Sunday, July 4, 2010

RS:X European Championships Begin in Sopot, Poland

This year, the Sopot Sailing Club in Poland is the host of both the RS:X Open European Championships and the RS:X Youth European Championships. The events are a big happening in this summer resort town, and are adding a little excitement to the normal happenings like classical concerts, rock and pop music festivals, and crazy parties.

The Sopot Sailing Club is packed with sailors. Club staff brought in rows of board racks for competitors' storage; tons of gear is stacked everywhere and sailors both young and experienced are here. I have been looking forward to the Europeans all summer as Sopot is my home venue after training here for a few years.

Although there has been a lot of fuss, the wind hasn't been cooperative. On one hand, the weather is unusually warm and sunny and has been for almost 1.5 weeks, great for all the Polish vacationers. However, for us, it means a lot of waiting and extremely light conditions of 3-5 knots with oscillating shifts.

Committee boats wait for wind near the Sopot beach

These conditions are my nemesis (and it seems like all the World Cup and other regattas have been plagued with these conditions all spring and summer) and I must have a perfect race tactically in order to place 2/3 of the way back in the fleet. I have a lot of trouble with pumping technique, and to make matters worse I have big circulation problems in my arms owing to tight shoulder and pectoral muscles (often a symptom of swimmers - a sport which I have been doing most of my life). It is almost impossible for my arms to recover well after a big day of pumping and I lack strength to really work the rig, which is ironic since I am surely one of the fittest sailors in the fleet. All I can do in these conditions is hang on, get good starts, and try to learn more about the technique.

Under Polish coach Roman Budziniski, I am getting help this regatta with a few of my Polish teammates. Yesterday after waiting for about five hours, we finally sailed two races in about 3-5 knots of wind. I had one 2/3 finish and another rear fleet finish after an OCS. In the second race, the start basically killed me (not counting the OCS) as I was on the wrong side of the line to where I wanted to go. However I am working hard on the pumping and trying to figure out the best way for me to recover, and this regatta, which isn't like I hoped it would be, will simply be a good opportunity to train, learn, and get better.

Top Polish sailor Przemek "Pont" Miarczynski gets an interview

Waiting for breeze in the hangars

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