Laser Europeans, Barcelona
Immediately after the Masters Worlds in Split I flew to the Radial Europeans in Barcelona, where I was coaching Tuula Tenkanen from Finland rather than racing myself. Gatwick Airport was extremely busy as it was the day sadly Monarch Airlines went bust. I bumped into Shirley Robertson who I worked with for the 2000 Olympics with no less than 8 large luggage's (full of filming equipment as she now works in media for CNN). Luckily for me I was travelling light, bag number 2. was already in Tuula's van where it lives along with my road bike all year long and meets me at continental European events. The last time I coach Tuula was in Helsinki the previous month where we did a few days training with Line Flem Host from Norway before Tuula won the Nationals and we packed the RIB and boats for Barcelona. The ferry from Helsinki to Bilbao took a week, then it was one day's drive to Barcelona, so Tuula had a little break from sailing and I just had time to race the Masers Worlds.
Upon arrival in Barcelona I did a little bit of work on Tuula's foils and when we turned the boat upside down to wash we noticed a 5 cm split on the gunwhale. It was a quick repair but that meant no training before the regatta started to allow proper drying time as racing was scheduled the following day or so we thought, the race officer had different ideas and decided to join most of Catalonia in going on strike, which meant no racing on day 1, at least the Barcelona Olympic Centre had a good gym. Indeed, I used it every day whilst waiting for the Sea breeze to arrive and the postponement flag to go down.
After the strike we did manage to catch up one race but only completed 5 out of 6 of the qualification races. With a very tight series (the overall Champion was decided by 1 point and only on the final race) many sailors must have been wondering what would have happened if we had done 1 more race. As it was overall Champion Marit who made almost no mistakes in the round robin ended up discarding a 2nd place. It was a good regatta and although we still have lots of work to do we were pleased with a solid 5th place.
This weekend I am racing at the 2nd UK Autumn Qualifiers, I missed the 1st event due to the Masters Worlds and I will miss the final Qualifier due to the Japanese World Cup which I fly to the day after the 2nd Qualifier along with bag number 3! He (bag number 3) will probably stay in the Japanese container and go straight to Miami. With all this travel I can really recommend the Neil Pryde Wheelie bags they are light (and won't take up too much of the flight weight allowance) but have plenty of room for your kit, I do not know what I would do without them!
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass routes to Olympic Gold.