The last time we talked I had just arrived in Italy to compete in the Italian Olympic week as well as complete a big fitness block. The racing is always interesting in Garda and provides some local knowledge tricks that you need to be aware of. We had over 100 boats racing in the event so it wasn’t going to be a walk in the park. The first two days the lake really turned it on for us with beautiful blue skies and strong Oras (the name for the southerly lake wind). I had some great results, including two race wins. This was the first time I had ever won a race in Europe so I was very happy. Unfortunately the qualifying wasn’t all sunshine as I got a BFD (black flag disqualification) on the final race of qualifying when I placed third in the race. The next day we were left without any wind so I went for a light cycle before we completed three races on the last day. The gold fleet was made up of the top 30 in the event and it was getting tight at the top. I had a good first race but I couldn’t back it up and had two poor scores. This saw me drop out of top ten contention to finish the event 19th overall. I was pretty disappointed with the way the event worked out but I put the frustration to good use and took it out cycling up the surrounding mountains.
The next few weeks were great. I got to do all of my favourite things and all in good company. I spent many hours sailing, cycling and windsurfing on the lake but all too soon it was time to leave but not before one more surprise. On my last evening in Italy Ryan, Jeremy and I were invited around to dinner at Robert Scheidt’s house with his wife and children. For those who don’t know Robert is the greatest Laser sailor to have lived with 9 Laser world titles and a medal from every Olympics he has sailed in. Yep, all five of them. It was a memorable experience and I was grateful to get to know him a little bit.
The next day I began the 1200 km journey to Medemblik, Holland for the next event, the Delta Lloyd Regatta. After 19 straight hours of driving we arrived in the middle of the night at our destination. Safe to say I had some time off after that journey and did my best to be fresh for the regatta starting in a few days. The regatta had 150 entries and a lot of people who were trying to gain a spot for the World Cup in Weymouth. I had a solid qualifying series, placing myself 18th after the first four races. I then had a very good finals series, winning the first race of gold fleet and backing it up with a 6th, 10th and a 15th. Finally, for the first time I got myself into a European medal race! I was super happy and to put the cherry on top I placed second in the tricky Medal race, bumping me up to 7th overall.
The next day I was on the road again, this time with England in sight and another World Cup. Hopefully this one can go a little better than the last 😉