It has been a busy start to the season so far.
HISC RS200 Open
Hayling played host to 48 boats for the Summer Championships. This was our first 200 event of the year in a season which has been dominated by team racing so far. It was a light wind affair for the two days and this gave us an opportunity to get back into the rhythm after a windy winter! We slowly improved over the event and managed to finish with a 1-2 to finish 2nd overall.
Itchenor RS200 Open
45 boats arrived at our home club for the National Circuit series with 8 short races planned over the two days and all the top guys in the fleet taking part it was going to be a tough weekend. We sailed really well on Saturday and managed a consistent set of top 2 results which left us with a comfortable lead over night. However Sunday proved to be a lighter, shiftier affair and unfortunately a number of bad starts used our discards as we won one race but came away with 3 other results in the teens leading to us finishing second overall by 2 points. A gutting result but knowing our starts had let us down on Sunday is something that we can control and practice. Need to break the curse of being the bridesmaid!
Swan42 Nationals NYYC
This was our process regatta for the big event in September, the New York Invitational. It was an opportunity for us to line up with the US boats who were battling for their qualification places for the Invitational (we already have our space).
The event ran over 4 days and no discards are allowed in the event, meaning that digging out from difficult positions is key. We showed some good pace toward the end of the event but having not been on the boat as a team in the better part of 2 years. We got better throughout the week with a range of conditions from 5 knots through to 30 and thunderstorms in one day.
One of the key areas coming to yacht sailing even more so than in dinghy sailing is setting up the rig. We sailed the first day without checking the rig after a long delivery and after struggling on one tack we realised that the rig was bent out of shape. Luckily, we note down our settings each time we change them and were able to resort back to the last event we attended in France and once we re-tuned the boat we were back on the pace. A key lesson learnt, when you find a fast mode, note it down then you can always find it again.
Cowes Week XODFollowing on from runner up from last year we had high hopes for this year. I arrived on the Tuesday and the fleet had taken results all over the scoreboard with only 2 boats who had managed all top 5s in the first 3 races. This left a bit of work for us to do but still with more than half the regatta to go there was a long way to go. The rest of the week was made up of strong building Southwesterly breezes with a few days over 20 knots. We struggled with the top end of the wind range and had to go through a number of different set ups before finding our gear on Wednesday but only to get caught out overstanding a layline (all too easy at cowes week) and although we thought back through the fleet but not enough. We managed to finish on a high on Saturday as the mid range breeze came in and we were able to work our way up a long beat into the Western Solent followed by a long run against the tide to finish 2nd in front the Cowes green. A 3rd top 10 result in 3 years but not quite the result we wanted. But as with Cowes, we are always learning! Looking forward... Next up we're heading to Rock, Cornwall for the i14 Nationals, which will hopefully involve less swimming than last year and with the Worlds coming up next year it will be a great opportunity to see where we need to improve. In September I'm heading back out to the States for the Swan 42 Invitational with Itchenor. Then in October we are heading out with the rest of the Birdham Bandits for the US Team Racing Nationals. Exciting times! :D