Photo (C) Paul Wakelin.
Lots has happened since my last post! The RYA Youth Nationals back in April was a very fickle, light wind event, and I was happy to come away with a 6th place in the Radial fleet, ensuring me coach support as part of a funded team for the Laser Radial Europeans. During the week, I changed between my cosy SuperTherm LongJohns
on the chillier days, and my lighter Thermaflex LongJohn
on the cloudier warmer days. The Thermaflex LongJohn
is my new favourite piece of kit, it's so flexible and feels like a second skin and offers the perfect layer on mild to warm days.
However, a more exciting event occurred more recently. No, not my AS exams. The incredible Red Bull Foiling Generation in Weymouth! This event was held on Flying Phantoms, for 16 teams between 16 and 20 years of age. All the competitors were either Youth Squad standard or above, and so the mix of sailing ability was incredible, with the best of each Youth class represented.
Red Bull put on a spectacular show, with a huge tent full of table tennis, table football, rowers, cycling machines, sofas, hundreds of bean bags, and as much Red Bull as you could possibly want to drink all week! The party atmosphere was fuelled by the intense sailing on the foiling 18ft catamarans, which can hit up to 35 knots of boat speed. On the first day in 8-10 knots, we all foiled straight away downwind - a truly surreal experience. Going from a Radial to a foiling high performance twin trapeze cat was quite a step, but actually my crew and I picked it up very swiftly. Trapezing was made much easier with the Rooster Split Toe Trapeze Boot
, which made feeling the carbon fibre hulls and connecting to the boat much easier.
After two hours sailing the boat over two days, we were straight into racing. We progressed well through the knock out series until a boat issue knocked us out of the quarter finals, despite leading the race by a decent margin! Nonetheless, the experience of foiling and hitting 32 knots on one of the downwinds was a life changing experience and my perspective of sailing has changed forever.
Whatever you do, get on a foiling boat somehow, even if it's just the once!
Thanks to Paul Wakelin for the great picture of Ed and me sending it downwind in 8 knots!