As pre-event training at the Optimist World Championship 2017 in Thailand draws to a close, we spoke with several coaches who arrived early and are very glad they did.
It was an insightful week for Ireland coach Javier Figueroa, who got his team on the water off Pattaya's host venue, the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, five days early. “It is going to be a very technical course,” he said. “There is a lot of chop coming in many directions and strong current.”
Baltics coach Rene Abner had one word for local conditions. “It is tricky, really tricky. We do not have the same kind of conditions where we come from, specifically strong currents and tide and low wind with big waves."
Monaco’s coach Margaux Meslin similarly admitted needing time to adjust to local conditions. “It is really complicated for us. In our home, there is no current or light wind like this.”
“We are glad we came early to adapt to the temperature, the current, and the wind,” said Hungary’s coach Bence Szalontai. “In the Adriatic Sea, there is one-third the current here and, at home in Hungary, only lakes with smaller waves and no shifty winds. We have to focus on these things that are uncommon for us. We still have a little more to learn.”
Abdul Aziz Al Shidi of Oman said his team has spent the last week getting accustomed to not just the current, but also the humidity, the occasional rainstorm, which is rare in Oman, and the different food.
Over the past four days, most days have been sunny, with wind averaging 10-15 knots the first few days, then dropping to 6-9 knots yesterday and even lighter on the last day of pre-event training. The forecast suggests there should be stronger winds later this week, as well as a few rainstorms.
Fifty-one countries, over 80% of the record-breaking 62 countries registered for the event, arrived early to train.
Tom Whitcraft, President of the Organising Committee said, “It has been wonderful welcoming so many sailors to Pattaya and I am impressed with the speed those here early have adjusted to the Thai wind and sea conditions.”
On July 12, the regatta will officially be declared open, with individual racing to begin the next day.
The 2017 Optimist World Championships is organized by the Royal Varuna Yacht Club with the endorsement of the Yacht Racing Association of Thailand and the Junior Sailing Squadron of Thailand under the International Optimist Dinghy Association. This event has been supported by strategic partners include Pattaya City, the Sports Authority of Thailand, and the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau. Co-sponsors include The Pizza Company, Apollo (Thailand), Thai Airways, and True Corporation.