What a difference a year makes (when you're 8 or 10)!
Wow! I was about to put fingers to keyboard about the kids' fantastic training and racing this autumn, but I thought I'd dip in and have a look at what we were saying this time last year.
The progress we've made as a family sailing team really shows through. Last year our best result at the Emsworth Hare and Hounds event was a second. So far this year Gwen and Johnny have each managed to bag a first with me, and then we've got a sixth. Clare (Mummy) is considered to have just about held her end up when we endured horribly light winds and got a ninth. The kids have also done so much more sailing in their Opis. For the first time this season Emsworth Sailing Club's fantastic youth section, Martlets, put on some autumn race training followed by two full days of coaching during half term. For this they wore their standard Polypro baselayers underneath a wetsuit, with either a Classic Aquafleece, a ProLite Aquafleece or both over the top!
However with more Sundays of training running right through to 27 December it was time to have a look at what we could do to make them warmer and more comfortable. We live close enough to pop across to Rooster and try on the kit. The great news is that Johnny (as a medium size 8 year old) is now big enough to wear a junior small Supertherm LongJohn and Thermaflex Top. We're combining that for the winter with the standard Polypro baselayer and a Pro Aquafleece on top. The Pro Aquafleece Beanie is a very welcome addition. Both Gwen and Johnny are now feeling really snuggly and warm, they look pretty cool too! I think I might need to replace my Aquafleece Beanie....there's nothing really wrong with it after many year's good service. This evening I asked them what they thought about their new kit to which they replied, 'it's so much more comfortable hiking out with the hiking pads (XS) in our new kit' and that's true - I can certainly vouch for the fact that they are hiking better and for longer.
The new gear is certainly doing it's job when it comes to warmth. We normally go down to the club with the kids in their base layer, however on Saturday I had to send Gwen to get fully dressed early because in the F5-6 westerly that was blowing it didn't provide enough insulation without a windproof layer. Once changed she was warm all the way through, despite being soaked with spray. Nor did I have to send her to get changed straight away on landing. She played her full part in de-rigging, getting the covers on and moving the Opis to a more secure location. Even her hands were nice and warm - the Polypro Glove liners did a terrific job, although she did notice that Mummy's sailing gloves were not at their best. Xmas present perhaps?
The thing I really appreciated for the first time yesterday is that it is so much easier for the kids to dress and, perhaps more importantly, undress in their new kit. A real advantage when you are Dad and daughter, and there were no ladies other than Gwen afloat to help her in the changing room.
But that's enough wintry chat, here's one of my favourite moments of the year. I've been trying to win the Joint Service Gold Cup for 25 years. This year, with Johnny's help, we finally got our hands on it! Last year he was so much smaller that he couldn't hold that big silver cup by himself!