After 10 long, grueling and intense competition races over 5 days, 6-7 hours on water every day in challenging waves and tide, (with 1 day being 9hrs on water), and a further 7 days of pre regatta training, it is very pleasing to report that Daniel exceeded all expectations we had of him at this regatta and against this level of competition for his 1st Worlds Campaign. 

Daniel qualified in the 2nd highest group of 4 fleets for the finals (Silver) and has finished off the regatta in 112th position overall from 240 odd boats competing (and the 7th highest Australian representative from the 12 competing boys). To give you all a feel and put into context the level of competition Daniel faced, and also what a difference just 1 year makes when you have already contested a previous Worlds event, here are some interesting facts to consider:
4 Australian Sailors in the team with Daniel at this regatta also competed at the 2016 World Championships in Kiel, Germany last year with the following results in 2016 vs 2017: 
1. Zac West (17 this year), in 2016 qualified in Silver Fleet and finished 109th overall. Now in his 2nd World's campaign, he made Gold Fleet and finished 7th overall!
2. Jack Littlechild (17 this year) and current Australian National Champion qualified in Silver Fleet and finished 102nd overall in 2016. Now in his 2nd World's campaign, he made Gold Fleet and finished 28th overall
3. Mark Louis (17 this year) qualified in Bronze and finished 198th overall in 2016. Now in his 2nd World's campaign, he made Gold Fleet and finished 51st overall
4. Boston Cortis (17 this year) qualified in Emerald and finished 203rd overall in 2016. Now in his 2nd World's campaign, he made Gold Fleet and finished 45th overall
5. Daniel Costandi (14 this year), qualified in Silver and finished 112th in his 1st Worlds Campaign... It will be interesting and exciting to see what might happen in 1 year from now for Daniel? (provided he qualifies first!)
When talking to Daniel early this morning, he was reflecting on his experience over the last week or so and said that he was blown away by the level and intensity of competition between the qualifying rounds and then finals racing in Silver Fleet. There was simply no room for errors at all, one slight mistake, one bad read, and your race was effectively over. The big fleet starts were another real challenge with the massive tide everyday, but somehow he nailed all of them bar 1 or 2 (perhaps the GRSC experience he has helped there?). The big waves and 4 seasons in one day also were factors at play throughout the week. All of this combined has seen Daniel come away with so much exposure and experience to racing at the highest levels.
It should also be mentioned that his time 'off the water' with the Australian team was equally as important. Time with 2 of the best Australian Laser coaches in Tristan Brown (who he also spends time with here back home), and Ryan Palk were amazing and so beneficial. He became very close to them over the last 3 weeks and has learned so much. Their management of the sailors was 1st class from the time they started their day, through to briefing, on water support, de brief's and then 1:1's... even on a social level playing ping pong each day with Daniel and other sailors back at the team house.
The final 'story' I would like to share with you all occurred at the presentation and closing ceremony where ofcourse it is tradition to try and find a sailor from another country to swap an item with you as a reminder of the Worlds you have just attended. Well, Daniel did not have to look around at all and was actually approached by a rather keen Italian girl (who just happened to be the winner and now World Champion of the Girls division), in Federica Cattarozzi. She gave him her Italian racing bib in exchange for his blow up boxing Kangaroo! (nice work Daniel). Ofcourse when I asked Daniel if he had exchanged contact details with her, there was silence on the other end of the line and said he had 'no time'??? hmmmm interesting response!
My final words must go to my wife Michelle who was with Daniel every moment during the last 3 weeks as he mum, manager, social coordinator, chief reporter live from the race course (in full wet weather gear), through messenger every day and probably much much more. You did a fantastic job Michelle and hope it also brought back memories from when you yourself traveled to Japan at his age for a similar event. Well done Michelle!
So over and out and a massive thank you to all who have sent messages of support to Daniel and supported him throughout on this campaign, of which he and our family are truly grateful.
Over and out! Some pictures of Daniel's time in Belgium attached.


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