2 Events, 1 Victory & Lots of Fun!
The summer of 2017 proved to be a very good time on the water for myself! I’m sure I am not the only one that looks forward to the summer and what it has to offer, after all, our sport is always much better when we have sunshine to accompany the wind! On reflection, we didn’t really get much sunshine but we did get some decent breeze. First up, in mid-August, is my favourite week of the entire year, Fowey Royal Regatta. It’s a week that’s packed to the brim with good racing, great socialising and top banter. I am writing this blog over a month after the event so memory is slightly blurred but I shall try and give a good representation of how the week went.
Monday is just preparation day so I spent the day relaxing and doing some odd jobs like putting the Rooster feather flags up and rigging my laser, so the next day I could just stick the mast in and away I go. In the evening, we watched the opening fireworks from where I was staying for the week, before an early night beckoned ahead of the first day of racing.
Tuesday dawned and we were all down at the dinghy park nice and early, a light SW breeze greeted us so launching in good time was crucial to allow enough time to get to the race course. We were held under a postponement for around ½ hour whilst the wind settled into the forecasted direction, the RO did a great job throughout the week so a big thanks to him! I managed to get a 4th in the morning race followed by a bullet in the afternoon. I was more than pleased with the days work, especially in the light winds. (I must get more practice in).
Wednesday came with some more breeze, but in the eyes of the race committee, possibly a little too much as racing was held inside the harbour. Racing in Fowey harbour can be very challenging, with lots of boats all in a tight area, fighting for clean air can be tricky so usually the boat that manages to break away first will be the eventual winner. I managed to do this in the morning race and pick up my second bullet of the week. In the afternoon race, I took line honours but unfortunately fell victim to the Devon Yawl on handicap. Wednesday evening is carnival night, not much to say other than we dressed up as pirates, pulled an oppi pirate ship through the streets of Fowey and got absolutely drenched in the process. All in the name of fun I guess.
On Thursday we were greeted by a lighter breeze and clear skies. We raced outside of the harbour in the morning race and then we were held inside the harbour for the afternoon. This was definately my most consistent day of the week with two bullets which cemented me in the top spot needing just one more win to take the title. Thursday evening, we all headed over to the Polruan side of the estuary where we enjoyed a few beers and some nibbles whilst we waited for the red arrows to come and do their first display in three years. It was a great sight to see them back in Fowey, though it’s a shame the sky was a little grey. This was followed by a quick dash back to the sailing club for me to present the Rooster prizes to the winners of the junior class.
The final day of racing arrived! What? How did that happen? Time certainly does fly when you’re having fun! Needing to win just one more race, I arrived at the dinghy park early. I am terrible at putting pressure on myself, though I guess the local regattas can and do mean a lot when local pride is at stake. Conditions were perfect for me, around 12-15knts with some waves which made it a lot of fun downwind. I led at the first windward mark and held that lead all the way. Woohoo, I am the Fowey Royal Regatta J Class Champion 2017. After 3 years of finishing in 2nd place, it was such a huge relief to have finally won again. It meant I could enjoy the afternoon race and not worry about it too much. The wind had really picked up in the afternoon to around 20/25knts and I was probably somewhat over powered, but still managed to pick up a 2nd place to finish off the week. It was then time to celebrate and enjoy the rest of the regatta week socialising with friends & family. A huge thank you to everyone who helped me during the week, including the Luck family for their hospitality and my brilliant sponsors Rooster Sailing & May Whetter & Grose Estate Agents. Thank you to everyone!!
On to the Tasar Nationals, my first ever home Nationals. I had teamed up with Dad in a boat that we had managed to borrow for the event. The Tasar is a two-man high performance hiking boat which is very popular across the world. We have a number in our club so local competition was going to be high. We managed to get a few practice races in before the event and after a day of boat bimbling we were ready to go. I kitted the boat out with lots of Rooster rope and my trusty 19mm Rooster carbon tiller extension.
On the first day of the event the races weren’t scheduled to start until 14:00 hrs which gave us enough time to apply a couple coats of McLube Hull Kote, the best there is! We launched just after lunch with plenty of sunshine and a 15knt breeze which steadily built over the afternoon. The RO did a great job hosting 3 races in the matter of a few hours. The first race was all about finding our rhythm, Dad was suffering with a stomach bug so couldn’t give as much energy as usual, however he was determined to power through. We finished the Friday with a 21, 16, 11. It was clear that our starts were good and straight-line speed was also up there, we were just struggling at the corners which definately showed how little time we had spent in the boat. The evening came along and it was time to enjoy the Commodore’s reception accompanied by a brilliant buffet put on by our fantastic volunteer catering team at Porthpean – thanks everyone! Just before the evening ‘do’ commenced it was time to award the Rooster daily prizes to the very worthy winners.
On to Saturday and a little less wind arrived so we were held onshore for a short while before a nice south westerly breeze filled in and built to around 12-15knts. 4 Races were scheduled and we managed to get all 4 in, though it did turn out to be a long day on the water. Much the same as day 1, we had some great starts and were right up in the mix at times, especially on the first lap, but just couldn’t hold it together. In the second race of the day we were sitting in 6th place heading into the windward mark when we tacked and I missed the toe straps which resulted in a capsize. Unfortunately with Dad not up to full strength it took us a while to get the boat upright, by which time many of our mid fleet rivals had passed so we decided to throw in the towel and have a break so we could turn our focuses to the next race. We came back fighting with a top 10 finish. We finished day 2 with an 11, DNF, 10, 19. The BBQ evening awaited us, but first off was time for the Rooster daily prize giving and the awarding of the Rooster top 3 bibs. Having a daily spot prize giving really gets everyone involved and allows people to socialise together more. Great fun!
Unfortunately, the racing on Sunday was cancelled, this was thanks to a large beach dump and a very foggy bay. So, a quick pasty & cream tea lunch followed by the final prize givings. Dad & myself managed to scoop the ‘Mid Fleet Prize’ for finishing 15th out of 30 boats. We certainly enjoyed our time in the Tasar and would like to thank all of the competitors for their tips throughout the event. Also, a huge thank you to Team Porthpean for putting on a great event yet again.
My attentions now turn back to coaching where I’m working on a weekly basis with the St Mawes Feva Team and also the Fowey Gallants Juniors. I have a weekend planned at the Guernsey Yacht Club in November where I will be running an RS Feva race training programme. I also have something very exciting coming up at the start of next month so be sure to stay tuned for that.
Happy Sailing ⛵️