Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hyères- A Breath of Fresh Air

From start to finish- Hyères was so much more than I expected.  The only time I had ever heard of the village was in a book about Robert Louis Stevenson, Under the Wide and Starry Sky.  He and his wife, Fanny, spent a few years there due to his poor health.  After just one week, I think this magical peninsula- the furthest south of any part of France-  holds the ability to cure most of what ails us as humans.  From the moment we got off the train, the air was fresher, the people warm and friendly and the water an amazing blue and flat even though the strong winds from the east and north continued to blow up to 25 and 30 mph.  The air was dry but the smell reminded us all of home- we were finally at the beach.
 Our morning train ride and taxi out to the beach were uneventful.  Max, the German sailing coach, had to drive towing lasers and a coach boat through Germany, Switzerland, and most of France.  After a long travel day, it was great to see familiar faces and get ready for our two days of practice.

Camille and Pete had two days of on the water training and preparation before the regatta.  We have all decided that this should be status quo for any big competition.  It was nice to settle in, have boats rigged and be familiar with the water before all the other boats started arriving.  Because when they did....wow.  There were sailors from France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Ireland, Great Britain, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Poland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Korea, India, Israel, Argentina, Bahrain, Monaco, and so many more countries.  The female who just won the Reina Sofia regatta in Palma Mallorca was competing- she will be competing in her third Olympics this summer in Rio!!

Needless to say, the course was full of strong sailors and Pete was thrilled to have the experience.

 The Europa Cup in Hyères was four days of racing against 240 Lasers in conditions ranging from 5 knots to 30 knots .  I think Pete McGriff would tell you that the experience is one he will remember for a lifetime and both he and Camille were immediately planning their training for next time.  

I was just thrilled to be a part of the event.  My children continue to amaze me.  There is no way I would have had the nerve to sail in a fleet that strong, in conditions that challenging, in a foreign country.  With each experience, I feel like we are broadening our horizons and the scope of what is possible and attainable for both of them.  

Camille exchanging burgees with the President of COYCH, the host club for the Europacup.

Camille rode on the coach boat to cheer Pete on for the last day.

Talk about ideal conditions, the yacht club was a short 5 minute walk from our apartment.  I could see the regatta from the balcony.

Pete and Coach Max Stein, former Europacup winner.  

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