Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Women's Skiff Evaluation: Finale

Now that we are safely back in Canada we just wanted to send out a final word about the end of the trials.
There was no wind on Sunday, the final day of the event. We were only asked to fill out our final evaluation questionnaires for ISAF, and were given the rest of the day off. We got to walk around the deserted streets of Santander early Sunday morning. Afterwards, we did a five-hour hike through and around the main bay. It was spectacular.
We enjoyed dinner and some drinks with all the sailors remaining Sunday night. The girls from Sweden, Singapore, New Zealand, Australia, and a multihull sailor from Guatemala had a great night out. It was our latest night in Spain, and it happened to be a Sunday and the nightlife was limited.
The next day was a long day of sitting on planes and waiting in lines. Eventually we made it to Toronto, and back to school. We are not looking forward to getting back into reality. However the trip was an amazing experience and we would like to thank everyone who made it possible. We are submitting our final report to CYA this week, and unfortunately cannot disclose our final choices, but I am sure you will here soon enough! We are now as eager as ever to find out what class will be chosen, and hopefully the choice will go through in May.
If there is any information you want on any of the boats we can certainly share the lessons we learned.
Thank you for following us!

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Evaluation Day 8: Sun Sun Sun!!

Today greeted us with warm beautiful weather! However, very little wind. We tried to get a morning session in, but the wind quickly died and began to switch directions. We never made it off the launch ramp. We changed into shorts for the first time! It was up to 25 degrees when we went for lunch. We ate with the Brits, and Haylee from Australia. We all got a bit scorched.
We got to launch around 1:30pm, and headed out to the ocean. It remained fairly light, and we were just able to double trap upwind in the Aura. After two races we were suppose to switch into the FX. However, ISAF had one of the Spanish National team 49er sailors in the FX, to look at how heavier crews did in the boat compared to lighter crews. Emily switched out of the Aura, and Danielle remained in and sailed with a multihull sailor from Greece. After another two races Danielle and Emily got into the FX. We did our fifth and final race in the boat, happy to get in it for a second time before coming home.
After sailing we went shopping! Fillipe (ARG), Jen Glass (USA) and Hannah (SWE) from the 29erXX class invited us to go shopping to the Spanish version of H&M called Zara’s. We got a few items of clothing each. We both got uniquely Spanish dresses that we are quite excited about!
Then we had dinner with the 29erXX representatives in a very good restaurant, we will probably go back tomorrow. The dinning room was crowded with members of ISAF, the evaluation panels, as well as many of the skiff manufacturers and sailors.
Tomorrow is the last day of the event. We have heard multiple forecasts. Our notice board says that the day looks promising, but we have also heard that it may not happen. Our bodies are sore and beat up. It has been a challenge getting into so many different boats each day. We finally get use to one and then we switch. Everything huts, and we have never had so many bruises. We are looking forward to sharing everything we have learnt with everyone at home! This has been a great experience for us!

Woman Skiff Evaluation Day 7

This morning was similar to the past two days with very light winds. We postponed sailing for the morning. Yesterday Marie bought a volleyball and we decided to play a game of keep up. Initially it was just us, the Danes, and the girls from Singapore. However, the crowd quickly grew and some multihull evaluation sailors (from the Netherlands) and some of the Viper team joined us. Later, the girls from New Zealand (Molly and Alex) and a Frenchman also joined the game. We strung a piece of string across the parking lot to act as a net, and all the cars and vans could fit under it nicely! We played all morning until our briefing at 11. It was a lot of fun, and only slightly competitive!
At 11 we were told we had an hour for lunch and to get out on the water. We were sailing the 29er XX and then the Arup Skiff that afternoon on a similar format as yesterday. We were excited to head out onto the open ocean again for some more races. We started in the 29er XX and the manufacturers were sailing the other boat. We got out to the course and were greeted by close to 2 meter rolling waves, and a strong breeze. We started the first race and found it a challenge to keep up with the bigger hulled boats in the waves. We had to work the boat really hard. We had an ok first race, which was nice. In the second race we barely made it through the start line, but had a good first upwind. The breeze had picked up a bit. On our hoist we hit a wave that sucked the spin under the boat. This lead to a capsize. We got it up initially but could not get sorted in time for another capsize. The boat was really difficult to get up in the waves, and it kept rolling over. Once we got it up we had to head in because we were very tired and cold, having been in the water for over half an hour. Our spin halyard also got wrapped around the top of our mast, which was preventing us from hoisting.
All the boats are in fairly early today to rest up and repair for tomorrow. We haven’t heard official reports from anyone yet, but it looked like the smaller boats all had trouble today. There seems to be a lot of boat repair going on at the moment. We have a meeting in a couple of minutes, and it will be interesting to see how everyone managed today, and to hear everyone’s capsize stories.
Tonight, we don’t have any plans yet, but we will probably take it easy, we’re all very tired. Our Danish roommates leave in the morning, so we will probably have dinner with them.
Tomorrow, we expect medium wind conditions and warm weather. You can find out more about today and fun photos of our volleyball game at www.2016equipmentevaluation.wordpress.com . 

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Skiff Evaluation Day 5 and 6: On open ocean

Yesterday was a windless day in Santander. We spent the day postponed on shore waiting for breeze. It was cold and threatening rain, so we did not stray too far from the venue in the morning. In the afternoon we sat down to finish our discussion about the individual performance of each boat. First we discussed the rebel. The pros were its power, and sailing ability in a straight line. Some concerns were about the netting in the racks, and its maneuver ability. The boat seemed to through you forward when you went for a tack or a gybe making some transitions challenging. The FX was next to be discussed. It had some strength with the feel of the boat and how it sailed. Many of the sailors liked the sailing in the FX. However, there were weight concerns, potentially heavier crews having an advantage with the heavy hull. Finally we discussed the RS900. This boat has move the sail controls back to the middle of the wing to fix a problem the 49er sailors seem to have with the sail controls. This was a point of disagreement amongst all the sailors, some liked it, others did not. The boat seemed to sail well, but the load on the main sheet was in question. It was very interesting discussing the boats as many are still prototypes.
Wednesday night everyone at this event was invited to a reception at the yacht club across the harbour. Their hospitality was greatly appreciated. They treated us with wine and appetizers. The food was delicious… and so was the wine.
This morning the Denmark crew, Marie, and Danielle got up for a quick run. We ran along the water and were disappointed to see very little wind building on the ocean. However, we were excited, it was our first truly sunny day in Spain! The view was spectacular. We ate breakfast outside overlooking the water and watched the tide come in. Sailing was postponed until after lunch.
The wind began to build and plans were made for sailing outside the harbour on the open ocean. They set a course and we finally got to do some racing! We started the afternoon in the Rebel. It was one of the fastest in the waves and the breeze. We got two thirds behind the FX and the Spanish men 49er team, or the other FX. It was exciting to be racing with the Spanish men, although they were much better and faster then us. We found the Rebel challenging to maneuver on the start line getting stuck in irons and losing steering. After two short races in the rebel we switched into the RS900. We enjoyed the wing platform. After we got our maneuvers going we found we were the third fastest behind the FX and the Rebel. The boat was athletically demanding, and it kept things exciting. We had 4 great races in the RS900.
Tonight we have all been invited to a reception with the mayor of Santander. We are hoping for some food! We will be heading there soon.
The forecast for tomorrow looks promising! Between 15 and 18 knots, we should see some excitement.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Woman Skiff Evaluation Day 4

Today did not look promising when we woke up this morning. There is a sand bar in the middle of the bay that was fully exposed do to low tide. The bay was also glass. Sailing was postponed for the morning, and we got an opportunity to sit down with the ISAF women on the evaluation panel, as well as all the sailors, and discuss the boats. The women on the panel are very experienced sailors, and the three of them have a few Olympic Campaigns under their belt. It was an amazing opportunity to talk with them. There are also many experienced and talented sailors here; it was great to hear their thoughts on the boats as well. Most have a similar skiff background as us, a number of years in the 29er, and a year or two in the 29erXX. Some of the women are also coming from a 470 background and have more technical opinions. We only made it through three boats in the time we had, the ARUP, the Aura, and the 29erXX. In general there were a lot of similar comments. The Aura was a fun boat to sail, but there are some potential modifications that may need to be considered, such as the location of the crew’s trap wire. The ARUP is new technology that is exciting, but the boat is a bit small (12ft) and there are concerns about progression from youth classes. The XX is a challenge in the light wind, which can be exciting, but there are potential concerns that the combined weight will drop considerably over the next 8 years. There were a few contradictions amongst teams, but in general major factors seemed to be agreed upon. Light wind is in the forecast over the next couple of days and I look forward to discussing the rest of the boats.

View of the Harbour first thing in the morning

This afternoon the breeze filled in nicely. It started around 8 knots and built to about 12. We got to sail the Mackay FX first. This is a rig modification from the 49er. The same hull, spin pole, boards, and even spreaders. All that is different is the rig and sails. We found the hull big, especially during the launch. When we got it going we had a good time, and seemed to pick up maneuvering rather quickly. We had a few great gybes and tacks. Unfortunately, we had an awful tack that was caught on film! We are definitely getting more use to double trapping, and adapting our styles to each boat.
Mackay FX

The second boat we sailed was the Aura. This was the same boat that we sailed on the first day. We were a bit nervous getting in after a bad experience on the first day. However, we were able to handle it much more easily today. We got it going upwind and downwind really well. It is light and gets going quite quickly. This boat has racks rather then wings (which we are used to), and it was a bit difficult figuring the racks out. Especially through the tacks and gybes. We capsized twice in the Aura. The first time the spinnaker retrieval line got caught under the hull, and the capsize was on purpose to sort it out. Our capsize recovery was much easier then the first day. The second tip was on a hoist. The centerboard is very narrow, and the light boat was pitching in the waves (even though they were quite small) and Danielle fell off the centerboard once (not fun, the water is cold). But afterward we got it going again quickly. The sail was much more positive then our initial sail.

We are not sure what we are going to do tonight. We discovered last night not many places serve food until before 8. We just had a large snack to tie us over until then. We want to try something new! 
Let us know if there is anything you want to hear about more in depth! We will do our best to answer any questions. 
Emily and Danielle

Monday, 19 March 2012

Skiff Evaluation Day 3: 4 boats in 4 hours

Skiff Evaluation Day 3
Today was a beautiful but cold sailing day. There was around 15 knots in the morning with intermittent rain showers. We sailed the Hartley Rebel, and the RS900.  We started in the RS900, and it was wicked fast. The mesh was new and fun to try out. The boat was very forgiving and screamed downwind on the reaches. The sail area on the Rebel seems to be the largest, and felt good for us. Then we switched into the RS900. It was nice to be sailing with wings again. The boat felt really great. It is very similar to the 49er hull, and the wings are great. The sail controls are also set further back on the wing, which makes them a bit easier to adjust while sailing. We struggled as the wind came up on the bear aways, but after some quick instruction from one of the manufacturer sailors we figured it out. We hope to sail it again and work more on the maneuvers through the boat, and more on the bear aways.
We stayed in our sailing gear over lunch. We could not bring ourselves to but the cold gear back on after. It was a hot and cold day; the rain made it cold and sailing plus the sun made it warm. We both through on an extra layer for the afternoon.
The afternoon session was much lighter then the morning. We started the afternoon session in the 29er XX. It was nice to be sailing something familiar. The conditions were puffy, and in and out sailing. We were no longer double trapping consistently. We also got some great pointers from Jen Glass! Then we got to sail the ARUP Skiff. It was something new and completely different. It has a t-foil rudder that neither of us new exactly how to operate, but hopefully with some more instruction we will get it going next sail. The boat was very tippy, and responsive to our movements. The hull is the smallest of all the boats as well. We look forward to some more practice in the boat, and with the T-foil.
We are quite tired and sore after the full day of sailing. We spent sometime looking for a place to eat dinner and learned that most restaurants do not start serving dinner until 8 o’clock. That was a bit of a shocker for our starving bellies. We bought some food for tomorrow though, that should last us for lunch and breakfast for the next few days.
We are having a lot of fun, and look forward to sharing more with you in the upcoming days. There will be many more pictures up after the event!

Hartley Rebel

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Evaluation Day 2: Blow out

Today was a blow out!! Gusts up and above 25 knots, neither the sailor evaluators or the manufacturers sailors made it out. We spent the morning talking to all the manufacturers learning more about each type of boat. The RS900 is very similar to the 49er, but the hull is a bit smaller, and the sail controls are set further back. The FX is very similar to the 49er, it has the same hull and everything except the sails and the mast. Comments have been very positive for the FX from those sailing it. We talked to the New Zealand girls who have quite a bit of experience in the FX and they seem to really like it. The Rebel, the Aura, and the Arup Skiff are all very different from anything we were use to. The Arup skiff even has a T-foil. We are looking forward to more moderate winds to try them all out.
Our roommates from Denmark arrived last night. They are very nice and look forward to getting to know them better.
This afternoon we went for lunch with Haylee and got to know the girl from Switzerland, the girl from Germany, and the New Zealanders. We discussed with a local Spanish man about the selection process and as a group we all seem to be thinking the same. We also talked a lot about the kiteboard selection and evaluation that is happening next weekend here as well. We are excited to see the kiteboards in action!
It was pretty cold and to try and warm up after a static morning we tried to go biking. There are the rent-a-bike along the boardwalk, but you ha to put a 150 euro deposit on the bikes. Not really understanding what we were committing to we decided against it. . A group decided to go shopping but since it was Sunday we didn’t think much would be open. The Danish girls, Ida and Marie, and us decided to walk along the coast to the Palace Magdelena. It was absolutely beautiful!  
Just as we were walking back it began to rain. We are now soaked and trying to dry off. We are going out for dinner later tonight. Not sure where yet, but if the rain keeps up somewhere close!
Looking Downwind out of the harbour