Rocking up to Freo Sailing club on a Saturday is like going to Mars. I normally sail on Saturday and to see the carpark absolutely full was a surprise. I guess having the Dragons and 505’s putting their Worlds on at the same time at the same place was going to use up a bit of parking space.
A sunny day and sailors trying out their yachts in a breeze that was fit to burst out of its socks. It was all of 20 knots and bending around to the ssw as the day progressed. I was looking at the measuring process and understandably the method by which it is done. Even the scales showed a measure of ingenuity. 2 containers, a block and tackle and a scale by which the boat is hung. Great.
Meetings with various people sorted out my boat for the next day and I learnt a little more about the makings of the fleet that’s assembled here. For starters 10 world Champions are here and one bloke from America who was so happy with his luck, that after winning the 1999 world champs as a crew member, 10 years later he came back and won it as a skipper. Just to prove that it wasn’t a fluke, he did it again in 2016. Then there’s the chap Wolfgang; 5 world championships. Ummmn, just goes to prove, when you’re on a good thing, stick to it. But what I was glad to see was a solid leavening of younger sailors, both helms and crew with both men and women in the mix. This is not an old mans fleet. No way.
The bar tent was working hard, the sausages in rolls were on offer and people were starting to renew old friendships and possibly start new ones as well. The welcome was done well with a dress code that made me stop for a second, but shorts and a blazer works for the 505’s so fine, let it be. Thanks to the PRO Robin Owen who set out the days ahead for us and to Roger Pell, Mark Stowell and Andrew Cawley who variously welcomed us, introduced guests and helped with the agenda for the pre and world championships.
As the sou westerly whipped around our heels in the fading light, I wandered back to my car and thought.. it could be a good week to be on the water.
Daily Report by Rick Steuart