DF65 Global Championships report from amidst competition

Report and images provided by Warwick Crossman:

It’s now a lay day before the Final Series, a perfect opportunity to share a bit of an update from Sweden. Or as I like to think of it “My View From The Back”.

Stockholm was awesome. 

Phil Burgess and I met in Stockholm, along with a few other members of the Australian team for three days of sightseeing before heading down to Nynashamn. Stockholm was cold, really cold and it even snowed there on our last day. I must say it was nice to find Phil waiting in the foyer of my hotel after nearly thirty hours of travel, only to be whisked away to lunch with another RPAYC member David Clarke at his son’s house about one hour out of Stockholm. It turns out sleep is highly overrated.

Nynashamn is a picturesque town about an hour south of Stockholm and the weather here has warmed up considerably. As a sailing venue it’s probably the best I’ve ever seen. 

Any thought this was going to be an easy event were dispelled at the opening ceremony on the balcony at Nynäshamns Segelsällskap when competitors were asked to raise their hand if they had ever sailed in an Olympic Games, or won a World or National Championship, in any sailing class. About a third of the competitors raised their hands.

The course area is huge compared to anything we are used to, so if you commit to one side of the course and end up on the wrong side of a shift you lose 10-12 places in the blink of an eye. It’s also a little bit choppy, certainly more than we get on Pittwater. My boat’s going great, although I had a rudder servo fail on the second practice day, which of course was better than during the event.

To be honest I am a bit disappointed with my results so far, but the thing is I’m not sailing too badly.

At the end of the first day’s racing I was slightly better than mid fleet, which I was happy with. Then in my first race on the second day I came off the start near the boat end with a clear lane, tacked onto port, hooked into a new breeze and was gone. I lead for almost the entire race and was still in the top three on the windward return to the finish when we were timed out. I was a little broken by that race and then had a couple of bad results in the next few races, which unfortunately sealed my fate for the overall results.

The take aways are my boat speed is okay, particularly off the breeze, and my starts have been good too. I do need to work on positioning and fleet management, especially in the top third of the first beat. The other thing that really has not helped was picking up a head cold in Stockholm which may have contributed to a few less than optimal decisions on the race course.

The standard at the front of the fleet is really incredible, and I am thrilled for RPAYC club mate Phil Burgess that he has been very competitive in that rarified atmosphere. On his way to a well earned place in the Silver Fleet for the final series, Phil scored a 2nd in Race 3 and a 1st in Race 9.

Interestingly of the twelve nations represented at the Globals (World Championships), thirteen of the eighteen sailors who made it into the Gold Fleet are from Sweden, and I’m told their club sailing is at this same standard week in and week out. Now that’s something we should aspire to at RPAYC?

Phil Burgess reports that he is looking forward to heading home after the competition concludes and has a couple of stops along the way back to Pittwater. In another demonstration of his committment to growing the DF65 class, Phil will stop over in both Hong Kong and Singapore to help sailing clubs set up some new DF65 fleets of their own! So, not only is Phil a driving force behind DF65’s at RPAYC, but he is increasing participation internationally.

If you are interested in joining DF65 racing at RPAYC, the fleet meet Thursdays in Halyards for a socia coffee and race briefing before heading out to race. After racing, many of the competitors head back for lunch in Halyards. To find out more and get involved reach out to the sailing office.