After a relatively eventful year which included having my hands torn to shreds at Rutland
and narrowly avoiding a catastrophic mast breakage pre Whitstable
our Nationals finally came round at the fantastic venue that is Mounts Bay in Cornwall. Not only is the scenery fantastic but the superbly run club combined to provide a cracking event for us skiff sailors...you can even get a round in and get change from a tenner!
Although numbers were slightly down on last year presumably due to petrol/diesel prices, a relatively long journey into Cornwall, Worlds in Melbourne last January and an imminent European Championships in Portoroz, Slovenia the 42 boats that travelled had a fantastic event.
My main aims for the event was to try and get good starts, first beats and to try and select the correct spreader settings which I had been meddling with in the weeks preceding the event (the settings I used are available on the Musto Skiff
website). Given the conditions and wind direction I used my 'powered up' settings on each day wavering on Thursday as the wind was gusting around 18 knots but as it was offshore and relatively flat ultimately opting to go for it.
With hindsight being the wonderful thing that it is the week for me was defined by two days, Tuesday and Thursday. Tuesday was the up with two race wins (following which I briefly led the event) and a visit from a dolphin, ending with a BFD that I would rather gloss over but which provided the opportunity to hose the boat down at my leisure, check the rig and settings and give my kit a proper rinse. Thursday was the low, as I mentioned I went for my powered up settings in the breeze although I am not convinced they were responsible. On reflection I felt that I was being far too conservative trying to cover all options and not adapting to windshifts as they came through which was pretty regularly given the offshore breeze. Lesson learnt...next time go for it and have confidence with my tactical abilities rather than play too safe!!
In the end I was absolutely delighted with my 3rd place which is my best result at a Nationals to date (). Congratulations to James Macintosh for sailing very well throughout the week, Bruce Keen for just missing out and a second Nationals win in a row and thanks to all the Skiff sailors at Stokes Bay for providing arguably the best training group in the country...
...and obviously Steve and everyone else at Roosters for their generosity with kit and tuning advice!!
All the best for the rest of the year!