All for one & one for all!
This weekend the Topper fleet headed to Grafham Water for the National Inland Championships. It was an important one because it was the last event before the qualifiers for squads, so everyone was keen to prove themselves.
On Saturday it had been light all day, apart from during the second race when a massive 28-knot squall came through and knocked half the fleet over! It was a tough race as everyone had to suddenly change modes from knees on the opposite side of the deck to flat hiking. The next downwind and reach were epic – so fast, so fun!
Ah, the third race. Or should I say the third start as that’s as far as I got. Everyone was pushing the line having been lectured by coaches about the line sag at Datchet. We probably drove the Race Committee insane as there were about seven general recalls. Right next to each other, going for pole position, were Team Rooster sailors Jake Bowhay, Charlie South and Frances Fox – nudging each other forwards…and the winner was…three black flags! True team spirit, all for one and one for all! Shame Nick clearly wasn’t trying hard enough. Luckily for me I had two decent results in the bag – 16th and 8th.
Moving on to Sunday, the wind came out to play at about 12-15 knots. The strategy for the day was to get your head out of the boat and look for the clouds, gusts and shifts. Classic inland racing. I managed to stay in phase with the shifts throughout the day and get a really consistent set of results – 13th, 4th, 13th, 18th, 14th. Sitting nicely at 16th overall, ready to head home after the intended five races. For once I wasn’t hoping for another race to get rid of a shocker discard. Uh oh, new starting signal. Race 9, which wasn’t what I wanted as the people around me had a bigger discard to lose. It had been a long day on the water and everyone was pretty tired. I have to thank Rooster kit for keeping me warm on the water – especially my Fleece Lined Beanie, which looks cool as well as being really cosy on the inside.
Back ashore it was high drama as redress appeals took place involving 23 sailors about race two. This led to a two hour delay in the results and prize giving. The second discard made its mark and brought me down to 21st overall; although I am still extremely happy with this as my previous highest result was 54th. What a great weekend!