The sailors and coaches turned up bright and early this morning for final preparations and the long awaited practice race. It felt like the event was about to begin. Bright sunshine and temperatures of around 24 degrees C were inviting, but the breeze soon picked up to over 20 knots and with a forecast set for it to build. By 10.30 we were all wondering whether there would be any sailing today.
The Italians had yet to have the opportunity get on the water in Fremantle and so were keen to launch their new Nautivella charter boats and we watched them as they set out from the shelter of the Marina. The coaches went to watch them from the Marina wall and it wasn’t long before more than half of those who had launched returned. The verdict of the GBR coaches was that “it is sailable, but only just and a capsize is likely”.
Coaches Neil Marsden and Martin Wriggley counselled their GBR sailing team and advised that “its the World Championships and there are good reasons to sail, and equally good reasons not to sail. If the event were underway and with races to count, we would all be going out racing, but in the conditions personal choices had to be made ”.
Crews were divided with one half of the pairing ‘up for it’ and the other ‘not so keen’. The next hour seemed to last for the duration of a day. The breeze built to gusts of 25 knots and we began to secure boats and took the gazebo down. Finally the postponement flag was replaced with abandon and racing was canned for the day. This gave a last chance for a few hours off before the event starts tomorrow.
The opening event was held at the sailing club with the Italian and French teams attempting to out chant each other. After a procession of Countries, in Alphabetical Order, into the Fremantle Sailing Club building we were entertained with the usual speeches and native aboriginal dancing. Two representatives from each Country were invited to join the dancers and Gemma Keers and Izzy Davies gave a convincing performance – imitating a Kangaroo. This was followed by a sailors dinner attended by over 450 competitors.
The World Championships has begun!
Tomorrow we will go sailing!