After a couple of months in lockdown confined to the house, the nearby running tracks and my windsurf board i was desperate to get back out on the water.
Immediately after finishing my virtual last day of school in early July I was in the car on the familiar (perhaps too familiar!) 7 hour drive down to Weymouth to pick up the new toy for this summer: a 49er!
I’d made the decision to buy a 49er a few months earlier when seemingly all summer plans vanished due to the international 29er class announced that the Worlds in Weymouth and Europeans in Copenhagen were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. I suddenly had months worth of free time in summer and it seemed to be the ideal time to take up a new challenge.
The next few weeks consisted of a fair bit of swimming mixed with brief periods of 49er sailing, until RYA Wales finally gave me permission to head over to wales and jump back into the 29er with my crew Ben Willet, who had previously been prevented from sailing due to the Welsh governments 5 mile travel ban. Therefore, in a matter of days i was fully face masked and hand sanitiser on a train to pwllheli for a weeks training.
We had every different conditions in Pwllheli from 20 knots and swell to light wind chop and flat water planing making it ideal for blowing the cobwebs off, improving the basic and testing out every piece of Neilpryde kit K had. Both Ben and I were ecstatic to be back sailing the 29er and even hearing the news of Neilpryde 29er nationals being cancelled didn’t dampen the mood.
Looking forwards, we plan to continue with a high intensity of 29er training whilst throwing in a bit of learning to sail the 49er in order to refine our skills ready for next season. Our next events are the two Grand Prix’s in Weymouth in October and the rescheduled Youth Nationals in our home waters of Pwllheli a couple of weeks later. We are desperately hoping they go ahead and are currently aiming for podium positions in all three events to set us up in a good ranking for the season to come.
It was good to chat to Neilpryde ambassador Jon Emmett about sailing in general, the kit and venue knowledge. He shared his experiences of the wind in Aarhus with us as we start to plan for out long term goal of a top 10 at the worlds there next summer. We are hugely excited to keep working with Neilpryde for the remainder of this campaign and hopefully gain as much knowledge as possible from the contacts available through them.