There are a couple of opens that really draw the 200 fleet out and we are lucky that one of them is our home event at Itchenor. We had 39 boats racing over the weekend and it was also the first real trial of the new sails vs the old style.
Saturday was a breezy affair with 18 knots gusting 25 and 5 races which meant it was a long hard day. We nearly managed a good day but unfortunately, even though we managed to take 2 big bullets in races 2 & 4, a capsize whilst challenging in race 3 put us on the back foot and we lay in 3rd over night with only 2 points separating 2nd and 4th. A positive to take from the day was that we managed to extend on the downwind legs which is something we have struggled with previously. Whilst we have always been one of the heavier teams we tried to hold the boat a bit higher at the beginning of the run and allow the apparent wind to really go forwards and then slowly start arching it down, something I had picked up whilst playing with 14s recently and it was amazing the difference that it made. The boat felt so much more responsive and almost like it was really dragging itself downwind, you could feel the acceleration each time you hit the mode. We think we also had the spinnaker trimmed even looser which of course requires expert attention from the crew, but makes a huge speed difference.
On Sunday the fleet had to wait whilst the sea breeze filled in and racing got under way just after lunch in a light 7-9 knots. Whilst our starting left a lot to be desired we had good boat speed both upwind and downwind and managed to salvage a 4th in the second race of the day and then a 2nd in the final race. However, this was only enough for 3rd (by 1 point to 2nd!) and meant we lost our title on our home water. However, Matt Mee & Emma Norris were worthy winners, and we will have to brush ourselves off and get set for Parkstone in a few weeks time.
George Yeoman & Sophie Ormsby