Over the weekend Zennor and I competed in our first regatta, If i am honest, i would have preferred to do a little more training before we went into competitive race mode. But because of the way the calendar works this was our last chance to do some racing before Christmas.
We were competing in the last of the national ranking events hosted by the RYA at WPNAS on Portland. Unfortunately and previously unknown to me, most of the Nacras have all ready moved to sunnier climbs for training so, we were left with the 3 'hardcore' boats battling the elements in the UK.
Day 1 (Saturday)
Saturday was always forcasted to be light, but when we arrived at the academy first thing it did seem like there was breeze across the harbour, so sailing was on. After a quick bite to eat and coffee, we prepared the boat for light conditions. The sun was beaming but it was definitely a bit chilly, so we wrapped up warm for our day on the water.
On launching the breeze was actually quite nice and we flew a hull most of the way down to the starting area, but it seems that was our lot. As soon as we reached the committee boat, the wind began to moderate and become increasingly shifty. The committee tried hard to get some races away but made the right decision to can them as the wind was just too all over the place. We hung out on the water for a good few hours but eventually the wind dropped to nothing and we were towed back to the beach.
It was great for us to get on the water in a competitive environment. While we didnt race, it was a good opportunity for Zennor to get a better idea of whats involved.
This was the day, after a no race day previously, they were sure going to squeeze as much in as they could on day 2. A 10.30 start meant being a little organised. But we knew what needed to do and the boat was rigged and set up for the day. The wind was looking better, a constant 10kts seemed to be across the harbour, After launching and before the race we were able to line up with the other Nacras, to check our speed and set up. It all felt really good, So then it was time for racing
In race one, we were able to capitalise on our speed and height off the line, and by starting to leeward of the bunch we eventually forced the boats above to tack. After waiting another 10 seconds to lock into the next patch of breeze we tacked to cover, and in a little more breeze creamed across the middle of the course. After rounding the windward mark first, it was just a matter of controlling the other boats. The good news for us is that both our speed and maneuvers seemed to provide gains all around the course, and thus our lead grew on what was a very short race. So race 1 down, still undefeated!
Race 2 and 3 the course was made even shorter but the number of laps was increased. This was good as it put more of a focus on the boat handling side of things, which is what we have been working hard on over the last few weeks. Everything worked really smoothly, hoists, drops, tack and gybes all went as planned. And that combined with 2 good starts, gave us 2 more race wins. 3 our of 3!
In race 4 again we had a perfect start and managed to find our way to the line of breeze first, but while leading the race by a good margin, Our spinnaker cloth pulled out of the tape along the foot, we were able to limp around the last few laps to secure the win, but at that stag with only one race remaining, we thought it was better to save the spinnaker and have it easily repaired rather than have a full blow out trying to race with i again. So unfortunately race 5 for us was a retirement.
Despite the breakage and retirement in race 5, Zennor and I were still at the top of the results and were so happy to come away from our first event with the win and a new whiskey glass! It really was nice to know that all the time we have been putting in over the last few weeks has been worth it. We are now even more pumped up for some international competition, to test our selves against the worlds best! but that will have to wait a little while until Palma regatta in march next year.
Roll on winter training here in Cornwall, I have the ice-pick ready to clear the boat before sailing. Check back soon for more updates, pictures and info.