Bully’s Blog #8

Well we are halfway through the regatta and have some work to do. We have seen some improvements and are getting more competitive.

On the protest front we could not get our hearings re-opened. We were unaware that the protest list and times were displayed on an adjoining window to the display of the times that protests have to be lodged. We felt there was some ambiguity with having half of the protest displayed on one window and the rest on another. We checked regularly under the lodgement time window without realising the information was posted elsewhere. Without our kids or team being informed verbally and unaware of incidents on water, we did not attend the protests. We could not get them re-opened as new evidence was required and so unfortunately in the absence of a defence we were disqualified in both cases.

We had one other protest last night with Will And Hugo, they were involved in an incident at a mark rounding. They tacked under another English boat forcing her to alter course and they hit the mark. They took a 360-degree turn penalty under their own volition as you are required for making contact with the mark. Then looking back saw the English boat having trouble being swamped at the mark and realising they had fouled her took a 720-degree turn for that. The protest committee took the view that the time lapse (2 mins) was too long as the rules state it must be done promptly. So the boys were awarded a DNE penalty. I think the DNE penalty was awarded in lieu of the DSQ so the English sailors could claim redress for losing a lot of ground in an incident not of their making.

The food at the New Years Eve party the team attended.

The food at the New Years Eve party the team attended.

Sorry about the long-winded aspect of the protest, but it had to be explained. It is a real shame for the boys, but one of the coaching mantras I embrace is “we can’t change what has happened, but we can learn from it”. As I said to the sailors on day one, you can’t win the regatta on the first few days but you can lose it!

But as a coach I have to say that in both the re-opening inquiries and the protest, our sailors were very nervous but handled themselves with dignity and good manners. I was so proud of them, polite and when the results went against them thanked the protest committee and shook hands with protestors. Will’s protest was held on New Year’s Eve and he wished them Happy New Year. The results mean that two of our very best sailors who had done well are now well back in the field. But sometimes being a great sportsman is not about the result, class acts Will Cooper and a Issi Declerck.

Onto the racing, once again we saw an improvement. The kids are sailing well but the conditions don’t suit their size and technique. They are all embracing change and adapting all the time.

Alyssa and Mitch Kelsey have jumped into the top 10 — The Pride of South Australia!

Charlie Goodfellow and Toby Legg are moving up the scoreboard as well. As I said earlier Will and Hugo Allison are getting some good results across the line. The rest are evenly spread across the fleet.

Some of the Australian Team at the New Years Eve party.

Some of the Australian Team at the New Years Eve party.

We had New Year’s Eve at the Club Nautico Albatros last night and they certainly love their fireworks here. It was great to see all the kids from different nations mingling, we were caught on the hop as we had to do a team dance routine. The kids (and some comfortably imbibed parents) did a great rendition of “Nutbush City Limits”. We will have to work on this for future. Perhaps some AC/DC corroboree mix might be in order, I think we will leave the Angels “Am I ever going to see your face again” to one side for the moment!

Today is our lay day, New Year’s Day and we are having a BBQ at the yacht club (more meat) and then doing the Delta Run. Right where the Parana River meets the Rio de la Plata, the “Delta del Paraná” consists of several islands in an area of 320 kilometres long and 40-60 kilometres wide. The lower part (closer to the Rio de la Plata) is 20 kilometres to the north of Buenos Aires and is a main tourist attraction. There are several towns along its coasts, each with its unique features. Looking forward to chill out as tomorrow we recommence racing and it looks like we will have more wind. The forecast of more than 17 knots we eagerly anticipated has been downgraded to 12 knots. Then follow two more light and variable days to finish off the regatta.

Although some things aren’t going our way, a great experience for all.