I initially changed from the Laser standard rig to the Radial after an especially windy European Championships in Cascais, Portugal.

It was so windy that they could not really get the marks to stay in place with mark two moving downwind especially fast until the last race when they finally got it to hold place, but the race leader, Ben Ainslie, sailed to mark 3 instead (as mark 2 was now far further upwind than it had been all regatta).

This I thought was a particularly harsh way to lose a European championship.

However after this I struggle to think of a major regatta Ainslie did not win.

For myself this was also a turning point. Having reached twenty it was unlikely that I was going to grow significantly, and as I result I felt I was wasting my time in a boat I was too light in.

I had some excellent races in the light winds but I simply was not competitive in the strong winds, so whilst at University and not having the time or money to change to a Tornado or 49er, switched to sailing a Laser Radial, and at the end of the 2008 season it was my tenth year at the top of the Radial Ladder.

I have not had the greatest start this year with a leaky boat. I did not notice so much with the first event being sailed in very light winds at the Stokes Bay Qualifier but a long windy day on the water at the Highcliffe Qualifier saw me get slower and slower throughout the day as I gradually took on water.

Upon returning to Weymouth I tested for a leak by covering the breathe hole at the front of the cockpit (under the toe trap) and using a foot pump to put air into the boat.

I then washed the boat with soapy water but there were no bubbles over any of the fittings (toe strap, friction pad, cleats, blocks, grab rails etc.) but then I noticed there was a huge bubble bath coming out of my centreboard casing!

So I allowed the boat to dry, and the day before the Lowestoft Qualifier I “painted” the front and the back of the centreboard casing with epoxy (where the bubbles came out) and so I headed off to Lowestoft.

Saturday morning I had to sand out the casing to get the centreboard in so I knew I had done a good job.

Just like Highcliffe we had one day of no racing and one windy day of racing and things were definitely better but after a long day on the water there was still water in the boat.

However the good news is I still did comfortably enough to qualify first to represent the UK in the Europeans which will be held in Charlottenlund, Denmark, in just two months time (9-16 July).

So back to washing the boat (it has never been this clean!) and there seems to be some bubbles coming out the side of the casing right near the back… so epoxy out again and the next time I go sailing there is even less water in the boat but arggghhh still water (and I want a dry boat!).

In frustration I remove every screwed fitting and reseal it and then go for another sail.

Well there was less water but hmmmm still not dry.

My next event is in Holland and as it costs nearly twice as much on the ferry to take a trailer I opted to put the boat on the roof (not too easy when your van is well over 2 metres tall) to save money, but feeling somewhat annoyed to go to my fourth event this year with a leaky boat.

Upon pulling away from the WPNSA I slowed down at the first roundabout to see water coming out of the front screw holes from the bow fitting you tie your painter to. Yippee, problem solved (I really hope) as after all where water can come out from it can also come in from (and before you ask, I know it definitely was not rain as there was lots of salt on my windscreen!)

I am now off to Holland for what could well be another windy event with a good screw driver and fresh sealant in hand!