Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Team Tunnicliffe at the Argo Group Gold Cup 2010

by Anna Tunnicliffe

What an amazing place to sail; and in some fun, but incredibly heavy and slow-responding (it's all relative) boats. Today was practice day for our team for the 2010 Argo Group Gold Cup. It was a picture perfect day with an 8-12kt south south easterly blowing over the hill into Hamilton Harbor, the site for the racing. It was warm and the wind was puffy and shifty making for some hard, but fun sailing.

This event is one of the final stops for the ISAF Match Racing World Championship title. All the top names are here competing for points towards their overall scores. Some of these names include: Ben Ainslie, Mathieu Richard, Adam Minoprio, Torvar Mirsky, Ian Williams, and the list goes on. We are quite in awe to be here racing with these guys, but are looking forward to sailing against them on the water. I have a great team sailing with me at this event. Molly and Liz are here, and we are joined by Dana Riley, and Sally Barkow.

The boats we are sailing are called International One Designs (IOD). They are long and heavy, and respond quite differently to the types of boats we have been racing recently; they take rather longer to respond to our commands than we are used to. It will take a while to get used to them. But I can guarantee they will be fun!

After finally getting everyone weighed in for the regatta and completing registration, we hit the water today around 2:15pm. The first hour of practice was spent figuring out who did what job on the boat, and then practicing the basic moves of sailing around a course. Once we had that figured out, we headed to the start line area and did some pre-starts with Lucy Macgregor from GBR, the only other female skipper at the event. At times we were all a little scared that the boat wasn't going to quite make the turn we wanted it to make, but luckily it did and we began to feel a little more comfortable with how the boat maneuvered.

At the end of the day, all the competitors met with the umpires, and then went to the opening ceremony, held just down the road from the yacht club at the Bacardi headquarters. We wrapped the evening up with a great dinner at Portafino's, a great Italian restaurant downtown. We've headed for home now and are going to get a great night's sleep before racing starts tomorrow morning. We are in the third group, so won't be racing until around 1pm. However, we will head over there a little early in order to watch some racing before we head out to try and learn some more.

We would like to thank Carmeuse and Trinity Yachts for their continued support of our campaign for the 2012 Olympics in London. We would also like to thank US Sailing Team AlphaGraphics (USSTAG) and its sponsors for their support.

Team Tunnicliffe
Argo Group Gold Cup