF (Did Not Finish) during the regatta. Our boat-handling skills allowed us to keep the boat upright and overtake many other competitors due to capsizing. We were very happy about this as at the end of 2016 we identified that as our weakest skill and set out to improve it. Additionally, comparing this world championship to our last senior event (Sailing World Cup Miami - Jan 2017), we have had a 15% improvement in our competition finish.
Between learning about the logistics that go into competing in the European scene and the new technical skills we need to practice, we found this event very beneficial and were happy with our performance, but are not satisfied. We are now back in Kingston for school and to continue with our training until the end of October. We have several small competitions over that time to stay fresh with our racing, but our main intention is to focus on some speed and technique in waves.