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Over the weekend of 8th and 9th April I took part in the Sprint 15 TT at Marconi Sailing Club in Essex.
A Sprint 15 is a small catamaran, 15 foot long and can be sailed in a number of different combinations. Single handed, two up or by yourself with trapeze and jib (sport mode). This weekend I was sailing single handed with no trapeze and just a main sail.
I joint 28 others for the first 2017 Sprint 15 Summer TT including locals from Marconi and Stone SC as well as many travellers who had made the trip. This was our second venture out on the Sprint 15 this year after taking part in the Sail Juice Series in early Jan.
Saturday morning came but the wind didn't which resulted in a postponement until after lunch and even then, some of the fleet were towed to the start area where they beached on Osea Island and chatted in the sunshine waiting for some wind. After just over an hour waiting in the glorious sunshine the wind decided to make an appearance and continued to build throughout the day.
It was lovely to be out sailing again, and most importantly in summer sailing kit! My Zhik Microfleece trousers got pulled out of the bag and my Zhik Superwarm was put back in the trailer ready for another day.
For me it was clear the key to having a good result was getting off the line quickly and keeping in clean air. The course was relitevely small for the number of boats and this meant not many people managed to get away to racing was close.
The start line was very port bias but of course there are still those who chose to start on starboard which made picking a gap between the other boats was hard. I failed on all 3 occasions on Saturday. The first time I had to tack off, the second time I had to duck a few and the third time I ended up ducking down to the committee boat end but there was plenty of fresh breeze down there.
I am pleased to say my results got better throughout the day on Saturday and the racing was great fun.
Again on Sunday morning once the fog burnt off it was very warm and sunny. The wind had however delayed its appearance again on Sunday though.
Race 4 of the weekend was another trapezoid course and I managed to get my best result of the weekend there - a very reasonable 7th place. I was lucky enough to see a big header on the first upwind after getting a good start, this put me in 4th place going round the first windward mark. There wasn't going to be any catching the experts so I decided to play safe and defend as much as possible throughout the race. Unfortunately a few of the very experienced sailors got past me including Jenny Ball on the last mark - my fault!!!
The final race of the weekend was to go around Osea Island and then head back to the club. A very weird angled start line but we all slipped away and I was pretty near the front again. I managed to hold that position for a while but others were creeping lower for speed and were pulling away. I made the mistake of tacking into the island to see if I could see the turning mark, this killed my race.
At the turning mark I was 2nd from last wondering where it all went wrong...... On the downwind to the committee boat finish I did get a bit of luck with many of the boats parking in a hole of no wind. I managed to power up and push through to pop my nose out ahead of them. I caught some breeze and pulled away much to their frustration - taking a large boats in the last 100 yards kind of made up for the major mistake earlier in the race. I finished 16th.
Overall I finished 12th which I was very happy with for my first 'official' Sprint 15 sailing event. I also received the best newcomer award.
More sailing news to come from me later in the season.
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