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DF 95 nationals - An eventful experience

So having got day one out of the way I settled into the camper for the night with good expectations for day 2. Little did I know what was about to unfold.

Just before the alarm went off at 6.30 I started a nose bleed. I will spare you the details but by 9am it was still going strong. Some people on the camp sit came to have a look and recommended I move out off the sun. As I stood up the world went a bit fuzzy and passed out on the other side of the van momentarily. I was not in a good way so an ambulance was called which thankfully turned up in 10 minutes. From then on I was in good hands and I think they were more worried about a heart issue than a nose problem as they took several ECG's during the day. After a day lying on a bed and a full body MOT, thankfully in a private room with lots of check ups and an excellent lunch, we waited for an ENT specialist who was thankfully on site but could not find the offending vein when she looked. She recommended getting self referred into a local ENT department to have the vein cauterised.

The better half turned up mid afternoon and we both got a little stir crazy in the white walled room and were so bored we texted a list of the contents of the room to our kids including the number of wall and ceiling tiles.

We returned to the beautiful camp site for dinner and thanked our helpers on site who were pleased to see I was in better shape than earlier in the day. I am so grateful to them.

The service at Poole hospital was none other than outstanding. From the ambulance arrival time (10min), to reception and triage and being looked after through the day and discharge, the staff should be applauded.

The other thing to note is the campsite Mountain Cottage Yurts is a place of peace and beauty. The owner has horses, goats, chickens and wonderful cats and dogs. If you ever have to camp in or near Poole I would recommend the place. The site is laid out in a lovely valley away from any roads.

As to the championships, by 8.30am on that fateful morning I made the decision that I would definitely not be sailing any more. You might think I would be disappointed but the knowledge I gained from the podcast "Don't tell me the score", taught me to take the positives and move on. There is no point dwelling on things you cannot control and the situation was quickly put into perspective when I read the news later in the day, to hear more than a thousand had died in Morocco after an intense earthquake. We live in a beautiful country, are blessed with mild weather, have no earthquakes and at the moment no unpleasant neighbours and are able to pursue our hobbies without a care in world. What more could you want.

I was able to take many positives away from this curtailed event.

I was joint leader after day 1

My starting was excellent bar one race where I got completely out of position. Running down the line on port is not a strategy I would recommend. I learned you had to be aggressive taking the pin end if that is what was required.

My boat speed was a good as Craig Richard's who will no doubt win the event

My rig setup was good and as close to the recommended settings as I could get.My first ride in an ambulance was quite fun, hopefully not to be repeated

I missed the fish and chip supper on Saturday evening where flies invaded and caused at least one medical issue. Rumours are the culprits were Blandford flies which are nasty little critters

Finally, where is the secret in extra boat speed in a DF.

Always start with the standard rig settings

Get the twist of the main and jib parallel and right. Set up on the shore and test the balance on the water. Make sure the jib luff is tight enough and the leach holds up in the breeze. Use the main kicker to control weather or lee helm

Knowing when to ease the sails a notch to get max VMG upwind,

Sail fast and free. Often I found my boat sailing lower than any one else but always faster.

The boats are not dissimilar in setup to an IOM

I will put my rig setup and sailing thoughts on the DF 95 section of the web site

I look forward to challenging Craig in the near future.

Finally I just heard Craig easily won the event. Congratulations to him and my thanks to the Poole team for running the event.

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Nigel, I was really sorry to hear of your seriously bad luck. Your previous post was full of anticipation and hope for the final day. I am sorry you were unable to challenge the established leaders this time. We know you’ll be back!

I feel ‘95s offer amazing value for money and have pretty much democratised radio yachting, because like laser/ILCA dinghies they are all the same; and beyond buying an occasional set of new sails (for a very reasonable £55) you cannot buy boat speed.

I’m very much looking forward to reading your tuning tips and learning more about setup.

Best wishes and hope you can make it to Hunts for our ‘95 open.

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