Two and a half days spent next to a lake watching, racing, socialising and hopefully learning. That's what I was doing last weekend. An IOM UK ranking event at Birkenhead had loured me away for what turned out to be a really enjoyable time. OK my results weren't that impressive but it's difficult to judge enjoyment purely based on statistics. I heard a couple of Skippers beating themselves up over a bodged tack or poor mark rounding but realistically what's the point! Any way that discussion is for another time. Back to the positives, Friday afternoon we had 8 practice races which were conducted in very relaxed and happy environment. The wind was moderate, the Sun was shining and we were all grateful just to be doing what we enjoy. The Competition started in earnest Saturday morning with fairly challenging Top suit conditions, eight races were run and due to the Heat Management system I must have participated in at least 10 races throughout the day as on a couple of occasions I made the cut to be promoted to B fleet. This means I finished in the top four of C fleet. However, should you finish in the bottom four of either A or B fleet you are demoted down a fleet.
On Sunday, the conditions were even more challenging. The mean wind speed was 24mph with gusts up to 44mph. Definitely storm suit conditions which was interesting. I had never sailed let alone raced with this the smallest of the IOM sail suits. A quick trial sail proved positive, no real issues my guess at the trim seemed to be OK. Although, a lack of experience, gaining 3 OCS's and misjudgments of speed & direction caused me to make contact with too many other competitors. In turn this resulted in me never gaining promotion. A little fine tuning throughout the day showed that the BOR has potential. Whilst for the relatively short times it was in the groove it made significant progress especially up wind. On one beat, after misjudging the start I crossed the line in last place. At the windward mark I had cut through the fleet to make the rounding in second place, which I held on to for the next leg and through the gate. The next beat saw me make contact with three competitors and hence I narrowly missed the cut again. This proved to be the normal scenario of the day in some respects. Still, it was great enjoyment and I met and made a load of new friends.