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By Rooster Sailing
Wow! What a summer of sport, and more still to come. The Olympics was fantastic, and I think the TV coverage of sailing was the best yet seen of dinghies, although the best was when the breeze was blowing int he early days of the regatta. The 470s made me realise just how much fun single trapeze boats look. Although I'm a bit biased, I think boats like the 470 and Fireball (and I dare say Hornet although I haven't sailed one) represent the best compromise of accessibility, fun sailing and tactical racing. As boats get faster, you lose the tactical element and as you get slower you lose some of the fun of speed/the feeling of it (although there are certainly boats that are fun and are slow, either because they feel light and quick, or are fun to spin around a race course). I think it's the feeling of speed that is most important to the speed part of fun. After all, if you want to go fast, take your car to the nearest motorway and you'll go a lot faster than you'll ever go in a boat. I think sailing could gain a lot from the increase in interest from the Olympics, and I hope classes like the Fireball can do ok from being similar to the 470 but not so weight critical and having a lot more competition at an amateur level.
My own sailing over the summer ended up restricted to Fireballs after I realised I'd taken on too much to campaign 2 boats with a young family. Having said that I really enjoyed the racing over the summer. We didn't have any great expectations having lost all of our pre-Nationals tuning opportunities to the weather but were fairly pleased with our performances. It gives us something to build on over the winter and into next year. The Europeans in Italy had 106 boats from 14 nations. The Czech fleet seems to have grown really strong with a young group of fast sailors who are willing to travel. I think the Worlds next year in Slovenia should see well over 100 boats attending. We really enjoyed the Europeans we did over there a few years ago and I think most people who went would agree. 2014 sees a Worlds in Turkey and a Europeans in the Shetland Islands (somewhere I've always wanted to go) before the big UK Worlds in 2015. With 176 boats at the last UK worlds in 2005 it should be a fantastic event whichever location is chosen from the current shortlist of Mounts Bay, Weymouth and Pwllheli (although a few more venues may slip in as options). If you've ever thought of racing a Fireball, it is definitely the event to go for....