Sunday, August 2, 2009

Day 13

The day to pack up has arrived. As soon as we woke up we cleaned out the whole tent and stuffed everything into the car. It took us almost 3 hours to get out of the camp site. As we drove back to Pwllheli we stopped by at a Polish Village in Wales to see how they lived (differently). We took a few pictures and moved on to the Sailing Club to say some final goodbyes. We had a 6 hour trip back to London!

On the way we took some pictures of castles and landscape. The Welsh landscape is very beautiful and unique as can be seen in the pictures we took… After a long day’s drive we found ourselves in the over-populated city… London. It took us extremely long just to get to the place we planned to stay at. Now we’re all unpacked and ready to go site seeing as soon as possible!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Day 12

The final and most awaited day begins! Our daily routine: waking up, driving to Pwllheli and going to ASDA starts. We get to the Sailing Club and we each have our own routine. Michael makes the lunch, Les goes around checking the schedule and I rigged the boat. We get dressed into our wetsuits and are hyped with anxiety for the last races of the Worlds… but unfortunately they postpone the races for 1 hour because of the unsafe wind and high waves.

In the meantime we just chat with other teams, waiting for the executive decision. After one hour they postpone it for another hour. Some teams start to de-rig their boats either assuming they won’t sail anymore or knowing that the final decision will really be a no. We decided to stay on the safe side and wait the extra hour. Finally they announce the decision: they are abandoned. We were fairly disappointed because we sailed best in these winds.

We quickly de-rig the boat to the state that we received it in. The family that brought it up to Pwllheli once again took it back. That was one huge thing off our minds! But now we had to fill our program with our own things!

We decided to visit “Hell’s Mouth” and “Abersoch”. Hell’s Mouth (or also known as Port Neigwl Site) is a large beach which has enormous waves. It is found at one of the most western points of Wales. It is a wide beach with huge dunes. Then we went to the small town called “Abersoch”. This seems like a sailor’s town because of the high population of yachts on the beach. It’s not the biggest town there but it has its own type of secrecy.

We then drove back to the Sailing Club for the Awards Night. There were so many different prizes! There were prizes for top three in Juniors, top three in Oceanair championships, top ten overall and each tenth place. We placed 80th overall in the Worlds and therefore won a spinnaker pole. (Later on we decided that we would donate it to the South African team).

After the prizes, there was a Welsh trio band called the “Get Out Clause” which performed many different songs. A fellow sailor, Jake, performed with them a few songs that he knew, such as “Voodoo Child” by Jimi Hendrix. Everything worked out very nicely and everyone had a great time!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Day 11

As always we wake up and somehow end up in ASDA. We quickly went to the Sailing Club and rigged our boat. It was finally sunny and fairly warm. The sea was really calm in the morning but it was windy. We changed our mast rake a bit but the Australians and South Africans told us to change it back (and it was for the best). We did a few extra changes to help us during the races.

We’re old salts now. The windier it is the better for us. We had four races today and managed to be 59th in the fourth one. The score did not exactly help us move up many places in overall ranking because of yesterdays lose.

Generally it was the best day for everybody since we arrived here. To get a better understanding of our day you can look at all the pictures.

- The bouy above will test your knowledge of Welsh!

At the end of the day we had a raffle for Mirror 70600. The lucky winner was world director from Australia 2011.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Day 10

The whole night it rained and gladly it stopped in the morning. We got up and left for ASDA! Like everyday, we always need something from the store. We then took a short trip to the Sailing Club and rigged our boat. We went down to the beach to find out that it would be postponed one hour because of the low wind… one hour passed and yet another two hour postponement! We waited and waited.
Finally they decided we would go out! It still wasn’t the windiest day but we got to the race course. Eventually after 1 postponement on the water we had our first race! Of course, the first start had a false-start so we waited even more. All we did was, wait today. Finally they did a re-start and were able to start. We were doing decently well until the gybe mark, where around 7 boats came around at the same time and yes… we lost all those places. But I guess it’s a lesson. It’s better to be closer to the mark than further.

Eventually we started the second race after a long postponement. We did fairly well until we noticed boats passing us by very quickly. We started playing with all the parts of the rig but nothing worked. Once we finished the race they said “Oh, and by the way you were black-flagged”… Well thanks for telling us that after the race. So we ended up being disqualified from that race because we were just a bit ahead of the start line. Well that put us down… what, around 13 places.

Anyways, after that we came in and de-rigged our boat. We quickly prepared our skit for Nations Night. This is a presentation by each country which shortly tells everyone how they live, what they do, etc. We were planning to do a lot, such as singing but then it would take too long. We then went to the Marquee to watch the other countries do their performances. They were really well done. Then it was Canada’s turn to go up. With only the three of us, we managed to entertain the crowd as if there was no tomorrow. Everyone laughed hysterically. We first explained “what it means to be a Canadian”. Then we moved onto some myths about being a Canadian (and what others may believe about us). Then I read an “immigrants diary”. We’ll re-create our performance at the first opportunity. Everyone had a great time.

Just as we finished I was needed as a witness in the protest room. I went to the hearing and told them my story (they have already been there for over two hours). Unfortunately, after all that time the case was dismissed.

It’s been long day… we went to sleep for tomorrow’s races.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Day 9

We woke up to a cold and windy day. As usual we left our camp ground at 8:00 to go to ASDA and buy breakfast. We got to the Sailing Club to find the parking lot empty! We thought that the races had already been cancelled and we were the last to find out. I decided to go to the committee room and find a new post to see details. It said that the first warning signal would be at 11:55. That meant it was one hour later than any other day.

We went to make ourselves lunch. They announced there would be a brief meeting at "quarter past ten" so in the meantime we went to see the wind gauge. As in the picture above the wind is approximately 22.6 knots. We then went to the big tent to find out what would happen with the races. They announced that out on the water the wind gusted to 30 knots and therefore they would scrap it.

We have almost decided to go to Abersoch and visit the town but a huge rainstorm came in so we stayed in the Marquee. We spent the time uploading all our pictures and finishing up previous days of the blog. As well we replied to dozens of e-mails. The Peterson family helped us rig our boat so therefore we allowed them to use our laptop. It wasn’t the most appealing day of our trip, especially if our second option besides sailing is travelling. Anyhow, we finally bought our first dinner at the Sailing Club; it was expensive.

In the meantime, the organizers were preparing the Welsh night and harpist. Gwenan Gibbard is one of Welsh music’s most exciting new talents. As well, reporters were going around and filming each nation. They also filmed crews hard at work during the rain.
Later on in the evening everyone gathered in the Marquee and the harpist came. In addition, they were filming this live. They also showed the reporting done earlier in TV and luckily we appeared in two of the shots.

We are now looking forward to the next day. We hope that we will finally be able to get the races done!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Day 8

The first day for the Worlds has finally begun! We woke up at the normal time, quickly made lunch and left to the Sailing Club. Once we arrived we started setting up our Mirror Dinghy. Anthony (an organizer for Australia 2011 MW) and an organizer from South Africa helped us check our rigging. This included the rake of the mast and the tension of the shrouds. As well they checked our jib and mainsail placement.

The weather has improved a lot. It was still blowing hard but at least it stopped raining. We set out to the course like usual and began plaining across the start line. The race course for the Worlds is exactly the same as for the UK Nationals. Today approximately 100 Mirror’s started. With the new rig setting we felt the huge difference. When we crossed the start line we were able to keep up with all the other boats. We were actually in the middle of the fleet once we passed the first mark! We finished the first race in the middle of the fleet, a great accomplishment.

The second race got a bit harder. Once we were past the second mark we ran into some trouble. Another boat luffed upwind really quickly catching us off guard. The ending result was a hole at the top of our bow. It was nothing that we couldn’t handle. Later on we called a protest against them. This race did not go so well because we were extremely close to tipping with our spinnaker and we spent a lot of time bailing water. The third race was another good one. We had a great start and were at almost all the marks in the middle of the fleet. We have a competition with one crew from Great Britain because we’re always sailing beside each other.

There were many "retirements" during the races today because of the extreme conditions. In the above picture are the teams that retired. The second picture below shows the boats that retired. After the race we sailed in and quickly went to the protest room to fill out a form on time. There is a 90 minute time limit after the race. We then went to de-rig the boat and checked the jury room every so often to see if someone was there. We also had to tell the other boat that they were to meet us at the protest. During the protest we basically stated what happened, but it was dismissed because “the hole is too small and did not affect us in finishing the race”. We now have to find out what we will do about it.

Currently we are relaxing and saw a presentation about the up-coming European championships and 2011 Worlds.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Day 7

Today was the first day that we were able to sleep in. We were planning to wake up at 7 am but we woke up at 8:30 due to heavy rain. Eventually we got up a did our laundry. We originally planned to go site seeing but we decided to go the the Sailing Club. We checked our e-mails and got a lot of things out of the way.

As promised Peter Robinson (from GBR - the secretary and future president of the National British Mirror Association) helped us check our rigging. This included the tension of the shrouds and jib adjustment (something no one in Ontario has on their Mirror Dinghy). We had to do some quick grocery shopping because of lack of food.

At 17:30 all the participants gathered at a distant location on the streets of Pwllheli. From there we marched to the Club led by a Welsh marching band. Each nation got 2 flags to represent their country. Once we arrived at the Club we sung the Welsh National Anthem. Later on there was a presentation from the organizers which introduced the Worlds. There were also speeches from national and international sailing organizations.

Another part of the ceremony was fleet and waters blessing. The pastor collected waters brought by teams from their countries. The ceremony was concluded by a buffet.