The Qualifiers There are six Radial Qualifier events a year to decide who goes to the World and European Championships. These events are called Qualifiers because they qualify you to go to the international events. They also form part of the Radial ladder which is effectively the National ranking. You count your best four from the last six events (it is a rolling ladder) so it is often a good idea to do more than the minimum four events, just in case you have a bad event.

On the first day there are three races which start at midday. The entry for the Radials is often very large (over 100 boats) which means that the fleet is split into four groups with each group racing each other once. On the second day the fleet is divided into the top and bottom half (Alpha and Beta) to decide the overall winner. By splitting the fleet it reduces the number of boats on the start line and therefore the likelihood of general recalls.

I have actually been doing the Qs since the early nineties and it is great practice to be able to race against the best people in the country. Even those sailors who are ranked in the top twenty in the World still have to come and do the Qs to get a place for the World and Europeans. It can be somewhat of a shock to the system when you come from regularly winning races in a Junior class to racing in an Olympic class (for women).

This year I made a good start at the first event at Stokes Bay with a win. It was a nice start for me as we raced only on the Sunday with Saturday spent watching the rugby due to light winds. My fitness still needs some work having had such a long time out with injury over the winter, so I was certainly not complaining when we raced only one day.

The next event was at Plymouth where I made a good start, leading the event overnight. Unfortunately on the second day I sailed poorly and managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory to finish eighth. On returning home, I visited the doctor and found I had a mild virus, but I should be recovered for the next event.

However the good news is that I have done enough to qualify for the Worlds/Europeans in Largs this year (the Europeans and Worlds is a combined event as the Worlds is in Europe this year). This was my goal and so now I can focus on the things I need to get right in time for Scotland in the summer.