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NP Team Rider Emma Wilson Finishes 2nd at the RS:X Youth World Championships in Lake Garda

Lake Garda Youth Worlds 2017

The RSX Youth worlds were held in Lake Garda this year. It was my last time I could do it, so I was really looking forward to it! I had never been to Lake Garda before but everyone I spoke to told me how incredible it was and how consistent the wind was.

Those people, were not wrong, it was an incredible place, with huge cliffs either side, and when the wind was doing its thing, it was amazing! I would definitely go back!

Obviously, when the first day of racing came, we had no wind all day and rain, the racing was called off about 5 o clock and we all got ready for the next day!

 

Wednesday, June 28th, I think a day most of the competitors will remember for a long time! After getting up at 5.30 to get ready for our 8am scheduled start, we were held onshore for about 6 hours waiting for some wind. Finally, we got a bit of wind from the south, not the “ora” but about 6-10 knots with quickly decreased. All fleets managed one race, our race was about 2-5 knots with very shifty wind, I managed to get a 2nd place which I was pretty happy with! Luckily, I got in just in time before the first squall of the day hit us, 45 knots, onshore wind, kit flying everywhere!!

Then for the rest of the day we were held on shore to see if we could get another race in, after another squall they cancelled us for the day and we went home, hoping for a nice early night. About a 1 hour later I just got out the shower when the boys from our team were franticly knocking at our door, they said “The British rack has flipped”. To be honest, I didn't believe them, I didn't think it could be that bad, I thought, yeah, it’s pretty windy but there’s not much we can do about it! Anyway, it quickly turned out to be much more!!

 

The next day we arrived at the boat park, people were still sanding boards and epoxying them together, our scheduled start hadn't changed and most people were out for 10am, I think! Finally, back to normal lake Garda, we had 3 planing races in the “ora”, I had a good day, 2,2,1 Katy Spychakov from Israel and I, were neck and neck all day! The next day was pretty similar, slightly less wind, but still 3 planing races. I managed to make less mistakes and got a 1,1,4. This put me in the leading position going in to the final day!

The final day, was new for everyone! The RS:X class were trying out a new format where it was basically, winner takes all, they have 3 knock out races, in the quarter final, the people from 3rd to 12th position race, and then top 5 from that race, join overall 2nd place in the quarter final. Then the top 3 from the semi-final join me in the final! It was a crazy day. I watched both the quarter final and the semi-final, trying to work out what I was going to do for my race. Finally, after about 2.5hrs of waiting, it was my turn, we had a reaching start - which was also new!

3,2,1, Go! We were off, or that’s what I thought, then a load off whistles and the sound of coach boats, someone was over the line early and would be instantly disqualified, to be honest I didn't know who it was, I was so scared it was me even though I had a pretty average start. It was Katy Spychakov from Israel, she had to sail in and settle for 4th, harsh… Anyway, on to the next race just 3 of us left now!

My start was ok, but the wind had dropped massively, it was now marginal planing so we were pumping the whole reach and then whole downwind. I managed to get in 1st position around the first mark. Then I decided to go off the fin (not use the daggerboard) because I thought there was enough wind, it was very marginal and both the Israel and Japanese girl managed to get inside of me. I kept trying and did finally get in some more wind, but an underlay at the windward mark meant Maya Morris from Israel had gained a huge lead. Also, the Japanese girl had now overtaken me! All I was focusing on that last downwind was trying to catch up, I managed to find a bit more wind, and just overtook the Japanese girl, literally on the line! I finished in 2nd place.

Huge congratulations, must go to Maya Morris from Israel, she performed when it really mattered and executed a super good race! Also to the Japanese girl for 3rd place! And to Katy Spychakov for 4th, we are great friends on and off the water, and what happened in that race was unlucky, all week we had been fighting it out with the closest racing I have sailed in. A super hard end for her after a great week, but we will both be back!!!

 

I was disappointed, it was frustrating that I made those mistakes, in the race that I knew, I didn't want to make mistakes in! I wanted to win so bad, but that’s life and I have learnt so many lessons from that week of racing. Now I am so determined, for my next competition, The RS:X Senior World Championships in Enoshima, where Tokyo 2020 Olympics will be held. I am excited, and training harder than ever.

I would like to say a massive thank you, to my parents and UK sport who have made this all possible! And last but not least, NP, the comfiest and warmest wetsuits, perfect for all climates!