Topper Inlands at Grafham Water Sailing Club - by Sam Cooper
Photo: Simon McIlwaine www.wavelengthimage.com (Topper Worlds 2016)
I had a choice at this event as to whether I stayed ashore, whilst my sister sailed and I revised, or I went on the water as well. Given that it was only my Yr10 end of year exams not GCSEs, I decided to go for the latter!
That said, I hadn’t been in a Topper racing competitively for 6 months and was a little worried about doing badly.
The first day brought light winds and the main things to think about were:
- Not going out to the corners and giving lots of leverage between you and the fleet
- Getting clear air and having options off the line
- Having a transit
- Paying attention to the clouds (big black ones usually bring wind)
- Compass numbers - useful for knowing how big the shifts were. Getting these pre-race is often difficult but worth it!
The next day brought a lot more wind, which was a relief as it is always much easier to be consistent as you can control much more of the factors:
- Starts were still important as this day was really only about boat speed and clear air is a fairly big factor
- The first beat is always the hardest as this is where everyone works as hard as they can and the downwind is when they recover.
- The next beat is a little different as people start to slow down and hike less.
I would like to thank Natalie for helping me realise that “it’s not how heavy you are, it's how hard you work” and also to Will Adler who was in my flight and made me have to work extremely hard and I’m sure his legs hurt just as much at the end of the day as mine!
Finally, thank you to Scott and Brandon for throwing me in…(Note from Rooster: Sam failed to mention he won the event with a scoreline of 1, (3), 1, (11), 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 - needn't have worried about the 6 month break, WELL DONE!)