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Kit Guide

Summer so far

By George Yeoman 2nd October 2020

It's been a busy summer so far to say the least. Following on from my week at the i14 Nationals POW (see my blog on that here) I headed to the Morgan Cup team racing event in Newport, RI in the US and then back for Cowes Week in an XOD.

Morgan Cup, NYYC

I headed out to Newport as part of the Royal Thames YC team racing with Soph. It was a 3 boat team racing event held out of the world renowned NYYC Harbour Court in Sonars. It was a truly awesome event, sailing just in the mouth of the harbour with modern racing yachts and classic 12m's sailing around us.

It was probably the highest quality event I have ever sailed in. Every one of the teams were very well drilled and experienced in the format of keelboat team racing, unfortunately more so than us and we were on the receiving end of a number of tough losses where our lack of cohesion eventually let us down on the final legs. But as a boat we sailed well and it showed that a bit of speed can keep you in the race.

We completed 2 round robins, and on the off races, sailors were expected to umpire, which needless to say is harder than it looks. In the boat as the helm, everything is calculated, 2, 3, 4 moves ahead. But when you are looking from the outside at the top team racers, then there are some moves that catch you unawares which you are not prepared - for this split second where the confusion arises, it is not easy to spot every small infringement. It certainly gave me a new level of respect for the umpires and the racing would not be the same without them.

Cowes Week

I came back in time to jump in the front of an XOD at Cowes Week, crewing my dad (it's nice to be able to give back after all the support he has given me). Cowes is a marathon of a week, and for those that have done it before will know the feeling of exhaustion after a 4 hour race on the Wednesday with another 3 races to go.

We had started the week well, battling it out with multiple time winner, Lass, from our home club, Itchenor, Gleam from Yarmouth and Ibex from Lymington, showing the high quality across the different fleets in the XOD. Half way through the week we were joint 1st being the only boat to have scored top 4s throughout the week. This is when the event started to turn. Wednesday saw us race a very well set WW/LW up the Stokes Bay shore and after 8/9 legs we had a comfortable lead and were 100 yards from the finish. At this point a typical Cowes feature occurred, a faint sea breeze came in and knocked out the North Westerly we had been racing in. We then had to watch as 2nd and 3rd being our two closest rivals in Gleam and Lass pick up fingers of breeze and pass us on both sides, heart breaking! But as we finished 3rd we were more than still in the competition.

X50 Xcitation X50 Xcitation
The next day we had a poor start on the Squadron line and had to fight back through the fleet and eventually pulled through to 8th but now with a discard we were 2 points adrift of the lead as Lass continued to put together a solid series. We led the next race up the first beat but a split breeze dropped us back into contention, and then a lack of experience allowed Lass to come past us as we missed a shelf dropping off into the stronger tide, and with this we panicked and thought we saw the competition sailing away. We started to take risks and eventually headed to the opposite side of the Solent to our competition and for a while this looked good, however it did not pay once we converged with the fleet having to cross the tide at a less beneficial point. With this we had put ourselves out of contention for the lead, we had however cemented 2nd place which, while disappointing at the time, achieved our timeline goal of a top 5 whilst looking at the 3 year program. The key difference that allowed us to improve on last year was boat prep, showing that even my Olympian father in his late 50s is still learning about the sport, that is the great thing about it! The RS200 Nationals are up next, nearly 100 boats have entered and I cannot wait to get started, Shaka is ready to go with the new Halitec main halyard and a smart new kite (you won't be able to miss us ;-) )!

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