The Lanzarote winter series
This year is the 1st year that I have coached at the Lanzarote winter series and I have to say the atmosphere was great. I have always enjoyed being on the Canary Island and everyone was just so grateful to be racing again. It seems such a long time since the European Championships in Poland and with the recent postponement of the Princess Sofia regatta in Palma until October 2nd – 9th no one is quite sure when we will all be back racing again. Indeed, I suspect most of us will stay here to train until our next major regatta…
Much like Palma the regatta was split between 2 venues, Arrecife and Marina Rubicon where we have been training for most of January. By having just a few classes racing at a time and spreading the event out over around 2 weeks meant numbers were kept well down. It could well be April or May before all the Olympic classes can be together at the same time at the same venue and even then, probably with restricted numbers.
To get the Lasers to Arrecife the boats went on the roof of Tuula’s Van. Tuula’s the day before the regatta and Monika’s the first day of racing. The swell on the ramp was pretty big in Marina Rubicon, so I drove the RIB by sea up to the venue just before the curfew started. About half-way there a large fishing vessel came out of a harbour and seemed to be racing me. As we started to get into flatter water as I passed the half way point to Arrecife I started to pull away.
About an hour away I briefly stopped to send a message with my ETA at Arrecife and the boat pulled along-side and asked what I was doing… it was the Guardia Civil. It appeared they had been chasing me for over half an hour. I explained where I came from, where I was going and the difficulties of getting the boat off the water, and after I mentioned the regatta, they seemed quite understanding and suggested I go there quickly (I was!!). I couldn’t help thinking it was probably lucky that I was over half-way there already.
The racing itself was great, a real balance between very windy, medium and light winds. Anne-Marie Rindom from Denmark in the ILCA 6 put in a dominant performance as did JB Bernaz from France in the ILCA 7 and they have certainly set the bar high for future Championships. Both Tuula and Line made the medal race which was sailed in strong current and very light wind and lasted nearly twice as long as usual (it was over 40 minutes). The club could not have been more welcoming, and it was great to be able to have a three-course meal and coffee from the club restaurant immediately after sailing each day, sitting outside by the club’s swimming pool.
The day after the regatta we did a long downwind sail from Arrecife in the North East trade winds to Marina Rubicon. It was 4 hours door to door and perhaps 2 ½ hours of continuous sailing time, the girls’ arms must have been like spaghetti. We were seen off by a pod of dolphins who joined in our warmup exercises and the girls chased after them and followed them well off the course. My guess is that the dolphins would have quite happily followed the excited shouting wherever the Radials went. After all a dolphin goes much faster than an ILCA 6!
By the end of the day we had finished the downwind and got ready to tow in to Marina Rubicon (we towed out of Arrecife on a reach and in on a reach to enjoy the strong wind, better waves and more direct downwind). We were welcomed by another pod of dolphins (or was it the same ones, we will never know!) I tried hard to take some photos but such is their power they can go from well beneath the waves to jumping clear of the water in just a few seconds. Probably I had over 30 photos of splashes, marking where dolphins used to be!
The following day we cycled back to Arrecife (obviously against a strong head wind all the way) to collect the van and RIB trailer and now everything is safely back ready for our base ready for our next training block. I can really understand why people come here for cycling holidays: it is a perfect venue. We have had a great training group here with Tuula, Monika, Maud and Line and you can see some of my interviews from the regatta on the Jonemmettsailing YouTube Channel.
So, time for a bit of holiday, before our next block of training and fingers crossed that the Hyeres regatta will take place.
Jon Emmett has over 20 years of coaching experience from grass roots to Olympic Gold.