Isigungu in Final Euro Event

by | Sep 26, 2007

The all-women sailing Team Isigungu (middle) compete in the Yngling Class in their final event in a nine-month tour of Europe. All pictures courtesy Team Isigungu.

The all-women sailing Team Isigungu (middle) compete in the Yngling Class in their final event in a nine-month tour of Europe. All pictures courtesy Team Isigungu.

The South African Olympic Qualifiers in the Yngling Sailing Class have written to gsport to report back on their progress in the European Women’s Yngling Championships in Germany. Here’s skipper Dominique Provoyeur:

Day 1:

After a short 5 week break travelling around Spain and France, we are now back to the grind on the Baltic Sea. We are sailing out of a very popular, but rather small German Town called Warnemunde. This area has over 2million visitors per year, which are largely made up from all the cruise ships that dock in Rostock.

We have been training since the 12th September and being the first team to arrive we had the marina to ourselves as well as the gym.

We decided to give camping a try as we weren’t having much like finding some reasonably priced accommodation and we were yet to receive any financial assistance since February.

We bought all the camping gear in 2005 so we were well equipped with all the camping luxuries! We also have electricity in the van, so we were able to bring everything bar the kitchen sink!

Other teams arrived but we were still camping alone – I am sure the rest of the teams think we are a little nuts…. camping in North Germany in September! It was a bit chilly, but we had some great days and evenings and even two braais!

Camping does have its pro’s (close to the venue, very cheap and a little different) and con’s (no space, no dry clothes, windy and cold), so we decided that for the regatta we would find a small apartment. We also received our contract salary from SASCOC, so the bank balance looked a little better.

Only once you have left camping do you feel the real affects of it, and I for one felt a bit relieved to have a room, kitchen and lounge area, where we can just go and hangout without feeling like you are imposing on someone else’s space.

After having achieved so much in such a short time, peaking at the worlds in July and qualifying for the Olympics and then having a super holiday, now the hard part is that we have to motivate ourselves for one more event before we can finally head home for the first time since January.

I felt a little flat during the practise race, maybe a combination of camping, pushing hard for 8 days in the gym and on the water, bit of tension amongst the team – who knows?

After the race, we all went to gym for a stretch, run and a paddle along the beach in calm conditions. This must have been the turning points, as attitudes had changed and we were back and ready to fight another week.

We started this morning with our usual cycle down to the boat, clean the bottom of the boat and rig up. during our team chat, we all gave our goals for the week and cleared the air. 

Team Isigungu take the challenge to the Norway team, off the German coast near Warnemunde.

Team Isigungu take the challenge to the Norway team, off the German coast near Warnemunde.

The forecast was light (6knots) and off the shore, which meant that anything could happen and it did.

I won’t go into too much detail about each race, other than it was a pressure versus heading day, and stepping out into clear air was paramount. We managed to keep our nose clean and end off the first day with 3 respectable finishes: 8, 5 and 10.

This puts us in 6th overall but there are still two protests tonight so we may move up a place or two!

Anyway, there is still lots of racing and we are ready to end off this regatta in the medal race for the first time this season (top 10 after 10 races).

Day 2:

This is the final event of our 9-month tour of Europe, which began all those months ago in the ice and snow and below freezing temperatures….. boy that all seems like a life time ago.

We had 3 races today and if we thought yesterday was tough we were wrong! Some of you have asked us to put the results up front, as the anticipation is too great to handle. So here it is, simply said – 14th, 4th and 18th.

Not a great day in all, but nothing comes easy and if you don’t work for every inch, no one out here is gonna give it to you. Our starts haven’t been all that great, and we are forced to tack off too early off the line.

Today we battled with finding the pressure and staying in phase – again the same lessons from Palma all those months ago. One would have thought that we would have learnt this lesson one too many times before, but if your mind is not 100% focussed, its the simple things we forget first.

Today vs yesterday, the main difference was that there was more wind and both the crew where dropped and hiking hard. There is a transition that takes place as Penny can no longer see the whole course and the skipper must take a more active role and try to paint a better picture for the crew.

As the skipper, I struggled with this task and our communications suffered – we sailed a bit disjointedly, not really sure where we were heading.

Without being to hard on ourselves, we have something to prove tomorrow and look forward to the challenge again. With results we got today we are in close 10th position.

Another snippet of information for the curious, this regatta is also one of the German selection regattas and there has been a series of match racing manoeuvres going on during our races, which throws in another aspect to racing.

Day 3:

Well, I have been wondering how I am going to explain yesterday’s racing in a positive way. It was rather a special day. 

Team Isigungu take the challenge to the Norway team, off the German coast near Warnemunde.

Kim Rew lifts a glass to celebrate her birthday on Wednesday.

With two good starts we managed to sail ourselves right to the back of the fleet, without much effort.

In the first race, we thought we saw the pressure line on the right and going across the fleet on Port we looked in a good position and on a good heading. What we didn’t see though was that the boats on the left had even a bigger pressure line.

The left paid. We didn’t update our plan and by the second top mark we were out of the game. Playing catch up is not easy.

The second race wasn’t much different, with the wind still off the land and shifting all over, with pressure coming down in streaks. We were forced to tack off the lift by another boat, and by the time we got back we missed the first bit of the shift.

The call was to stand on at the top mark, but a jibe set was what we should have done, putting more pressure on ourselves.

Anyway, all in all – not a great day in the office and now we have only two races left to get back into the top 10 for the medal race. So, some work to do tomorrow.

Its Kim’s birthday today, so we started the morning off with a champagne breakfast and will end off with a Gelato with the Canadian’s this afternoon.

Hope to write good news of Thursdays racing, so until then have a good Wednesday.

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