Dear Friends and Supporters…
Unfortunately today is Thursday and yesterday was not just a bad dream but reality, a reality that Benji and I have to accept. Even though the World Championships are not yet over, the 5 Olympic spots that 17 nations were fighting for have been taken. Bermuda, Japan, Greece, Canada and Italy have qualified for London 2012. The pain of failing to make the grade was particularly severe since we were the next in line. We came 6th out of the 17 nations bidding for a place. It was within our grasp but we just didn’t manage to step up high enough to the challenge. It all boiled down to the last day of racing in the qualifying series of the World Championships; we just didn’t sail well enough when it counted the most, that’s the brutal truth.
I would like to thank everyone who made our campaign a success. A success because even though we did not make it to the Games, we gave it our best shot, a really good shot in a very short amount of time. I would also like to re-iterate that this campaign would not have been possible without the support of EC Language Centres, CISK EXCEL, Malta International Airport, Malta Sailing Federation and many others. Yet it was more than support; EC, Farsons and MIA not only believed in our sailing campaign but more importantly they believe in the importance of investing in sport, of investing in Maltese society. Would that more Maltese companies and corporations invest in local sport, art and culture; the sky would be the limit. With a bit of inspiration Malta as a whole can achieve beyond our wildest expectations.
Although we are one spot from qualifying, and with this being a crucial day, our boys are still brimming with confidence and courage. In fact they have good reason to; if you take the results up to now Malta is 17th nation out of the 32 nations represented in this 49er World Championship. If this were to have been the only qualifying event for Olympics 2012 then we would be with the qualifying nations. The reason is that Malta is currently beating nations that had already qualified in Perth in December. That’s how close they are!!!
Anyway we can’t be looking back, we have to look forward and encourage our team to find the inspiration to achieve what we know they can. The weather for Day 3 is going to be a bit fresher than yesterday with the breeze forecast to be 13-15 knots and this could well be a good thing for our boys who are trained for the stronger stuff. They are focussed and with some help from the wind Gods and support from their Malta and overseas fans, they can do it.
Racing is now over and held on a beautiful day with a steady nw’ly 8-10 knots of breeze. The racing was perfect and intensely exciting. Our boys had a mixed set of results with a 17th in race 4, a 6th in race 5 and an 11th in race 6. This leaves them 27th out of 74 in the fleet. More importantly it puts them in 6th place out of 17 nations trying to qualify. The trouble is that there are only 5 places available. Of the nations looking to qualify the leaders are; Bermuda followed by Japan, Italy, Canada, Greece and Malta. We are not there yet and everything will depend on tomorrows’ racing. Following hot on our heels are Russia, Uruguay and Chile.
It is riveting stuff with nail biting moments seeing these superfast skiffs screaming downwind, crossing gibes with inches to spare. Our Malta sailors are mixing with the very best in the world and able to compete with them. We are very nearly there but not quite yet. They need some luck and they can make it.
Our boys have been drawn in the Yellow Group today and will face a mixture of already qualified nations and, more importantly a number of the nations attempting to qualify. In order of importance the nations yet to qualify in their group will be; Italy, Canada, Russia, Virgin Islands, Uruguay and Estonia.
Of course there is a feeling of great excitement and it is quite likely that after today’s racing we’ll know whether we’re in the running or not. As things stand after Day 1 Malta stands 25th out of 74, and 6th country of the 5 needing to qualify. The breeze remains light at around 6-8 knots but seemingly more stable than yesterday. The good news is that our boys definitely have the speed, and that should give them the confidence they need to get ahead of these champions. A bit of luck and some good tactical calls on the race course is what we need now. They will start racing at around 1pm.
More to follow.
Today we sail in yellow Fleet. Forecast for today is 10 to 15 knots, perhaps picking up to 20 in the afternoon. Wish us luck
You can watch the action live here: http://www.49erworlds.org/
On the water in Zadar