DEEP Sailing - Rio Roundup
The final week of our Rio trip was filled with a couple of days of exploration after the South Americans and another four days of racing - the 'Intergalactic 49ers' - a fun regatta set up and organised last year by one of the local sailors, with the hope of bringing some good foreign teams down to train and race against. In its second and final year and in keeping with tradition there were social activities every evening, usually involving a few caipirinhas!
We took two days off after the South Americans, due to a reoccurring back injury that Dave has, which unfortunately inhibited him a bit for the remainder of our trip. Nevertheless the racing was again tight and a great opportunity to work on some stuff, without really worrying about the result.
Once again the wind was solid for the whole four days and we struggled to find our usual speed on the borrowed kit. We had a couple of crashes/ incidents that cost us in a few races, but we finished strongly and took some great venue knowledge away from the racing.
The final race of the Intergalactics is traditionally a double points 'crews race' to keep the fun and add some serious entertainment for the coaches! With the wind building to very gusty 15+ knots and the 25 boats careering around the start line semi under control everyone was buzzing, but secretly terrified! The race was one lap and then into the harbour to finish, which involves a long upwind through what the locals call the 'Gaza strip', due to the 'bombs' (huge, unpredictable gusts of wind) that blow over the towering sugar loaf mountain and drop out of the sky, exploding so unpredictably that it's super easy to capsize or crash into the moored boats, if you don't have your wits about you.
We had a great start and were in the top couple, but got a bit caught up trying to go fast and all the boats that got to the hard right made a big gain. After a sketchy bear away we had a solid downwind (no capsizes) and made it through 'Gaza' relatively unscathed! We didn't win, but it was a great way to finish the trip and there was plenty of banter flying around back on shore.
All in all the trip was a big success, with an improvement on our World Ranking and a lot of time spent in Olympic waters. The practise using totally unfamiliar equipment should stand us in good stead for the World Cup finals in Abu Dhabi, which is all on supplied boats and masts.
We now have a week at home to catch up and repack before heading out to the Middle East on the 22nd November, with the regatta starting on the 26th.
We would like to say a huge thanks to Thomas LowBeer and his Mum, Alexandra for hosting us during our stay and we can't wait for our next trip to South America.
Next report in a few weeks.
Ed & Dave