I have just competed in my first National event of 2012 the Topper Winter Regatta. This saw 179 sailors mainly between the ages of 11 and 17 but also with a few adults thrown in for good measure. The event took place at Weymouth the Olympic sailing venue. My first race went well seeing me cross the fleet just after the start. By the first windward mark I was 15 boat lengths clear and by the end of the race I had extended my lead to two and a half minutes.
Race two saw the already light conditions fading and the course becoming patchy. My coach advised me to be conservative as I already had a good result. I chose the centre of the course but the right side had more pressure. I rounded the windward mark in 11th place but by the leeward mark I was up to 6th. The sailor in 5th (my crew mate in the RS Feva and Optimist National champion) defended his position well and I had to settle for 6th. That was it for the first day and once they compiled the scores for all the flights it left me in 4th position over night.
On the Sunday morning it was lovely and Sunny but there was no wind! It wasn't until 1:30 that they decided to launch. In my first race on the Sunday I did not manage to get round the first windward mark ahead of Dan Venables form Sutton. After rounding the Leeward mark we both went up different sides of the second upwind leg. Unfortunately Dan side paid more seeing him round the windward mark ten boat lengths up on me. It stayed like this till the end of this race.
My flight was in the first of the final two races. I knew if I won this one the only person who could beat him was Dan and that would be by winning his race. With Dan sitting waiting to start I piled on the pressure by rounding the first windward mark 20 boat lengths up on the rest of the fleet and eventually went on to win by over 4 minutes. Although Dan’s race was very close he managed to get out in front winning the race and the event by one point over me.
For this years winter regatta I wore my new rooster gear instead of my drysuit which gave me the flexibility to control my body temperature and also helped with the comfort breaks.
At the end of day I was pleased with second (1st of the losers) out of 179 in a very competitive fleet and this is just the first event of the season.
So what was the key to my success, was it my amazing tactical ability, no, it was my super sponge which was so good that people where asking to use it, so what was so good about it, well it shifts half a litre of water in each go and it was from wilko’s.