Now we’ve got a report from Mr. and Mrs. Ridgway about the Pre-worlds. The information and tips on sailing, accommodation, access and sightseeing would be of great help to sailors who haven’t been to Gamagori yet.
Thanks Paul and Bronwyn!
Sailing in Gamagori – the Preworlds 2016
At the end of July 2016, 35 boats including, four international visitors, were lucky to be able to test out the waters of Gamagori while race management for the 2017 worlds went through their paces.
With three days on the water (two of formal racing) we experienced everything from 15 to 18 knots down to 5 to 7 knots. The water was warm, the air temperature was warmer and the sun was ferocious when it wasn’t hiding behind the clouds. The race management over the five races was spot on with little time wasted between starts (or restarts).
The Gamagori boat park is an enormous tarmac with marked bays and tie down points to secure boats overnight. The launching apron is huge and well supplied with wash down hoses. The clubhouse had good facilities over two levels and the showers even had an old fashioned washing machine to do a quick spin of wet sailing gear so that it could dry faster.
Be prepared for great old fashioned Japanese hospitality and don’t forget to pack your favourite muesli bars in your container with your boat are they are not likely to be available in the local shops.
Getting to Gamagori
We caught the train from Narita (Tokyo airport) to Gamagori. The closest station to the venue is Mikawamiya which is on a local train line. If you don’t have a JR pass (or don’t want to use it before the regatta) it is a good idea to go to the travel website (www.hyperdia.com) and print off (or download) your rough itinerary. You can then show this to the booking clerk at the JR ticket office at the airport railway station so that they will understand where you want to go.
They will then print off a series of tickets through to your destination. Expect to pay about 12500 Yen to go one way
Our route was
Narita airport (Narita Express NEX) to
Shinagawa (just past Tokyo) and change trains, to
Toyohashi, and change trains, to
The whole trip taking between three and four hours. Don’t forget to check whether your accommodation offers a shuttle from the station and can pick you up.
Enjoy the bullet train rides – they’re fun!
Western and Japanese style accommodation is available in the Gamagori area. We tried out a Japanese style hotel room which offered six foam mattresses in a cupboard that we put out at night on the floor. Because there was only two of us in the room we could pile up the mattresses till they were soft enough for a good night’s sleep (and there was not too far to fall out of bed if we had drunk too much beer or sake).
If you want an experience that is different to your usual holiday consider travelling Japan by bullet train with a JR rail pass. Although the outlay for the ticket seems expensive the JR pass makes travel simple, comfortable and very, very fast.
The pass needs to be purchased outside the country before you leave home and comes in basic blocks of seven days’ worth of travel. You can choose when to start the 7 days by activating the pass at a JR ticket office once you are in Japan. If you want a holiday before or after the worlds consider saving the pass up – no point in paying for rail travel while you are sailing for the week.
This is a country in which you should forget the latte’s and immerse yourself in an ancient and traditional culture that is far removed from western life. Consider trips to the beautiful and historic Kyoto and Osaka or further afield to Hiroshima and its wonderful and very moving memorials to the end of world war II. If you only have a night to spare then how about Inuyama? with Japan’s oldest castle (only if you are able to climb ladders!) and the ancient tradition of night cormorant fishing on the Kiso River. Don’t forget the big cities of Nagoya and Tokyo and lots, lots more.