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After last weeks minor shoulder injury sustained whilst Sailing a Dart 16, it was great to get back on the water fully fit. The Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy was busy as they were at the start of ‘Speed Week’ and hoping a few records may be set to be broken. It wouldn’t have been on Saturday though as we experienced another beautifully sunny day with the wind averaging 7 knots in a south easterly direction.
Race Club had all the makings of a great afternoon as there were roughly 15 boats making up the session. This comprised of Pico’s, Laser 4.7’s and Laser Radials. The Radial was the boat that I was to sail so rigging and preparing the boat was my first task closely followed by changing into my wetsuit.
Once we were all ready, we launched off the slipway and made our way to the start line. To make it a fair start to all, we had staggered start times with the Pico’s going on 2, 4.7’s on 1 and finally the Radials on Go! This meant I was playing catch up from the start which isn’t the greatest boost to your confidence when you see the whole fleet in front of you. However, my larger sail soon allowed me to gain on the smaller boats and I was heading for the front of the pack. It is actually quite difficult to tell where you are placed in a race because sailing isn’t done in a straight line. With all the tacking and gybing going on the easiest way to get a feel of where you are is when you round the marker buoys however, spend to much time worrying where everyone else is and you inevitably lose time there too.
In an official regatta or series, the results are generally posted after each race and, depending on the duration of the event, you may even come off the water between the individual races. However, for a less formal afternoon of races, we continued from race 1 straight into races 2 and 3, sort of knowing roughly where you are, but there was no official confirmation from our Race Office Hannah until the very end. I found this frustrating to say the least and, by race 3, although I knew I was somewhere towards the front of the pack, I was dreading the final results. My need to succeed in sailing is so great that I could hardly bear to listen as Hannah finally announced the results. But, although I didn’t achieve 1st in all, or indeed any of the races, my results were consistently high enough to give me 1st overall for the afternoon. Highly delighted – and somewhat relieved – a frustrating afternoon had turned out amazingly satisfyingly!
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PORTLAND schoolboy Adam Greaves got a taste of life on the water with The Chesil Trust charity's Sail for £5 scheme and caught the sailing bug. The Royal Manor pupil has progressed through his dinghy sailing qualifications thanks to scholarship funding from the charity and SailLaser sailing school at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy and has now achieved assistant instructor level. Adam, aged 14, has already amassed more than 160 hours volunteer time at the academy. Here we follow his progress as he sets his sights on volunteering and taking part in the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic sailing events on his home waters.