Last month we discussed our predicament with legally staying here in Europe to train and compete. After using 80 of the permitted 90 days during our first trip across the pond, we came across the dilemma of lengthening the time we are allowed to be in the European Union. After a month and a half of filling documents we made our way to Amsterdam where we have now received a temporary visas. This will allow us to stay here until the government processes our working holiday visas. This has been big news for us as we already missed the Medemblik regatta and were in jeopardy of missing the rest of our scheduled events - including the World Championships. Thankfully, with this temporary visa we are permitted to stay for the upcoming competitions.
Our first one on the schedule was Kiel Week - the single largest regatta in the world. With 1900 boats competing and over 3 million visitors, the event was something spectacular. Our fleet particularly had 90 boats split across two fleets with racing lasting 4 days. We had several weeks training leading into the event. We primarily worked on starting, lane holding, and race strategy with a small fleet of other nations training there as well. Our progress through the training was great and we developed a lot of the skills we had outlined from our first block in Europe. We were very confident in how we were sailing. During the final day of practice races before the event we even managed to have the best scoreline of the day against a fleet of approximately 20 boats. Unfortunately, we could not piece this together for the event. We made several large mistakes during races which put us deep into the fleet, including: hitting a leeward mark, capsizes, failing to show to a protest, fouling other boats, falling out of our own boat, and collisions. These mistakes are just too costly and we can not have a successful event with these occurring. While we are disappointed with how things turned out, again this was just a training event and we found many positives from the event as well. First, we managed several top 10 race results; something we have yet to accomplish in above junior events. Second, we had many strong starts which was our main issue from our last event, World Cup Hyeres. Finally, our strategic decision making improved a lot; we were always gaining places in races outside of the costly single mistakes. We have a lot to look forward to with how we are improving. We really feel we are beginning to piece things together and once we address these costly mistakes will be able to perform our goals come the World Champs. Until then, we are continuing training in Poland leading into the European Championships before heading to Aarhus Denmark for Worlds. Stay tuned.