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IOM Nationals - The results are in.



If you want pictures, fleetboards etc and general reports and comments, look up the posts on Facebook - MYA Downwind.


So how did the 3 days go for me. I think the answer is, "not bad". To muck in with multiple world and national champions and end up 6th is a great result after 3 years sailing these boats. My first nationals, I was in the thirties, in the second, in the twenties and in my third, just outside the top 5. The next goal is top 3 and who knows what. What I need now is more consistency.


A top 5 finish could have been achievable but I made 2 critical errors in 2 races and that put a 17th and 11th on the score card. The other error was setting my B rig up too tight when the wind eased on the last day and after a good start I worked my way to last place.


The Nationals is a brilliant learning event. If you have not been I strongly recommend you give it a go. You may be overwhelmed by 22 or 24 boat fleets on the start line but the experience is invaluable and when you get back to your club you will be a much better sailor. You also get to see how the top sailors prepare and set up their boats.


The highlight was winning the A heat on Sunday morning. My first race was B heat which I was demoted to on Saturday. I won that easily and then went straight on to win the A. Now if only I could do that more often.

So what did I learn


  1. With such a tight fleet, if you have a collision at the first mark and have to do a turn, you end up in last place and it is so hard to recover 6 places to escape demotion. I did this in two races and got demoted to B heat. The moral here, is avoid contact at all costs. Allow extra room when passing behind starboard boats. Never tack under them unless the left hand side is the side to go. Make sure when you tack for the windward mark, allow a bit extra as the wind can head you at the mark and you will have nowhere to go if you have to luff head to wind or beyond to get round the mark.

  2. On the start line, be brave. Sometimes you lose sight of your boat so it is important to keep your bow in sight and sheet in slightly early to keep with the boats to leeward. Conversely don't be stupid and sheet in too early. You will either shoot over the line early or have to let your sails out to stop the boat just when every one else is sheeting in and accelerating. These are skills you can only experience at the Nationals or ranking events.

  3. Learn to drive your boat fast in your chosen lane off the start line. This is a skill I am developing because it is difficult to drive hard when you have a boat to leeward of yours.

  4. I had a problem with a servo which did not centre the rudder correctly. There was a random 3-5 degree variation left and right. I swopped it with a new one on the Saturday night to eliminate any doubt of faulty steering.

  5. Lastly after racing I checked inside the boat to see if there was any water. The hull was bone dry so I thought everything was OK. When I got home and removed the front and rear patches, I found condensation on the winch. I guess the casing is metal and when it gets cold causes condensation. Now I remove the forward and aft patch overnight. Despite being in a campervan, I have room to allow the boat to dry. All the electrics are coated in corrosion X and I remove the receiver and batteries overnight. In my dinghy racing days we used to put small bags of silica gel and this sucked the moisture out of the inside of the hull.

I was slightly surprised that the majority of the fleet elected to leave their boats in the boat shed. Each boat was freshly washed to get the salt off and left to dry. Each morning when I walked into the boat shed, it smelt damp. I dread to think what a damp atmosphere will do to electrics.


Finally a huge thank you to the team at Fleetwood. Their execution of the event was flawless.



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