Year to date: Much like sailing itself, my year has been a mixed bag for sure! The season got off to a great start, with a very enjoyable and highly competitive Selden Sailjuice Winter Series to see me through the cold months, as well as Bough Beech Sailing Club's equally enjoyable 'Icicle Series'. Both produced some great racing in the RS600 and I sailed well at the Grafham GP to take 2nd in the medium fleet and overall 3rd in the Icicle. It was at this stage that the Sailing Chandlery team agreed to some very welcome support for my sailing, which is the first highlight of the season!
The RS600 racing circuit got off to a slow start with storms and low numbers putting off the punters for the first round. Round 2 was a tactical challenge, sailing on a Northampton reservoir against a strong home fleet. The racing was wacky with challenging winds and I came through relatively unscathed to stand on the bottom of the podium.
Next up were the RS600 nationals and a cheeky trip to Sailing Chandlery HQ to pick up what turned out to be my favourite product of the year and a sailing bag must-have - the SOLRX Active Zinc SPF50+ sun cream.
The nationals were held in glorious Essex sunshine over a long weekend in June, and we were fortunate enough to have some serious sunshine. The SOLRX proved to be a lifesaver, especially as I had not long injured my face in a cycling accident, and wanted to keep the burn off any scar tissue. This sun cream proved a very worthwhile purchase, and kept the red nose and burnt ears at bay, meaning I could focus on the sailing for the most part!
If my season had finished with my result of day one of the nationals, I would have been very happy. After all, you are only as good as your last race...
Windy, sunny and at the front of the fleet, taking the yellow jersey into day two, I felt this might just be my year. Day two was a different story and I sailed my way down the fleet, getting into all sorts of trouble, crumbling under the pressure and expectation from the day before. Fortunately I was able to salvage the nationals by a few slim points and again found myself on the bottom of the podium.
My girlfriend and I were lucky enough to go to Garda for the RS800 Eurocup for a real sun cream test in July. The event lived up to the hype and we learnt a massive amount about heavy airs sailing. We set ourselves a goal of finishing at least one race in the top half, while having fun. Having managed both without too much drama (broken spreaders and capsizing aside), we returned home happy (and still talking!).
The RS800 nationals were again a mixed bag. We wanted to build on our result in Garda and ensure that the racing was still fun, to round out our first season on the circuit with the boat. The racing was challenging, with northerly winds that were mostly light and shifty. There was one very windy day, which we used as a lay day to explore Eastbourne. Watching the racing from the pier, we felt we’d made the right decision as we watched far more experienced 800 sailors than ourselves succumbing to meaty gusts. Overall, we were over the moon with a 16th out of nearly 50 boats and feel that we're getting sharper all the time.
And now the season is back to the cold and windy stuff, with the Sailjuice series in full swing. Priorities have shifted with the purchase of our first house (a project), meaning sailing time has become precious. I hope to fly the flag for Sailing Chandlery at the Grafham GP and go one better than last year! Thanks to Andrew and the team for the support this season.
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