Dazed with jet lag, I exited the airport in Nagoya with Olympian and Finn Silver Medalist Jonas Høgh-Christensen and made our way straight to the sailing centre in Gamagori for what can be described as one of the most challenging events for everyone on and off the water. Race committee, sailors, coaches, commentators and organisers all being pushed to their limits due to the unpredictable weather conditions constantly changing the schedule of racing along with the endless rain and Typhoon looming ready to reek havoc.
If you were to ask anyone who was in Gamagori for the World Sailing Series how they would summarise the event in one word it would be “Wet”.
Copious amounts fell during the build up to the event, throughout the event and only increased as Typhoon Lan hit.
Amongst the challenging conditions emerged the champions across the 8 fleets, with some amazing battles only being decided in the final metres to the finish line. A fantastic opportunity for utilise this opportunity for learning more about the culture, climate and conditions that they will face in the 2020 games.
Mass rainfall – ensuring rigging, racing, waiting was a wet affair and when the sunshine finally makes an appearance will be a blessing to many. Even the light levels, with the sky being grey the water looking grey created a merging point where trying to distinguish where they separated was nearly impossible.
Light unstable winds – both in strength and direction presenting head scratching moments for the race committee, sailors and coaches. If it wasn’t just a lack of strength in the breeze it was the movements in the wind of 30+ degree shifts created a challenging gauntlet of a racetrack.
Home comforts – firstly dealing with the jet lag for many, then adapting to the culture with regards to food and language. These all remove the very comforts we rely on to rest and recover, feel at ease but more importantly keep us in a positive mind-set to endure tough times.
Typhoon Lan – caused racing to be cut short to enable teams to get pack up their kit and get themselves to safe havens within the area. The winds radically increased along with the rain and battered Japan throughout the night and day with no one certain of what they would find or be impacted by.
This event certainly will be one everyone will remember for a long time and like myself has been one that has ticked numerous things off the bucket list.
Gamagori kicked started the new World Sailing Series and will next see these sailors head to Miami in January for the second event which leaves the question of what conditions will we have there?
A great fun event with an awesome team that pull out all the stops to ensure we all perform at the best of our abilities. Debriefed and analysed after each day and event enables us to continually develop and improve.
3 events pretty much back to back alongside Alec Wilkinson in the studio have been great and of course being joined by Jonas and Andy Rice in Japan provided copious amounts of entertainment.
A huge well done to all of those sailors that walked away with medals and of course massive praise to their coaches and support staff.
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