Well, I’m afraid to say, the recent hot spell has really done for the last couple of open meetings. Can I say a big thank you to the host clubs for their clarity in decision making. It’s never easy to cancel or have an early finish, but it is appreciated by the competitors and allows us to spend our time and money wisely. I can certainly say the racing that we did have at the inlands was very tight and very competitive and produced worthy winners in Dave McKee and Mal Hartland. They followed their inlands success up with a convincing win on home waters at the Dovestone SC Open too.
In the midst of this competition, please don’t forget the reason why we’re doing this – It’s for fun. Let’s sail with a smile and be considerate of others. As I write this, I’m really pleased to report we have 49 entries for our Nationals at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy. This is a great achievement, and the entry profile ranges from multiple world and national champions to first time rookies. Isn’t sailing an amazing sport? It allows a wide range of ages and weights to be competitive and allows us to compete against, learn from and socialise with top-level athletes - maybe the wrong choice of word, but could you play golf against Rory McIlroy ? No, but you can sail at Weymouth against Steve Goacher, Richie Lovering and Chris Turner. And what’s more, if you ask them how they set their boat up, they’ll happily tell you.
I mentioned in a previous article that the association has asked Adam Bowers to come and coach the fleet during the nationals. Adam will be on and off the water on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday and he’s there for you both pre and post-race, offering thoughts on the upcoming coming day, providing a daily post race debrief, together with hints and tips to improve your sailing. Please come and take advantage of Adam’s communication skills and knowledge, his cv is impressive and includes the Olympic squad, to individuals such as Laurie Smith.
By the way, I first met Adam during his sailmaking days and was struck by his choice of transport, which he named Geoff. It was an ex-undertakers hearse. The sign writing strap line was ‘Sailmaking Undertaken’, see the logo below.
So, the Nationals are going to be a busy affair. My advice to the competitors is work as a team, keep a look out for other boats, communicate to each other where they are, what action both of you are going to take and how you’re going to achieve it.
:- you’ll be amazed what your helm’s missed - so let them know what you’ve seen, even if you think it’s the most obvious thing in the world.
:- your crew is not a mind reader, please let them know what your next manoeuvre will be, well in advance. It may be useful to talk through these moves on the shore. Indeed at the recent Scorpion nationals, one helm produced this T shirt for her crew to wear…..
Please be aware of the pinch-points around the race course and what the tide is doing. Under-standing the windward mark with a tide that’s pushing you onto the mark in a large fleet is a recipe for disaster – sometimes the only way out is to gybe out. So, sail conservatively, over-stand laylines and be very wary coming in on port within 3 boat lengths of the mark – you have very few rights.
Can I thank our amazing organising team of Christina, Alastair, Bill and Keith
. They have worked tirelessly to provide you with the best possible event, which includes 2 evenings of food, post-race beers, prize giving tea and prizes throughout the fleet – all within the entry fee. There’s still time to come and join us.
A bacon roll and lots of coffee and tea are also provided to all class members (not just competitors) on Saturday if you come along to our AGM. We’d love to hear your views and your incoming President - Bill Chard
- will talk you through his plans for the coming year.
One of the main strengths of the class is its club fleets and I’m amazed how the Parkstone Fleet is growing. They provided an amazing 25 boats at the recent Poole week and I’m very pleased that Steve Randle from Parkstone is joining your committee as Vice President.
Looking back through the summer, can I offer my congratulations to all of you who sailed at one of the many sailing weeks including Kipford, Bass, Cowes and Fed week. It’s not the winning, it’s sailing with friends and family that really counts and the Flying 15 is a boat that enables us to enjoy our time together.
The class’s Classic Nationals
were held over the first weekend of Bass Week and it is a testament to the build quality of the Flying 15 that in a mixed fleet of 27 boats, five silver and classic fleet boats, some over 60 years old, were in the top 12 places. Proof, if it were needed, that well-sorted and maintained older boats can still provide good competition and enjoyment. Congratulations to Classic winners, Bryan Willis and John McPeake from County Antrim, Northern Ireland and Silver winners Kenny and Paul Leask from Lerwick in Shetland. Thanks go to all competitors and families especially Graham Lamond and Jordan Aspin for their encouragement and organisational skills as we look to build on the success of this event next year.