Alex Hart - RS:X Open European Champs France

Brest is a nice coastal city in Brittany. I have had a few days training which got me used to the conditions here.

Like last year they are splitting my division (under 19 boys) into 2 equal fleets because there is 73 of us and that is to many for one start (even though it is a tiny bit less than last year). I wear a blue or black rash shirt supplied by the race committee that shows what fleet i'm in.

This morning an hour before the first race on the shore I broke an important piece of the sail tuning it because I pushed something to hard. It meant I had to buy a new sail because it would take too long to fix, and it was the only sail I brought over, even though the part is only 5cm long. It was frantic putting the stickers on and getting it measured in time but I got out on the water fine. The annoying thing is that I broke the exact same part yesterday morning doing the same thing, which took a sail maker apparently all day to fix. I'm pretty sure I will never make this mistake again now. Dad wanted me to get a new sail over here anyway so it was okay.

There were three races today, it was my ideal conditions for each of them - windy and not gusty. In the first race I had an amazing start and was about about 10th to the top mark (out of 37) but lost a lot over the race due to some silly little errors and a 360 I had to do for doing the tiniest bump into someone going around the bottom mark, so finished in 20th.

In the second race i had another good start, I was actually kind of lucky that I got clear wind, but some how managed to round the top mark in 3rd position. Again I lost over the course of the race due to doing 1 to many laps because I was lapping people at the back of the fleet and got really confused, and then by falling in because i felt so stupid. I'm not even going to say what i came in that race because I had the chance to finish mean as, but wrecked it. Luckily it taught me that i had potential to do well so managed a 13th in the last race after a bad start.

If I get it together tomorrow which is forecasted for the same conditions it is likely I will get top 10 finishes putting me in gold fleet. So at the moment i'm coming 19th in my fleet, doubled because there are 2 fleets i'm coming 38th out of 73. I need to be 18th or less in my division to make gold fleet. I don't want to put pressure on myself like last year to make gold fleet so i'm just trying to keep in a good head space and not think about racing, which is the thing i wished id done most last year. Because i'm not worrying about races this event is soooo fun so far, Ill get back to you after the second day of racing tomorrow.

Here's another update:

Unfortunately today the conditions weren't the same as yesterday. They were extremely gusty and marginally railing. These are my worst conditions, that I had to put up with last year in Holland. In the first race I had another short moment of glory. I had the chance to be at the top mark in the first hand full but tacked out of a huge gust too early. The race only got worse from then and after a lot of silly mistakes I ended up in 26th at the finish.

I had another absolute shocker in the second race and ended up in 28th.

Luckily I kind of got it together for the last race where I made no big errors and ended up in 14th.

Because of today I missed out on gold fleet by just a few places, at least i'm beating Australia. I have really good positioning on the starts but i'm not pumping early enough for the first few minutes to get into clear wind, and am them tacking for no reason sometimes out of a good gust, because I have to give way to people coming from the other direction. Luckily these are easy problems to solve because I can just start pumping a little earlier on the starts, and dip below people rather than tacking, I'm glad Dave pointed them out because I wouldn't have by myself.

The minute or so in that second race yesterday when I was pretty much in the lead, and today when I could have been one of the first to the top mark gave me a taste of what its like to be one of the fastest in the world, even though it only lasted a few seconds. It showed me that my board speed when its windy is really fast, so will be a good bench mark for everybody back home.

Xanthe from Christchurch is doing similar to me in the under 19 girls division, But fortunately Natalia from Auckland is coming second in the Womens fleet. Everybody is stoked for her, because she has been training really hard here in Europe for the last few months, and that work is paying off. Tomorrow the whole RS:X fleet has a gap day with no races so we can rest, so i'll have another update on Friday after racing.