KSSA Promoting Youth Sailing in Kent
KSSA event



Oxford Championships 2010

The early morning awakening and the long 2 and a half hour drive, prepared us for a lovely weekend away at the Oxford NSSA championships. The strong Kent team consisting of me, my brother, Daniel both sailing toppers, Hannah Golton and Stephanie Wicken in laser radials and Ben Grey in his Optimist, all travelled up eagerly Saturday morning to await a good weekend of sailing and racing.

The lack of wind and the lovely rain didn’t dampen the spirits of all the competitors, however the rain cleared and more wind came. The competitors briefing was at 11am on Saturday morning and by this time the wind had picked up to a nice 10-15 knot breeze, with this picking up to a nice force 4 after lunch.

The start of the first race was tense and as the 3 minute gun went, the nerves inside of all the competitors grew. By the 1 minute, everyone was starting to rack up on the line, fighting for the gaps and the lack of shouting made me sound like I was extremely loud. BANG. The start of the race was short and sweet; all the competitors pulling their trigger pulls, accelerating off the line at full speed. The first beat was tough, with first position changing all the way up the beat. At the first mark I was leading, with quite a lead on the rest of the fleet.

The second race was pretty much the same with fairly light winds and shifty conditions, with the competitors all fired up and ready for another try at winning. Again the start was very close, with Daniel winning the committee boat end and powering over the line. All the way up the beat myself and Daniel where fighting for first position. After the second race we had a break and went in for some tasty lunch. I had a jacket potato in order to replenish myself with some fresh energy! After lunch we had another two races back to back.

The wind had increased by now to a constant force 4. However the third race brought about a new winner, Martha Osman from Oxford sc, with a very respectful win. After that race, i had a quick chat with Daniel about tactics and which way we thought would pay up the beat of the next race. After doing some split tacks we decided the right of the beat would pay, and after our preparation we where right and we lead 1st and 2nd at the windward mark.

However, the conditions on Sunday where very different, with gusts of up to 39mph blowing through, there was to be a day of tough racing, with a quick competitors briefing at 9am, informing everyone with the plan for the day. The fresh smiles of the competitors showed that everyone had had a good sleep and where very prepared for the days racing. When we first got out there we realised how tough the day was going to be. After watching the handicap and lasers start, it showed that going up the middle of the course was going to pay for the first beat. With a quick test run, I found that this was going to be the winning plan for the 1st race of the day. And I was right. I had a fairly big lead of about 10 boat lengths at the windward mark; however Daniel was putting alot of pressure on and covering me on the top reach and downwind. At the bottom mark coming back up to the start/finish line, my lead had reduced down to about 6 boat lengths. These made me even more determined to power up the beat and increase my lead. Going over the lap line, I had a quick smile at the committee boat and carried on, to complete another lap. My determination paid off up the second beat, as my lead was now about 40 seconds over the second place boat. The second race saw me lead again but with my brother Daniel powering through to take a tremendous second place.

After a quick lunch of quiche and chips (not the healthiest of lunches) the competitors where ready for one final race. The wind had now increased even more and we struggled to put up our sails on the shoreline. After the struggle we launched our boats eagerly, with everyone determined to get their best result of the weekend. The final start didn’t let the spectators down; everyone was now more confident in their boats and with the conditions and everyone was on the line fighting for the best position in order to get a good start. The first beat was tough and many people struggled with the many gusts that blew through the course. The fast and furious reaching was so fun, with everyone going super speed along the top and bottom reaching legs. The fleet was more spread out in this race, more then in any other, mainly due to very powerful wind.

After a very enjoyable weekend of sailing and racing, it was time for the prize giving. As everyone flooded into the reasonably sized club house of Oxford sailing club, all the competitors awaited eagerly to find out how they had done over the weekend. With Kent finishing in 3rd place overall, with a team of only 5, was a very well deserved position. Hannah finished in 7th and Stephanie in 2nd in the lasers, Daniel in 2nd and myself in 1st in the toppers, and small Ben finishing in

Charlotte Fenn