It has been a chilly start to Spring with some very windy weekends. Sophie & I have managed to get out in the 200 a couple of times though including the finale of the Winter Warmer series at Itchenor SC. We managed to have 16 boats out on the last weekend with the competition once again being ridiculously high!
It's so nice to have so many good people to race against leading up to the season with the current national champion as well as 3 or 4 others of the top 15 in the country. The competition is relentless as anyone who has sailed the 200 will know, with Olympic campaigners past and present fighting it out against some really good weekend warriors, it really forces you to up your game and on the short course racing employed in this series you can't lose focus and means that boat handling is key. With this in mind it was very nice to come away with a solid set of results counting five 1sts and three 2nds to win reasonably comfortably in the end, but it is our home turf (or harbour).
We also managed to have a coachful eye in the form of my dad on the rescue boat who was able to feed us back information about the race and things we could have done differently. Whilst a lot of stuff is things you have noticed and discussed in the boat, it is amazing the things an outside eye picks up, but not only that also a different view on how you can slightly adjust your manoeuvres in order to raise them up a level. I always really appreciate outside input as not only does it offer new solutions, it allows the helm-crew dynamic to not be disturbed, and in worst case scenarios, allows you instead of turning on each other to turn on a third party who is telling you you can improve after you have just won by a leg! It is amazing after you have sailed with someone for so long how easy it is to take something meant constructively and make it personal. When you look back on it you realise that actually it was probably good advice. So this has left us with lots to work on which is nice, specifically heating the boat up earlier out of the gybes to force the apparent wind forwards in planing conditions, and also focus on balance and being more responsive in the lighter stuff. A very difficult skill to have, but priceless for those crowded first beats where pulling the boat on top of you can kill you as the pressure picks up on the wrong side of the centreboard.
The next 200 event is the Sprint Championships in 2 weeks time which will see us going back to Rutland for the 3rd time this year. So far our Rooster gear has kept us nice and warm but hopefully we won't need too many layers this time round with just the SuperTherm
as the weapon of choice.
We also took part in the UK Team Racing Nationals at Rutland representing Itchenor. The competition in the team racing circuit is so high currently especially with the Worlds this year being in the UK at Rutland. We sailed well all weekend and managed to only lose 1 race, unfortunately this was to the team who went unbeaten, so we ended up 2nd overall which is the best result we have had at the Nationals after 4 years of trying. The next event is the Wilson Trophy in May which should be a great event and hopefully our recent successes will have put us in a good place going in to this.
We will also have some new art work on our boat thanks to the Rooster team, so if you spot us and fancy a chat about kit, set up, sailing or the footy please do!