The last major championship of the year on the RS Tera calendar was the Inland National Championship held this year at Bewl Valley SC. This is a reservoir set in hilly surroundings close to Royal Tunbridge Wells. It is quite a large area of water but it is an irregular shape with fingers of water jutting off in all directions. This proved for some shifty conditions although the race committee tried to keep the racing in the main body of water to help reduce the effect of the land on the wind.
The wind direction for the weekend was south west which meant, despite their efforts, the wind was coming down one of the long fingers of land with water on both sides. if the wind came down the left hand channel then that side paid and if it came down the right hand channel then the right side paid. You just had to predict which channel the wind would be coming down, but of course this was tricky to do and easy to get wrong.
The Tera has two different sails, the Sport and Pro. I sail in the Pro which is the bigger of the two, consequently we always start first. The course was a trapezoid, but it was a bit on the small side which meant when we came round to finish our first lap the Sports were just starting, this lead to the two fleets getting in each others way which added to the 'fun'. Luckily after lunch the race committee recognised the problem and lengthened the course.
Overnight I was lying third on nine points after four races, but with no one running away with it there was all to play for on day two.
Day two dawned with hardly any wind but with storm clouds looming the prospect of wind wasn't far away. The wind duly arrived and kept building through the day. It was still shifty and you could gain or lose places if you didn't read it right. At the end of another four races and despite a disastrous sixth race, when I went back because I thought I was OCS, I won the event by two points even though I didn't win a race. Consistency pays.
This was my first national championship win and I was absolutely delighted and am still smiling a week later.
Photo - Steve Greenwood
One area of my sailing that really helped this weekend was my downwind speed, when the breeze picked up I was able to make up places by hiking out the back, helped by my Rooster Tera Toestrap which has a slightly longer and wider padded area each allows me to sit further back with confidence.
Now that the temperature is dropping I think it is time to start thinking about winter sailing gear. I normally wear a drysuit but this year I am going to try Rooster SuperTherm LongJohns and top which should keep me nice and warm. I will let you know how I get on.