Tauranga windsurfer Veerle ten Have competed in two big fleet regattas in June and July - the RS:X Youth Worlds at Lake Garda, Italy and the BIC Tecno293 Plus Worlds in Quiberon, France.
The event started with no wind. On the second day, the Race Committee squeezed in one whole race in 4-5 knots, desperate to get everybody on the water. Overall the weather was very unstable varying from this 4-5 knots to above 30 knots on the third day of racing. In total 12 races were planned to qualify for finals but less races were done due to weather. Veerle sailed in total eight races.
Of the 40 strong fleet some of the board sailors had already competed in the adult class, it proved to be a competitive strong fleet.
The big question for Veerle was where she would be standing internationally. She was very keen to see how competitive she was and to find out about her strong and weak points to be able to work on when back home. Already in the first races Veerle performed well by finishing a respectable 16th and 10th. With the wind picking up over 33knots, she proved she can handle the strong winds.
Unfortunately, with not having trained enough in these winds, she overlayed too much as she got more into a survival mode rather than focussing on tactics. Her consolation was that Bruce admitted that even he would have been scared downwind.
During the event, she had some really strong starts which was pleasing although there is still lots to learn and to get more experienced. Further she was twice a bit unlucky by picking up weed around her fin which influenced her speed dramatically and in the last race she had a nasty collision at the start, which meant she had to work her way forward from being last. A disappointing 28th was the result. With dropping the 28th, Veerle finished overall 19th out of 40 women.
Then Veerle went then to St. Pierre – Quiberon in Brittany for the Techno293 Plus Worlds. The gear used during this event, a Techno board with an 8.5 sail, is the same as going to be used during the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Argentina and was therefore a very valuable experience. This event started slow as well with only four races done in the first three days. The wind conditions changed all the time. Mainly light winds with gusts up to 28 knots and big shifts. Interesting was that instead of the well-known windward/leeward course, new courses were introduced: a box course and a ‘M’/slalom course.
Veerle mentioned that she really had to get used to the Techno board with the 8.5 sail.
Not easy to make the change from RS:X to a smaller Techno board which is less stable.
On top of that the technique is quite different and Veerle was in this short time not always able to find a way to change it for the better.
In total the Youth Women sailed 11 races over five days. Veerle’s best results were a 12th and a 13th. Overall Veerle finished as 28th out of 50.
And then after seven weeks of windsurfing in summer conditions it was time to say goodbye to all the new friends and to go back to New Zealand. Veerle had an amazing and extremely valuable time in Europe and she took definitely enough tools to work with back home to perform even better at the next event.