Skip to Content

Xanthe Bowater reports from Sopot, Poland

Hi to you all and welcome to the journey. Sorry it has taken me a few days to finally get you up to date with what is happening,but it has been a busy and fairly tiring time. This last month has been a bit of a roller coaster for me having fractured my ankle at hockey, but with great medical support I have healed exceptionally fast with the plaster coming off last Tuesday. Although this was a blow to my training program I have been going to Contours almost everyday and with great physic support from Vanessa and Chealsea I am well on the way to 100%.
A 3 day training clinic in Auckland with coach and mentor Bruce Kendall the week before we left was an awesome opportunity for me as he has got so much valuable knowledge.
The last 4 days before we left were spent packing sailing gear and school books and fine tuning the last few details of my trip

We had a 10 hour flight from Chch to Singapore on Friday morning and after a 5 hour stopover in the very comfortable Changi airport we had another 12 hours to Frankfurt.
Singapore Airlines is great and I managed lots of reasonable sleep and even had enough leg room for my long legs!!
Early morning into Frankfurt and we picked up a new Peugeot- very nice, but then we had the 1100Km drive to Sopot in Poland. Thank goodness we had a GPS, but even she managed to forget about roadworks on the autobahn and so we were lost a few times. The autobahns are amazing and at times we were driving at 150km/hr and still cars would pass us like we were stopped still.
We arrived to our accommodation at 11.30 that night, to find that they were not expecting 4 of us -but that was sorted with hand signals and broken english and we would have slept anywhere by then.
Down to the Yacht club at 9.30am to collect gear and get ready for sailing.
Windsurfing racing is amazing here, the club is setup for boards first and some other small yachts second. It is a hotel and restaurant with lots of good hire equipment and very busy learning programs.
We sail off the beach into the Baltic sea, which has very little tide and is not very salty. The racing is set up so that we sail a slalom like course and finish just off the beach, so with deck chairs set up for the public and flags flying it is a great spectacle to watch.
There is very little wind at present which is good and bad.
The good side is, that with having just got the plaster off my broken ankle last week, the light winds have given me the chance to ease into windsurfing with not too much pressure on it.
The bad is, that it is very shifty and also means that there is lots of really physical pumping required.
We woke this morning to another beautiful day, it was 27 degrees on the way to the club but no wind again! The last race of the regatta was held in under 5 knots and wind shifting all over the place. We had a short , 15 min, slalom type course with a finish about 10 metres of the beach, very spectator friendly but hardly good sailing, this is what is required from sailing now- it needs to be more about the marketing and less about good racing.
As the prize giving was held the sea breeze came in and with a nice clean 10 to 15 knots, more wind than we have had for any of the racing,. dad, Fenella, one of the british girls and I went out for a few hours sailing
With the regatta finished and 3 days sailing behind me, I am disappointed with how things have gone here but without making excuses it has served the purpose that i entered this event.
I have very quickly had to get back up to regatta fitness in a very lovely place, The level of the sailors here are some of the best in the world with sailors mostly from the Baltic area.
It is easy to stay in NZ and be at the top there but the reality is that I have no where near the skills and experience that these windsurfers have and to make it harder they are at the hight of there sailing season and fitness, so it is really important that we get over here and sail with the europeans as much as possible.
I will stay on in Sopot to train for the next few days, and we have been given 2 brand new RS one kits to train on, so with dad as my training partner it will give me a pretty good chance to get some fitness back.
The language barrier makes it hard sometimes to mix with the other sailors, but the regatta instructions and management is in english so that makes it easy.
It is a good reminder of how we head of to these countries without any knowledge of their language and expect them to understand us, they generally do but I need to make a bit more effort sometimes to learn the language.
Sopot is really beautiful, it is sunny and warm, it is the holiday spot for Poland so very busy and interesting. It is also really cheap here so even better reason to stay and train for a while.
I will update you all in a week as to how it is going over here but before I go I would like to say a big thank you to the team that made this possible.

Leighs construction; Lyttelton Rotary club; Christchurch Kiwanis; Koller and Koller; Lyttelton, Mount Herbert Community board; Mitre 10 MEGA, Ferrymead; House of Travel Merivale; Roger Woods; Independent Providores; Naval Point Club Lyttelton; Seventh Wave; ASP; Contours, Ferrymead; ATF Services; Carl Taylor Homes; Skullcandy; Groundswell Sports; Clarrie and Jillian Rose; Dick Brown and Dad and Mum of course.

Thanks again for all of the support,

Xanthe

| DeepFried.TV - forums - news | Windsurf.co.nz - webcams - winds | wiNZurf - locations - archive |