It is a curious thing to enter an event which one has not done before, where there are so many experienced players to race against. When I was thinking about how I might do, I thought about finishing in the top ten and then the top twenty and finally realised that I don’t have a clue what my finishing place will be. After all, It is only my second year racing these boats (club sailing, two opens and the Veterans) and I have not met the top competition yet.
It has been an interesting year and a half since I decided to move into the world of IOM's. From researching information on IOM's and designs, building two boats, creating this web site and then capitulating and buying a second hand Britpop. Both of my Alternatives will go up for sale some time after the Nationals but I need to give them a professional look and feel first. The goal then is to build a third capitalising on everything I have learned.
I have sailed the Alternative at Frensham, Emsworth and Southsea and the Veterans at Lincoln. It is not much of a build up for a Nationals but I have all my youth sailing experience to draw on if I can remember what that was.
I have eliminated all the variables I'n my campaign. The Britpop hull, the BG sails and the optimised PG rig. All the setting are based on those of BG. I have practiced against some good fleets with plenty of starting practice but have no idea how sharp I will be against the seasoned top sailors or for that matter, the mid Fleet.
At the Veterans, I made 6 mistakes over the weekend all resulting in turns and adding the port tack boat that took me out on the starting gun, I calculated I lost 40 points or more and that would have put me in the top 5 in a home build. I hope to avoid this over the Nationals weekend.
If there is wind and chop, that will be a new experience and add to that the fact I have not raced with a C rig yet. There are conflicting forecasts at the moment. Windy app suggests light Easterlies but Weather Pro says Westerlies. There is a low pressure forecast to hold station off southern Ireland which will draw Easterly winds across the country. That would make for Interesting sailing at Fleetwood.
So there are lots of variables. I estimate there will be 15 to 18 races over the weekend so there is plenty of opportunity to catch up.
What are my objectives for for the weekend:
Enjoy myself to the max and relax
Finish and be happy with my position
To build and follow up on each race plan
Be totally prepared so there is minimal chance of a SNAFU
If I am behind, relish the task of catching up
If there is weed, remember that everyone will get it at some point.
Follow my advice on the web site
Sail fast and free
Learn what the fast skippers are doing
Don’t get me wrong, I am out to win but winning comes with the right mindset and experience. When I was 16, I learnt that to win races, one has to think about all the tiny details rather than winning the race itself.
We shall see over the weekend what happens.
Results should be up on the IOMGBR web site as they happen.
Wish me luck