June 07, 2024

AUS 33 Mixed 470 Helm

By Ashlee Daunt

 

After 9 weeks away, Brayden and I have returned from our European adventure proud and excited with the list of learnings we have been fortunate enough to bring home. For us, the past 9 weeks has ticked off a lot of firsts:

 

  • The first time competing in open international 470 events;
  • Purchase of our first European boat;
  • First Sailing World Cup events; and
  • First chance to line up against world champions.

Our goal for our trip was to gain as much experience and learn as many hard lessons as possible against the best teams in the world. This, we believed, was a realistic goal and one that was achievable given our lack of previous experience in such a high-quality fleet.

With the support of everyone back home, we embarked on our journey to Barcelona to setup our newly acquired 470, Lewis, before heading to our first event – the Princess Sofia Trophy in Palma. We would then head on to compete in the French Olympic Week in Hyeres, France as part of the qualified nations fleet and the Open 470 Europeans in Cannes, France.

Each of the regattas had their fair share of variable conditions and challenges. Palma was unlike anything we had sailed in previously. It was bay sailing but with swell that would stand right up when the conditions permitted. A mixture of short, sharp chop and steep swell combined with varying wind conditions meant for a regatta where all round experience and skill succeeded. Hyeres was a windy event with bay chop and an ominous mistral lurking throughout the event which was intimidating but also thrilling for us first-timers. Finally, onto Cannes for the Open Europeans, where we were served light, shifty gradient breezes, and flat water (plus some warmer weather!). This was our best event given the conditions were similar to what we had been training in back home. As our final event, we were really able to apply some of our learnings, becoming more aggressive on the start line, focusing on doing the simple things right, and fighting hard for each and every place – even in some races at the top of the fleet!

Leading into Paris 2024, these were the key events for the 470 fleet and, safe to say, was a steep learning curve for us. The calibre of the fleet and the starting sequences, particularly, have made us respect the fleet and our competitors even more – the skill and finesse is admirable. Over the three events we continued to improve but acknowledge most of our work will need to be undertaken back home over the next 4-5 months before our Australian Summer Events and Europe again next year.

Our results:

  • Princess Sofia Trophy regatta in Palma Mallorca, Spain – 60 out of 68 boats
  • Hyeres French Olympic Week in Hyeres, France – 26 out of 27 boats (Qualified Nations fleet only – top 15 in the world)
  • Open 470 European Championship in Cannes, France – 39 out of 46 boats

Join us along our journey on Instagram @ab_sailingteam and Facebook @AUS 33 Daunt Sailing Team.

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