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Kit Guide

Mixed Bunch at Northampton

By Matt Smith 2nd October 2020
Last Weekend was the RS Tera Start of Seasons at Northampton Sailing Club. It was a really fun event with really close racing throughout the fleet. At 6:00 my "Alarm"(Dad) woke me up, he'd been out the night before with friends and presumed I hadn't got any of my sailing kit ready so had allowed extra time for it. So as I woke I told my alarm that I was ready and hit the snooze button for a 25 minute lie in. When my real alarm went off I managed to prise myself out of bed, eat a good breakfast and at 7:00 we left for Northampton. We arrived at 9:00 and got the boat off the roof; after completely rigging it (minus the mainsheet) I went to get changed, we relaxed for about half an hour until the briefing. Then as soon as we were allowed to launch I set off to the start and did some practice beats and some split tacks. It was blowing a steady force 4 which was perfect, I was happy with my boat speed and had a pretty good start in the first race. However as I bore away down the line to accelerate, I heard a clicking noise coming from the back of my boat. I couldn't find anything wrong so I presumed everything was fine, but then as I was sailing along from the windward mark to the spreader (we were doing an outer loop) my rudder blade snapped into two pieces! I felt the tiller go very light and looked back and saw the bottom part floating around, so I grabbed it and put it in my boat and waited for a rib to take me in. Oh well, thats what discards are for... I was very kindly given a rudder blade to borrow to replace my broken one so I could go out to finish the next three races of the day. Thank you Laura! The second race didn't go well, I hadn't got over my rudder blade snapping and I recorded an 18th. It was quite disappointing. But after that I managed to put it behind me and was third to the windward mark in the next race, after a flying start. However, I then went to the wrong gate and made a few other rookie errors and fell back to 12th place. In the last race of the day I was convinced I could put the near disastrous start to the day behind me and smash the final one of the day. All my starts had been good and I just needed to hold my lane off the start and I would be away. I managed to do this and was fourth to the windward mark, then on the second lap I managed to take two more places and secure second. This was more like it. I was about 50-75 metres behind Henry Jameson in first so there was little chance of catching him, so I concentrated on getting into the gusts on the last downwind and making the gap between me and the rest of the fleet bigger. The race finished with a gap of about 75 metres between Henry and me and a gap of about 100 metres between me and the rest of the fleet. What a relief, I had finally proved to myself that I could do what I had been so close to doing all day. So after packing up the boat for the evening we drove about two minutes to our B&B, the excellent Coach and Horses nearby, for a very delicious dinner with our friends the Kings, who were staying there as well. Then off to bed. In the morning we got up for a breakfast at 7:15. we got changed at the B&B because it was so close and then headed off to Northampton for a colder and lighter day. It was blowing a force 2/3 and was very cold, but out racing I was toasty warm in my Poly-Pros, Supertherm Long John, Top and Aquafleece, I was using the Pro Laced boot, which worked very well the day before giving me plenty of support in my ankles so I could hike easily all day. Because of their versatility they still allowed me to have plenty of flexibility on the second day in the lighter winds. The wind had swung through 180 degrees from the day before, It was nice to have the start so close to the club as it took seconds to get there and we could get plenty of practice beats in. Also it gave everyone on the shore a better view. The first race of the day was good, I got a solid start, in a clean lane with control and options, it was a close race and I finished sixth, which was a vast improvement on the previous days efforts. The next race followed with another good start and an eighth, but then, disaster struck and I recorded a 20th after being pushed to the wrong side of the second beat.
Windward Mark Rounding Windward Mark Rounding
I managed to recover it in the last race, with a seventh, however the twentieth meant I had to count my 18th from the day before. This pushed me down the rankings a bit, and I finished the event in eighth, one point off seventh, it was really tight racing throughout the fleet, well done to everyone. Link to the results here and thanks to Steve Greenwood for the photos, link to those here What a fun weekend, the next thing to look forward to is Burnham Squidies Feva training next weekend, and the annual Royal Harwich Yacht Club Tera event on the bank holiday Monday. Thanks to Dad for taking me down and making sure I remembered everything. And special thanks to Xander for letting me train in his Finn the other day :) Matt

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