Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Update from Opti Europeans in Poland

LISOTers Drew Gallagher and Megan Grapengeter-Rudnick are on the 4-person Team USA at the IODA Europeans in Kamien Pomoroski, Poland (in the very northwest corner or the country, and a few miles east of the German boarder). They are being coached by Team USA Coach Panic.

The other two Team USA members are FAST's India Johnstone and Will Marshall. And Vladi Estoup, as the lone team member from Argentina, is also being coached by Panic. Vladi sailed with LISOT at Orange Bowl, so he's an honorary member of Team USA.

Megan, Drew and Vladi arrived in Europe on June 26 and spent the weekend touring Berlin with Janet, Michele, Panic and Vladi's dad, Alejandro. They all drove at the venue - a 3 hour drive from Berlin - for training with Panic beginning on Tuesday, June 29.

The practice race and opening ceremonies were on Saturday, July 3rd, and racing began on Sunday, July 4th with two races in very light air - mostly 5-7 knots.

Unfortunately, the first two days felt more like Long Island Sound than the Baltic, and there was no racing on Day 2 due to no wind.

Day three finally saw some real wind: 15-20 in the morning dying down to 10 by 5pm. The RC got in 3 fantastic races - with superb race courses, all with GPS tracking. The conditions are extremely shifty and the competition very stiff.

Day four saw modest wind in the morning, with a 1 hour earlier start to attempt another 3 race day. The sailors were very aggressive, resulting in many general recalls and black flags. With all time that the starts took, and a breeze that started dying around 2pm, the RC stopped racing at 4pm with two races completed for the day - 7 for the series.

Megan had a good day with a 10th in race 6 and then a bullet in race 7. She is essentially tied for 8th, just 12 points out of 2nd.

Drew had two strong races and moved way up from 39th to 18th.

Current results after 7 races (1 throw out).

Girls Results (101 total sailors):
10 - Megan
53 - India

Boys Results (146 total sailors):
18 - Drew
47 - Vladi
92 - Will

This is the only IODA regatta in which boys and girls sail in separate fleets. Europeans countries get 7 slots, and non-European counties only 4, hence the very diverse 41 countries from New Zealand to Estonia, Japan to Russia, Brazil to Israel.

The "yacht club" is really a temporary village set up on the banks of the lake. But they built a full stage, 2 jumbotrons to watch the racing, and every boat has a GPS for live tracking during the racing.

I'll upload some video to you tube - the open ceremony entertainment was great, with some pretty wild entertainment (singing, dancers, etc.).

The venue has a very high tech set up for such a low-tech 1000 year old town. There are 6 big screen TV's to watch the live GPS tracking as well as live video of the start, mark roundings and the finish, from the race course.

Sunday at breakfast everyone wanted to use Janet's iPad tocheck the final scores from the North Americans. There was almost as much buzz as when Germany beat Argentina at the world cup (Panic was not happy).

A few parents borrowed a really old 18 foot sailboat, "Fudi" to go watch the races, and we've actually been sailing it every single day! This could be the most actual sailing I've done in years!

Some pictures on the Team USA Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/?ref=logo#!/group.php?gid=122157424493678

I'll upload more pix when I get a chance (the hotel wireless is slow because every single kid - no matter what country they're from - is on Facebook each night!).

It's near midnight and it seems like the sun just went down (it stays light really late. at 10:45pm here it's like being 8:45pm at home).

This is a really long 6 day regatta - a real marathon. 4 day down, 2 to go!

Plenty of time for Megan and Drew to put in some top races and take home some silver.

Janet as team leader also just spent the past 4 days in international opti measurement class. Why it takes that long to learn how to measure a little 8 foot boat I'll never now. But she's now certified.... or certifiable.

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