This report is going to come in six separate posts just to build up the suspense.
1 The organisation ( I go into some detail on this as I think it is important to capture the info for reference for any future International MYA events)
2 The racing
3 The scoring system
4 How did I do?
5 Innovation in the IOM class
6 What next?
Let me start by saying this was a superbly run event. From the opening ceremony to closure, the event went off without any significant glitches and I would like to thank Real Club Nautico Torrevieja and all involved for all their hard work. Our volunteers in this sport never get the recognition they deserve and this team deserve heaps for maintaining a cheerful attitude under pressure over 5 days without a break. There were 1.5 to 3 minute gaps between races. The pace was relentless except when the wind switched 180 degrees every day between 11.30 and 1. Well done everyone. You are the ones who should have been on the podium.
The event was organised by the Real Club Nautico Torrevieja which if you are ever in the area, the club is well worth a visit. You enter from the street level up some stairs into a wide wooden clad reception and then through a sliding door down wide stairs to a huge terrace. You are surrounded by pictures of all the sailing stars of the club of which there are many including one IOM Champion just to show they are not bias to any one form of sailing. At one end of the terrace is a swimming pool with a gym behind it. Next to that is the all important bar which serves anything from coffee, alcahol to food. On the other side of the terrace lies a very large water sports centre. In front of the terrace is a huge marina with boats as far as the eye can see and to get to your boat or destination in the harbour there is a row of Skidoos sitting on a floating pontoon.
On the first day I sat and had coffee here and have to say it was a very pleasant experience as I took in the scenery and had to go back the second day just to make sure I had not dreamt the experience. The coffee was pretty good too.
So here was the venue for our opening and closing ceremonies. In the opening ceremony we had a quality barbecue and in the closing ceremony a set meal of fish or meat was served. This was a perfect venue to start and finish the event. Shorts and team shirt were the dress order. These events were live streams so no need to say any more.
The other lead organisation was the IOMICA
In the run up to the championships this year the organisers held a trial event at the location of the European championships to check everything worked and give the team a trial run. The organisers had been putting the team together for a couple of years and it showed in the efficient execution of the event.
Of course these events so not happen on there own and the club found a number of sponsors to help with the event
Town Hall Torrevieja
Spanish National Sailing Federation
Valencia Sailing Federation
Sailboat RC Croatia ( Tech support) One of their guys is a genius as putting the equipment together and connecting in the drone tech. They also provided prizes for the top three.
Agamed Water Company
Costa Blanca Government
Catering Fraternidad Nveva (Profits from the sale of drink and food used to sponsor adoption of small children from a small town in Sahara Desert
Real Club Nautico Torrevieja
The event was run with the following team (27 People in all)
Race organiser on site Fred Rocha
Race officer Pierre Gonnet The most stressful job because Pierre had to handle the wind switching 180 degrees or so at lunch time every day.
Boat man Pierre Marchand. Pierre was so quick to move and accurately position marks and on one occasion drew a round of applause for his skills from all watching
Finishers. (Written positions, audio of positions and video) Sometimes racing was so close it was hard to track the boats crossing the line.
Lead of International Jury plus team of 5
Fleet board and observer flags
Computer scorers in mobile home set up with Internet, 60 inch screen outside van to post heats, scores and observer duties al connected to a web site so competitors could track what was going on via their phone.
Loud speaker which could be heard across the site
Team of three to video the event
Drone operator for Gold fleet races
Commentator for the event. A special mention must go to Stuart Lockwood who held the microphone for 8 hours a day for 5 days. This was no mean feat especially as he had never done anything like it before.
Medical team on site (think St Johns Ambulance brigade)
Finally there were 6 ground crew to take on various roles. Launch boats, open and close the site each day, clear rubbish and generally help out
The Web site
Includes Entry list, Results, Notice Board, News, Multimedia
Layout of the site
This was a remote location and everything had to be brought in for the week including significant scaffolding to build the control area for the competitors. No mean feat for the organisers.
There was plenty of space for all the competitors to escape from the sun in the marques provided and facilities including loos, catering and most important lunch which was brought in each day and and cooked in a massive paella dish. Food included spaghetti and paella.
The pontoon platforms on opposite sides of the dock meant one could be used for launching and one one for retrieval whatever the wind direction so there was no fighting for launch or retrieval space.
Despite the site being closed when I arrived in Torrevieja three days before (which was my only complaint). I did find a training area where I could sail before with my feet in the water and in the shade (so my being locked out of the site turned into a huge benefit). At 30 degrees with clear blue skies, shade and beach was essential. Once the site opened, the facilities were perfect for running a European championship and provided for a spectacular and nearly faultless event.
Here are more pictures of the site.
Lets start with the basics. 2 of the 3 loos
Each country had their dedicated area in the boat storage marquees
The measuring tent and jury room
Spains version of St Johns ambulance. They were needed once when our French boatman Pierre suffered from heat stroke on the last day
The lunch area
Race control area on top left of the scaffolding
The canteen providing funds for children in a saharan village
East side of the competitors control area with Martin Roberts and Graham Bantock in deep discussion
The heat boards (essential back for the computer system). The coloured squares against the competitors names indicated observer duties
Mission control for all the electronic equipment.
The club terrace
The master display screen for competitors, heats, observer duty, results
Some of the clubhouse displays
One vital component missing, discovered after a protest on the last of the qualifying race was the lack of an official notice board. Kind of irrelevant considering all posts were on the web site and a WhatsApp group but the sailing instructions pointed competitors to a physical official notice board.
The control area providing magnificent views of the racing area.
One of the two video stations providing the you tube live stream of the event.