17 budding champion sailors and their Coach embarked on their first UAE Nationals event of the 2016/17 season last weekend at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club. With 12 Optimist sailors and 5 Laser 4.7 sailors, team DOSC was the largest represented club at the event, including teams from around the UAE and Oman.
The weekend got off to a late start, due to a lack of wind in the UAE capital, but after a rules seminar ran by the ISAF officials (which was very informative and pitched well for the competitors), we managed to get out on the water after lunch for a 1400 start. All fleets were assigned to the same racecourse, “Bravo”, outside of the sheltered Corniche breakwater.
With about 8 knots of breeze and just a little bit of swell starting to build, the delayed start to the regatta proved to be just right for some of our sailors. Race 1 results included a bullet for Jamie Wilkinson and Noah Fisk clinching 5th place in the 45 boat optimist fleet. In the 24 boat Laser 4.7 class, Marie Oldeman took 2nd place, with Ben Skelton in 3rd and Jentl Hanemaaijer in 5th.
It’s worth mentioning here that just before this race, Tayte Stefaniuk (a new member of the DOSC Race Squad from Bermuda and also new to the 4.7 class after leaving optimists behind earlier this year) had just thrown his lunch box into the rib spilling the entire contents of his hummus pot on the deck. Jentl, after completing race 1, quite excited with her result came over to the coach boat, jumped straight in and managed to step in Tayte’s hummus spreading the mess and the smell around the rib (I now don’t like hummus).
The race committee managed to squeeze in 2 further races on Friday as the breeze increased and the swell built throughout the afternoon, with notable great results from…
Isaac Schotte – bouncing back from a disqualification in race one to finish 4th in race 2.
Mathilde Oldeman – scoring a 5th place in race 2.
Noah Fisk and Jamie Wilkinson – not finishing outside the top 10 across all three races.
Tayte Stefaniuk – Clinching 4th in Race 2.
Oli Hill – Displaying consistency, placing 3rd in race 2 and 3
…to name but a few.
All sailors really impressed me with their ability to analyse their sailing and identify ways they could improve just one small element for the next race, commonly resulting in improved results in the races that followed. Athos Trigkonis was a perfect example of this positive attitude, as he progressed from 26th in race 1, to 22nd in race 2 and finally a fantastic 12th in race 3! I would have put money on him getting a bullet if they ran a 4th race on Friday with progress rates like that! (not that I’m a betting man, of course).
Saturday’s proceedings were also put on hold due to a lack of breeze. However, team DOSC managed to make great use of the additional time, by fitting in our weekly Saturday morning fitness exercises. Our competitors gazed upon us in amazement (As did Oli Hill, as he has mysteriously been otherwise engaged/ injured or ill for all our previous fitness classes) as we took to the stage at the Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club to do our exercise routine.
By 1230, our sailors were given the signal to launch, with all racing this time, taking place on the Corniche inside the breakwater. Some more brilliant results followed, with ….
Jamie Wilkinson finishing 2nd in race 5
Mathilde Oldeman finishing 5th and 4th in races 4 and 5 respectively
Tayte Stefaniuk finishing 2nd in Race 4
Ben Skelton finishing 3rd in Race 5
In the prizes!!
Optimist Junior Fleet:
1st Place – Jamie Wilkinson
2nd Place – Isaac Schotte
Optimist Girls Fleet:
2nd Place – Mathilde Oldeman
Optimist Overall/Main Fleet:
3rd Place – Jamie Wilkinson
Congratulations to all our podium finishers!
Zoe Davies – For finishing 33rd overall in just her 2nd UAE Nationals event and battling through with a hand injury on Friday. Well done!
Sidney – For completing every race in his first UAE Nationals Event and surviving the daunting events of a protest hearing on Saturday afternoon. Well done Sid, hopefully the first of many events to come!
Jentl – For being the highest ranking DOSC sailor in the 4.7 fleet and being all-round hyper happy all weekend!
Tayte – Since converting to the Laser 4.7 just a few weeks ago from sailing “opti’s” (Bermudian for Oppie) he has worked hard in training and this paid off with an outstanding 5th Overall in the 4.7 class, well done!
Manolis – For his 3rd place finish in the Laser Standard class and also providing the team with some local knowledge to give us the upper hand sailing on the Corniche on Saturday morning.
Finally, a special thanks to all Mum’s and Dad’s for your help loading and unloading trailers, feeding us all and supporting your Race squad sailors all weekend! A great start to the new season and I hope everyone is looking forward to the next event!