Straight after the prize giving at the Radial Nationals (in Paignton) I headed back to Weymouth to drop off the boats and see my girlfriend, May, before driving to my parents’ house in East Grinstead (near London). Any chance of getting a decent night’s sleep was ruined by a coach fire that closed the M3. When I finally made it home the washing machine was put on strict orders to turn around my clothing for the next day, I then wrote the report of the Nationals for the Yachting press while I could still remember what happened, and stripped my mast and boom of the bits I needed to take to Japan with me before finally turning in.

Luckily everything (apart from my hiking pants and boots) were dry the next morning so I packed everything into a very large bag (well it had to be as I took my Laser foils and tiller with me) and off we went to the airport. As usual the M25 was pretty busy and my Dad dropped me off at Heathrow around 2 hours before take- off. I was surprised to see there was absolutely no queue for my flight… hmmm was this good or bad news?

I approached the check in desk and handed over my E-ticket. The lady looked at her computer and said, “Sorry, we have no record of your reservation”… at this stage mild panic started to set in. She then added, “and the flight is full”… at this stage major panic set in… then she finished, “but we could upgrade you to business class”… I didn’t hesitate to say, “Yes please.”

The next problem was when I put my bag on the scales (trying to make it look easy). It weighed 36 kgs. Fortunately because I was now in business class, I had an increased luggage allowance but you are now allowed more than 32 kgs in any one bag. The result was me sitting in the Executive lounge holding my hiking pants, kicking strap and buoyancy aid after a very interesting discussion getting through airport security.

However after this, the journey was uneventful and I was soon in Japan, just in time for the closing Ceremony for the Women’s World Championships where top Brit Charlotte Dobson had finished top Brit in 18th and everyone was saying how windy it was for a light wind venue (never usually above 12 knots).

The next day I got up bright and early to get sorted. My aim was to get some exercise in nice and early to help me get over the nine hours jet lag! I walked down to the sailing club (around 25 minutes). First stop to collect my hire bike. Unfortunately they could not find my reservation (at this point I was beginning to wonder if Jon Emmett just did not exist in Japan) but I was told to come back in a couple of days…

Next stop was to collect a boat but apparently they did not have enough new boats for everyone so some people had to have older boats and you had to draw a ticket for a boat. I was one of the first in the draw and drew a ticket for a boat number 162217, a boat older than some of the sailors doing the Youth Championship and ancient compared to 196000 boats the Ladies had raced in.

It just seemed extremely unfair that the World Championships could be decided by a Lottery, especially when all the Japanese sailors could turn up with their brand new boats. So at 10am I complained, saying that my boat was unacceptable. I was told to wait ten minutes and they continued to give out boats… I waited patiently all day and at 7:30 finally made the long walk home with no boat.

Fortunately the next day a friendly Japanese guy staying at my hotel called Yoda (as in Star wars he was quick to point out) gave me a lift to the sailing club and fortunately they had decided to change my boat for a newer one (190317) which I soon managed to touch up. I then started to rig and I was nearly finished when I realised I had left one very important thing back in the UK… the ratchet block for my mainsheet… bugger… lucky one of the youth sailors, Elliot Hansen, had a spare but he was just off sailing and it was back at his hotel room.

When Elliot came back he very kindly went and got the ratchet block for me but it was now too late for me to go sailing. So the World Championships started the next day and I still had not been on the water… I was thinking I really hope my boat doesn’t leak!

Day one and Karatsu was definitely not a light wind venue! We had two races in over twenty knots and BIG waves. I was pleased with two top five finishes with full rig sailor Marcin Rudawski from Poland dominating. I was quick downwind but did not quite have the pace of the bigger guys upwind which was hard as it was a one way race track (it paid to go right EVERY race)… still all things considered not a bad start. It was certainly a tough fleet as we overtook the majority of the Youth Women fleet who had started 20 minutes in front of us!

Day two was much the same, a 5th and an 11th when I got rolled off the start line, putting me in third overall, but day two I scored 10th after getting rolled again so I decided to try and start right next to the committee boat so I knew I could tack to the right. Unfortunately my outhaul slipped with 30 seconds to go and I got stuck head to wind. I tried to get the bow off the wind but I got yellow flagged for sculling. So whilst the rest of the fleet were sailing off I had to complete a 720 degree turn. Ironically due to good downwind speed I caught up to 10th which was better than my previous result.

Day four and five were much the same. A really good start gave me a 3rd place but apart from that I got a 9,7,11 where I was just behind the lead group of quick boats. At this stage Rudawski had already sown the championship up with a day to spare. I was in 8th but the points from 3rd to 10th were extremely close meaning anything could happen with a really good last day!

Funny the wind was lighter on the last day which really suited the Italian Giacomo Sabbatini who scored two firsts to sneak into the top ten. I had the second best day with a 3,4 which meant I closed the gap on the leaders and extended the gap behind me but I would have needed another day of light winds to have a realistic chance of standing on the podium.

In the end I finished sixth, just three points off fifth and fifteen points clear of seventh (in fact I was only 15 points off third and a place on the podium). Of course it is always frustrating to finish with a large points gap behind you and a small one in front of you but that is the nature of the sport and considering my upwind speed I think 6th was a fair result. After a day looking around Fukuoka I flew back home (lucky I was upgraded again so I could take all my stuff back with me) to spend some time catching up with friends before my next major championship…