I am writing this blog from WPNSA (Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy) at the RYA Youth Nationals where I am doing the event media for the UKLA (United Kingdom Laser Association).
So far, it has been a real mixed bag of a Championship: day 1 too much wind where the race team under PRO Peter Saxton did a fantastic job to get one race in, and day 2 where everyone was waiting for wind in the drizzling rain. Probably they should have been preparing for exams, but instead they were enjoying socialising with their fellow sailors which is always nice to see and an essential part of the sport.
I was Race Officer for Castle Cove Sailing Club along with 2 Olympians (Laura Baldwin 2004 Athens, Lijia Xu 2008 Beijing, 2012 London, 2016 Rio) as my assistants, but with the wind averaging around 30 knots directly onto the pontoons and both slipways, it was an easy decision to cancel the racing considering launching would have been nearly impossible. So, I tried to make the decision as early as possible to save people a wasted trip to the club.
Indeed, it was so windy that sadly the pontoons got damaged and will need repair. I hope this won’t affect racing on Wednesday (when I am also Race Officer). Believe it or not I also chose this day to have triple glazing installed in my front room… it was not the day to have a big hole in the house with everything blowing from the front of the house to the back!
Probably I should be using this time to pack for Hyeres. Fortunately, I leave my super large wheely NeilPryde bags with most of my kit with Tuula Tenkanen (the Finnish Radial sailor I am working with to gain Olympic selection for the 2020 games in Tokyo). So, when we meet in Nice Airport immediately after the Youth Nationals I will be traveling with hand luggage only… no chance of any luggage causing delay as nearly everything essential is already there. The most essential kit I am bringing is a new (well actually 3 new) self-bailers as she broke hers in Palma at the Princess Sofia regatta and believe me, a broken self-bailer really doesn’t help your speed in light winds.
The European season is already well upon us (almost straight after Hyeres I am off to Porto for the Europeans). I finished the Qualifiers (a rolling series of 6 events) on top of the UK ladder and so my next goal is the Masters Europeans where I am hoping to test the new NeilPryde Shoe before the Masters World Championships later in the year…
I was actually NeilPryde Sailing’s first “rider” having started working with their sister company Typhoon way back in 2006 and helping Neil Pryde coming from a World Leader in Windsurfing to hopefully repeating that success in sailing.
Please do also check out my regular blog on www.jonemmettsailing.co.uk I think I will probably need a good holiday after this whirlwind start to the season.
Sail fast, sail fair and most importantly… have fun.