by Liesl King
Kiel week went by in a blur for our local competitors, especially for Benji Daniel and Alex Burger on the 49er as light winds prevented any races in the closing days. Kai Leslie was more fortunate.
Kai aced the first start so well that he was BFD and spent the race bobbing about waiting for race 2 so that he could compete again. But in all fairness he was BFD together with the sailors currently in silver and bronze medal positions as well as another 12 boats. What do the armchair pundits say about not starting well enough unless you pick up an occasional OCS!!
Kai was very up beat about the week. “I learnt a lot!” Despite having some not so good results he enjoyed the experience.
Biggest lesson learnt?
“The start is all important. I need to work on my starts, something that is hard back home with so few Standard Lasers competing. A good start can win you a race, while a bad start is extremely hard to recover from. The top guys are just so good at the start. I was in the perfect position at the pin end for the second start and with seconds to go, the leading boat and the third placed guy snuck in on either side of me and squeezed me out.”
Plans for the future? I hope to be able to take a gap year next year. I would like to compete in Europe as much as I can to see how far I can go in this sport. Hopefully I can get a job teaching Optimists in order to help pay my way.”