France. SNIM Melges Regatta: Top British sailor to sail in toughest European regatta
Monday, 10 April 2006
Britain’s top Melges 24 sailor is all set to launch his European campaign. As he heads to Marseilles to take part in what is probably the toughest one design regatta in Europe, John Pollard, who heads the Xcellent race team is hoping his successes on the race course continue.
John, who already this year has come second in Miami Race Week and sixth in Key West, finishing top Brit in both events, is to take part in the SNIM regatta held over Easter.
As John, who runs Westaway Sails based in Ivybridge, Devon, said: “The who’s who of yachting will be taking part. I’ll be up against all the top sailors including the Melges 24 world champion so I’m looking forward to having a go at him.”
John will be heading out a couple of days early to get in some two boat practice with a German team – headed by British skipper Andy Green who has competed in the America’s Cup.
And he’ll be continuing to work on his starts which in the past he’s admitted have let him down and ensuring his boat is up to speed.
He said: “It’s the toughest regatta in Europe. There’s a truly international entry list with competitors from Germany, France, Switzerland, America, Belgium, Holland and Monaco as well as Britain.
“It’s used by sailors as a start to the season.”
And for the first time in his sailing career, John will have to cope with on the water judging which will mean an instant decision by an international jury on any penalties or infringements and no right of appeal for competitors, a system he believes should improve racing for all sailors cutting out protest room decisions.
Also for the first time he’s been allowed to subscribe to an exclusive detailed weather reporting system, which will allow him to receive very detailed information about wind velocity and direction.
He said: “It will allow me choose the right sail and rig set up while still on land - iIt’s a lot harder to set up the rig on the water. It’s a very exclusive subscription service - I had to have a permit from the organising authority in order to subscribe. I think I’m the first British Melges 24 sailor to be permitted to use it.”
And he’ll be hoping the extra information will help him to deal with the variable conditions Marseilles is known for successfully.
He said: “Marseilles is known to be a very variable venue – it could be windy and choppy or it could be light. We’ll have a better chance now. We’re as ready as we can be. Our sails are fast - off wind we’re very fast having developed a new spinnaker. We’ve just got to go out and do our best on each day.”
John’s crew in Marseilles will consist of Charlie Hook, Rob Smith and Lawrence Crispin.
Last Updated ( Monday, 10 April 2006 )