A lot's happened since my last blog, I’ve been to two Topper national events, one at Queen Mary, and one at Grafham, I’ve started training for the Topper nationals in Pwllheli and I’ve started sailing a Laser and a 29er.
After finishing 51st
at Queen Mary I knew I had a lot of work to do, however with my results including an 18th
, a 12th
and a 6th
, I know I can get the results I need, I just need to work on my consistency. At Grafham I was more consistent, unfortunately it was consistently bad! Very light winds are my Achilles heel, and racing was cancelled for the first day so I was not expecting good results. Light winds is something I have always struggled with in a Topper, partly because I am nearly 10kg heavier than most other topper sailors, but I also know that I need to work on my light wind sailing technique, something I have been putting a lot more time into recently.
Soon after Grafham my GCSE’s started, unfortunately this meant very little time for sailing, I carried on club racing so that I could keep up the skills I needed. With revision and exams I had very little time for anything else. On the plus side, now that my exams are finished I have plenty of time to train and get ready for Pwllheli.
The Topper Nationals are approaching fast and I have a lot to do, boat work and training. I have been doing a lot of wave technique recently, having experienced the huge waves at Pwllheli a number of times, I know what a difference it makes if you can make the most of the waves. I have been focusing a lot more on the downwind technique as this is where I sometimes lose ground. I’m hoping that I now have the skills I need to get top results as Pwllheli, however I am still trying to improve my fitness, boat handling and upwind techniques so that I do as well as possible.
In between training for the Topper nationals I have been trying to get some experience in as many boats as possible. I have started sailing a 29er with a very good friend, fellow Topper sailor and Team rooster member Billy Vennis-Ozanne. It’s been a steep learning curve and we've had a few hairy moments but with great Rooster kit like the Thermaflex long john
to keep us warm in the water and cool in the sun (its nice and flexible for trapezing as well) it’s been a great experience. We have plenty of footage of all our capsizes so at some point we will post that and a bit more about what we have been doing. I have also started a little bit of yacht racing in the Solent, a very different and exciting experience, and a really good chance to put my new Rooster Pro Coastal Jacket
to the test.
Finally I have also started sailing a Laser Radial, the typical step up from a Topper; I did my first open meeting a few weeks ago at my home club, Hill Head. It was a northerly which always provides some interesting conditions with different pressure and shifts all over the racecourse providing some very interesting racing. I finished 6th
overall, not too bad but not quite what I was hoping for, however with an 8th
and a 2nd
it seems that consistency is my downfall once again. It seems, as always, I have a lot to work on, but with plenty of time at the moment I am hoping to improve quickly.
David Saunders – Topper 273