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Kit Guide

Flying High at Datchet

By Jake Bowhay 2nd October 2020

Next stop for the Topper National series was Datchet Water Sailing Club for the third event in the series. The forecast for the event was light, unstable wind, which has always been my achilles heel, so I was keen to see if my winter training had paid off.

On the water I quickly realised that the key to success was in the sky, more specifically the rain clouds that were regularly passing over the course. In the first race I had a great start in the middle of the line and led the fleet for the duration of the race to finish 1st. Good transits were key as the fleet was quite far back from the line, so there were some massive gains to be had. In the second race I had another good start and was near the front of the fleet going up the first beat. I managed to jump into first place by taking the last shift into the mark as most people committed to the lay lines far too early. Once in the lead I managed to hold off the fleet for another bullet.

The third race did not go as well; I got stuck in a bunch on the left of the course, which was made worse by the other flight on the outer loop. I rounded in the 20s however, I managed to claw back some places to finish 8th. I had another good start in the fourth race rounding the windward mark in 6th. On the second beat I managed to work back up to finish in 1st place. With a fifth race planned and nearly 5 hours on the water already, staying hydrated and fuelled up was key, fortunately I had plenty of fluid and snacks in my Bitz Bag. In the final race I had another good started and rounded in 5th. With the wind dying, the PRO decided to shorten the course to finish at the windward mark. By this point I had climbed into 2nd however, misjudging the finish line bias cost me two places to finish 4th. Despite this I was very happy with how I sailed, finishing 1st overall after day one with a 3 point lead over 2nd place, Harris Cartwight. We then headed home for an early night after a long 6 hours on the water.

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Day 2 started with a postponement as the wind was very light and unstable. After an hour we headed out on the water. The first race of the day did not go so well with a 23rd however, this was my discard. In the second race I managed to get a 4th and by this point the wind was very light. We started a third race but when the wind died racing was abandoned for the day. Sailing in was rather nerve racking trying to work out who had won but thankfully, when I reached the shore, I found out I had won maintaining my 3 point lead over Harris! I was very happy as this was by far my best result. Next stop, more training at Hayling before the Inlands at Grafham.

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