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Thought for the day - IOM Ranking event at Lincoln

Lincoln is 3 hours away from home and is a great sailing facility on a squarish gravel pit. It is a good location for sailing as you can sail in all the wind directions but sometime the sailing can be difficult in light shifty winds.

First of all my thanks to Jen and the race teams for organising good racing in difficult conditions and an endless supply of tea. The event very nearly got cancelled as there was covid in the Lincoln camp brought back from the DF95 globals.

I arrived on Friday late afternoon to avoid the bank holiday rush. I left just in time as the sat-nav routed me via an old Roman road (Ermine Way) as there was trouble brewing on the M1 and A1M heading north. It was a beautiful afternoon with the gentle wind blowing off the shore we were parked on. I promised Jen Hand one of the organisers, Cocktails at 6 O clock on the shore which were duly delivered. There was no point sailing as the wind was going to be in a different direction on Saturday. We had such a pleasant evening in glorious sunshine surrounded by wildlife. It was an idyllic start to the weekend and akin to a never ending mindfulness moment from Spring-watch.

All the competitors piled in on Saturday to be greeted by very light shift conditions, making Darin Ballington's job as race officer extremely difficult. To add to the difficulties it was quite hot with the heat reflecting off the ground and sometime the sailors were not sympathetic to the trials that Darin faced in trying to set a race course.

There were 37 boats in 2 heats. I won the seeding race and was in the top 5 in the second race at the 1st leeward gate when I picked up weed. The fleet sailed past and when the leaders finished I was the length of the lake behind. My demotion to B heat was short lived and in the third A heat race I finished third. All I needed was a forth race and then I could discard the bad result. Sadly the wind never cooperated and we closed proceedings after 3 races. All was not lost as I finished 5th overall which meets my goal for the day. I was happy

Another glorious evening by the van, this time with my other neighbours. Pan fried steak, Ratatouille and salad was on the menu washed down with red wine. At 5pm, I was asked what my plan for the evening was. The answer - A cup of tea followed by a scotch followed by red wine and then dinner in the sunshine. Perfect preparation for another days racing.

Sunday dawned cloudy and cooler with a good breeze from the NNE. Chris Harris was the race officer for the day. Again there were huge shifts. Sometimes you could lay the windward mark on starboard and then sometimes on port. We had 8 races in two heats and I was pleased not to visit B fleet or even get close to it. Racing was like snakes and ladders where huge gains could be made and lost. In the end I finished joint third with James Hadden from Gosport but he beat me on count back.

What was different about this weekend is I had freedom of thinking to sail as I liked and take calculated risks which often paid off. If I got stuck in the pack I sailed an excellent second beat which got me back to the front of the fleet. I was relaxed and happy, and always kept the boat sailing fast. The results could have been better without the weed on Saturday but others suffered worse than me.

A forth and fifth is a great result for me and a vast improvement on previous ranking events. It will help my ranking position, keeping me in the top 10 and gives me a confidence boost in my journey to the Nationals and Europeans.

If you have the time look up the Podcast, "Don't tell me the score" which I mentioned in the previous post. There are many fascinating stories and always some lessons for life.

Enjoy your sailing. I am at Frensham tomorrow and Chipstead on Wednesday for their open meeting.

Saturday results

Sunday results

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