by Andrew Tarboton
After a long winter of boathandling and essentially sailing by ourselves, we eagerly anticipated some great racing when we headed off to Weymouth for the first of the Spring RYA Olympic classes National Ranker Regattas. A chance to pit ourselves against the Team GBR squad who have been busy training together throughout winter in warmer climes. The forecast looked good, with around 15 knots forecast for both days and a chance to even see the sun!
When we got to WPNSA the wind was up with it whistling through the rigging of the many yachts out on the hard for their winter overhaul, but once we got out onto the water it had died down to a good 15 knots, with a little extra in the gusts. The first race got underway and after a good start the fleet arrived at the weather mark all within a couple of boat lengths, now this is what it is all about! Tight racing with many lead changes and tussles at each mark rounding. We ended up giving away a couple of boat lengths after a sloppy mark rounding and ended the race in 6th. But pretty stoked with being in the mix. The next race got underway in similar conditions with some subtle switches thrown in to keep everyone on their toes. We rounded the first weather mark in first and managed to hold the lead until the finish! So a great result in the second race of the year for us which gave us the confidence that we have the boat speed. The rest of the day went in much the same vain, with good tight racing all round and positions changing on every leg of the races. In the end our rustiness in the race conditions lost us those vital half boat lengths which cost us badly in the results, but we were starting to polish the rust off by the end of the day.
Sunday dawned with much the same conditions, and just a light drizzle thrown in for good measure. First race got underway and we had pulled the trigger a little early, so ducked back at the start and managed to catch up to the pack, but didn’t quite get right back into it, giving us a 6th to start the day/ The second race was a great start with all 7 boats lined up all within mm’s of each other and off we went. We rounded in first at the weather mark and managed to hold this position for most of the race until we slipped up on a rounding and let James Peters and Finn Sterrit past us, and this is how it finished. Unfortunately we found that we had been called OCS, which must have been very close, but OCS none the less. As the day went on, the wind built. Going down a rig setting, we found some great speed and made some good moves during the next 2 races, rounding the day off with a 4 and a 3. With the wind getting up and the drizzle increasing to reduce the visibility, the RO sent the fleet home for a warm shower.
On the whole we are happy with the weekend’s racing, it gave us a great bench mark as to how we have progressed over the winter and a list of things we can work on. We are in the final planning stages for Palma and our first World Cup event of 2015, so it is all systems go!