Prior to the event we had 3 days training with the Japanese team, experiencing their strict rules and morals. They provided us with good competition during the practice racing, and we got to test our skills in all wind ranges over our training block. We used the three training days as good preparation for the regatta, working with our coach Dan Smith and the Japanese coaches to process racing skills as a high-performance athlete. The Japanese have a very hard work ethic, doing 3 sessions on the water each day and doing fitness on top of that. They were very full days, of training on water and keeping up with boat work on our charter 420.
We had one break day two days before the regatta started, which we used to visit a traditional Japanese temple, where we explored and did our morning fitness with the team. We also got to visit a natural onsang which is a traditional spa where they draw the spring water out of the ground and the water temperature sits at 45 degrees. The rest of the day we used to finish some school work, rest and plan our racing.
Day 1 of racing was windy ranging from 16 – 25 knots, it was a huge day having 7 hours on the water completing 4 races and 12 hours at the yacht club. We had solid results that day finishing with a 5, 1, 5, 2. That night we had a dinner at the yacht club after racing which we used to get to know the Japanese team.
Day 2 of racing was moderate winds but still a tricky day on water due to big wind shifts and different weather patterns. Our results were not as consistent, we had a 7, 13, 6. It was a big day because we were held on shore for 4 hours before racing. We were scheduled to do 4 races, but we ran out of daylight and had to finish on 3. We took away a lot of valuable lessons from the days racing.
Day 3 of racing was a very big lesson for us. We went into the day first girls and 6th overall, the forecast was 30 knots and raining. The race committee sent us out in a moderate but building breeze. The wind increased before the first start, so we had to change boat settings to de power the rig. Unfortunately, we capsized during the process which resulted in our mast falling out. We worked as quickly as we could in the water to detach the mast from the boat while it was upside down to minimize damage. There was minor breakages to the mast and hull which lead us to being unable to race that day. Because of this we slipped back to third girl and 14th overall and learnt some very hard lessons.
We had an amazing time in Japan and want to bring back to Australia the Japanese work ethic, respect and sportsmanship. A massive thanks goes to the Australian coaches Dan Smith and Belinda Stowell, and to the Japanese Sailing Federation for hosting us.
We would also like to thank the MYC Foundation for supporting us and making opportunities like this possible,
Lily & Matilda