October 09, 2020 3 min read

2020 UKLA National Championships

The UKLA Nationals were planned to happen at Mounts Bay earlier in the year, however, like most events it was cancelled due to Corona. The sailing calendar for the Summer was empty until the UKLA decided to run a revised National Regatta, Which would take place in Weymouth. The Standards and 4.7s went 3 days before us, meaning our racing would run from the 27th-29th August. 8 races were planned, and we managed to complete all of them, giving us two discards.

Photo Credit UKLA

Thursday 27th August

Day one of the Nationals, we got rigged and launched in medium winds, I was tempted to use my new sail, so glad I didn’t! I was in the yellow fleet for day 1.

Race 1

I had a terrible start but kept my cool and went left and managed to get to the windward mark in 13th place – YAY! I then lost places on the downwind, I found it really tricky because it wasn’t wavy it was more like short chop, the boat kept slamming into the waves ahead of me, which is not fast. I managed to gain a few up the next upwind, and then lost again downwind. Overall this race got me a 23rd which I was super happy with!

Race 2 & 3

The afternoon saw the wind pick-up massively. I struggled to find the favoured side up the beat in both races, after super poor starts. In race 2 I hit a mark meaning I had to do a penalty turn, which slowed me down no end, I achieved a 34th in that race. Then a 32nd in the last race of the day. I struggled to keep hiking upwind, and lacked the control and speed downwind, weather file showed that It was gusting 37 knots, so It was upper weather limit racing.

Friday 28th August 

Race 4, 5 & 6

The fleets were shifted around today, and I was in Red. Friday was not that windy at all, the first race I managed to gain a 30th after another terrible start. The 2nd and 3rd race again followed a similar format, I struggled to find the favoured way up the beat. Every. Single. Time. I think I was so focused on going left or right I neglected the shifts, hindsight is a wonderful thing. The most encouraging part of the day was one decent start where I managed to lee-bow the boat above me, woohooo!

Saturday 29th August

The fleet split had stuck and I was in silver fleet, gold can be next years goal! It looked breezy and we had two raced scheduled. 

Race 7

I had a terrible start, and went up the middle of the beat which didn’t work at all, the windward mark was at one of the harbour gates, it looked huge from the line! Downwind went okay, and upwind I gained a few more spaces back. I could have got a few more on the reach to the finish, however at the gybe mark I got my sheet stuck over my boom! So I couldn’t bare away or sheet out for the whole leg, whoops! I got a 23rd in the race which I wasn’t really happy with, as this was the silver fleet after all.

Photo credit Georgie Altham

Race 8

Issy gave me some advice just before the race ‘Just go for the best start’. So middle of the line, at risk of a black flag, I decided to go for it. It worked! I didn’t get pinged and I had a great start, clear air all the way up the beat meant I could focus on playing the shifts. I managed to get a 6th to the windward mark! Woohooo! I then did okay on the reach, and wasn’t doing too badly on the downwind until I death rolled! I ended up near the back by the time I had the boat upright again. Anyway I managed to gain places on the beat and got back into the teens, I did okay on the downwind, It was super windy at this point so I was happy I didn’t fall in again! I finished with another 23rd which wasn’t ideal, but I was pleased with my start, upwinds and even the downwinds to a point.

Photo Credit Georgie Altham

Overview

Overall I really enjoyed the event, It was planned brilliantly by the UKLA and WPNSA. I didn’t originally plan to compete as it wasn’t one of my focus events. However, once it was moved to Weymouth, and became the stand-alone event of the lost season it would have been silly not to. I feel like I’m heading in the right direction, some races were promising and others were not. Now back to Stokes Bay to get learning again!


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