Darwin Sailing Club

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Posted on 15 March, 2017

Laser & Youth Nationals report

Laser & Youth Nationals report

Laser Nationals and Australian Youth Championships – Adelaide

Attending my Laser Nationals was an exciting and rewarding adventure, made possible by the many levels of support from the NT sailing community. I thank all of you for your contributions.

After 4 long days of travelling, we arrived at the Adelaide Sailing Club with our laden trailer in tow. From the beginning we were made to feel welcome by the Vice Commodore, Malcolm, who showed us around their impressive facilities, and assisted with a secure lock up for our belongings.

The Welcome function was packed with smiling chatting people. The Commodore extended a warm welcome to all competitors, with a special mention of international sailors from Japan, New Zealand and France.They were pleased with the number of registrations reaching 215 and climbing. Of that total, over 100 were Radial sailors. It was great to meet up with Ken Hurling, President of Yachting Queensland, again. He is a great campaigner for developing Laser sailors, and was quick to link me up with the Tasmanian squad, for support during my Nationals. The Tasmanians were very accommodating, with two coaches, one for the 4.7 rigs and one for the Radials. I was very thankful for Shaun’s technical support and my acceptance as part of the Tassie Team.

The Laser Nationals was a week of diverse weather conditions in Gulf St Vincent, which invoked the standard comment of “It’s not usually like this!”Over the six extraordinary days the wind ranged from 3 to 20 knots, with a matching swell and wave action reaching 2 metres plus.

The first 3 days were used to separate the Radial Class into two fleets –Gold and Silver. My initial hope had been to make the Gold fleet, so I was a disheartened to end up in Silver. On regrouping my thoughts, I was keen to achieve a top 10 finish in the Silver fleet. I was obviously too keen, as I was over the start line on two separate occasions!The Tassie coach saw these days as a ‘glass half full’ as he considered it easier to adjust my timing for this, rather than me holding back and getting stuck in the fleet’s dirty wind. As the southerly wind grew in strength, up to 20 knots, so too did the swell and white caps!In these conditions I capsized 8 times in the one race.I was pleased to finish the race, even though it was outside the allowable time!

It was a thrill to compete alongside Ashley Stoddart – Australian Women’s Radial sailor for the Rio Olympic Squad, Zoe Thompson and other great female sailors. My personal highlight was earning a 4th place in my last Nationals regatta race. I was absolutely stoked with this this outcome, proving to myself I can achieve quality results.The Laser Nationals and Australian Youth Championships have strengthened my love of sailing the Laser, and have motivated me to further improve my physical strength and boat skills, to handle all conditions. Although not in the top 10 yet, overall I improved by about 20 places from last year, at Lake Macquarie, by coming 28th out of 48 in the Silver Fleet. http://adelaidelasernationals2017.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/2017_Aus_Laser_Champs_Radial.htm

In conclusion, thank you to our coach Tom Winter for your support during the Youth Championships, made possible by the backing of Sailing NT and DSC. Also, I really appreciated the company of my team mates Kieran, Kyle, Jed and Finn during the Youth Championships, for making me laugh and sharing this great experience. Last but not least, thank you to my family.

Paris van den Herik

Thanks to supporters of the Darwin Sailing Club