Will Street

  • Princess Sofia ISAF World Cup Event Palma, Majorca 30-5 April

    We loaded the boats at WPNSA on a wet and windy day. One RIB and three 2.4's on the trailer and two RSX's and some laser masts/sails in the riot van. Then drove to Palma where we hoped it would be warmer, drier and less windy!

    26 boats entered, unfortunately for me, all our races were due to start at 1.00pm just as the sea breeze kicks in!

    After six days training and boat preparation in Palma I was ready for the practice race on Sunday. The wind was 15 knots so I decided to save my new sails and used the old ones. There were just nine boats racing although most of the fast guys were there. I had a good start but it was shifty and I got on the wrong side of the first shift. I rounded 5th and lost some distance downwind as I tried different techniques in the large waves. The wind got a bit lighter on the second beat and I made good gains and rounded 4th but lost a place just before the finish as I was not sure which way we were rounding the last mark, unusual course for a 2.4!

    Day 1 was blown out for us so no racing. Day 2 was a bad day for me with three races scheduled. I got a poor start and although I was going well I had to duck a long line of starboard tack boats near the windward mark. My downwind speed was not so good and I finished a very disappointing 14. A much better start in the next race with things looking good, one of my steering lines failed (where we had been doing some development work) and I had to retire. It could not be repaired at sea and so I missed the next race too. With only one discard a good overall place was not be possible and so my objective, from then on, was to focus on getting good starts and first beats which should lead to some decent race results.

    The wind was 6 to 12 knots on Day 3, Ideal conditions for me. I made good starts and first beats. Rounded the first mark 1, 2, 2. Great speed upwind (the fastest). Not so quick downwind, not sure why yet although all the others can let their rigs further forward. I made a poor leeward rounding whilst leading, probably nerves and lost concentration upwind in the last race (which finished about 6.30pm) and let a couple of boats past. I finished the day with results of 4, 4, 4, nice!

    Wind was about 16 knots in first race and 13 in second on Day 4. Still big waves. In the first race I made a good start went left, got a header towards the top and came in second at the first mark although I crossed a Dutch boat I didn't tack on top of him (paying back a favour from yesterday) and let the Dutch boat round inside so I was third round. I held my position down the run but made a poor leeward rounding (didn't get the jib and main in and not enough backstay) which let the boat behind get inside. Anyway finished 6th which was ok for now in that wind strength! Next race I got squeezed from both sides and made a poor start. Could not tack and was in dirty wind. That put me back in the pack although I rounded 8th. Just after the next leeward mark it got very tight and I had to tack away due to dropping into dirty wind only to find I needed to tack again as other boats were trying to avoid each other. I had to tack several times and dropped well back but recovered to finish 13th.

    On the last day we only had time for one race in 8 to 12 knots of wind with smaller waves than earlier in the week but still larger than in Portland Harbour! I got another good start and rounded the first mark 3rd. I was again slow downwind and lost places, partly due to a shift and finished 7th.

    Overall I was 10th counting a DNC. I leant a lot. New development sails are good and I was able to identify good settings for them. Before this event we made some tweaks to the rudder and rig which seemed to work well but steering was very hard work. The new development seat was a real advantage in these big waves but gave a few difficulties that need to be overcome. My starting was very good. I had great boatspeed upwind but poor downwind. I again lost time tacking and gybing. Next action for Hyeres is to identify why I was slow downwind and overcome. Future actions are continue to develop the seat and develop a jib boom which should reduce time lost tacking, gybing and mark rounding.

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At the age of twelve, I was diagnosed with Freidriechs Ataxia, a degenerative genetic disorder which affects my nerves and muscle co-ordination. I have chosen not to research my condition as I would rather live for today and focus on the life I lead rather than dwell on what might be.

My passion is sailing and my aim is to win the World Championships and when sailing regains its Paralympic status, a Gold Medal.

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NEXT EVENTS

These are the next events that I will be competing in. In the meantime I will be training at WPNSA at Portland.

Para World Sailing Championships Sheboygan USA, 16-22 September

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