Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hyères Olympic Week: Ready to Go Andrew Campbell

Photos Gilles Martin-Raget
Hyeres - S.O.F. - [From Andrew Campbell] The 40th annual Semaine Olympique Francais is primed and ready to go this Sunday after two weeks of battling Mistral and Easterly winds. The training over the last month has seen extremes of weather with weeks of 25+ offshore Mistral winds blowing cold air off the mountains from the north as well as wet and chilly spring Easterlies that jack up short waves. Both breezes make for challenging and entertaining wind conditions, and it seems as though they will continue through the upcoming regatta. Today, the day before the event’s official start has proven to be marred with almost unsailable patchy seabreeze. Tomorrow could be another buster with rumors of strong easterlies filtering through the boatpark pipeline.

After having spent hours of boat work fixing leaks, re-rigging lines and re-riveting spars to ensure my equipment will hold up for the regatta. As soon as I arrived on the training course two days ago my boom broke into two pieces at the first mainsheet block and I promptly turned downwind for the dock. Because the breeze was in the teens and the waves were up, the snapped aluminum spar was bit dangerous swinging essentially out of control off to leeward. As I neared the harbor entrance I lucked waving a coachboat down and pulled the boat and scratched my head for a while wondering how in the heck I could have broken a piece that I had just fixed, realizing that it was only 5 months old to begin with. So, 350 euros (about $550) later I put a new boom and new top section up yesterday to make sure I was going to last through the SOF.

The last minute details are all falling into place here though, I’ve spent the practice race day ashore sorting coachboat charter and I’ll run to the airport in Nice to pick up my coach flying in for the event. The action is non-stop and I’m excited to try a few of the new techniques developed over the last month as well as start getting a feel for the same boat at slightly lighter bodyweights in anticipation of lighter air in China in August. Please keep up to date for Hyeres here at I’ll be posting regular daily reports about my humble perspective of the Laser course.