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Successful Summer for Blackwater Cadets

by Christine Brown 27 Aug 2018 13:09 BST
Jessica Haigh during the Optimist Nationals © Rob Haigh

Blackwater Sailing Club cadets have had a busy summer competing in National, European and World events held in different parts of the UK.

Nine cadets made the long trip to North Wales for the Optimist Nationals, held this year at the Plas Heli sailing centre just outside Pwllheli, from 4 to 11 August. This is the largest single class sailing event in the UK and featured 371 competitors from over ten different countries.

The weather was generally fair all week. So fair in fact that the main fleet were unable to race on the first day. The next two days saw a light breeze which enabled the principal race officer to hold five qualifying races, despite the shifty conditions. This was followed by a lay day - which this year featured team racing and then two days of finals racing.

In the senior fleet, for sailors 13 years and over, Joey Taylor and Nick Evans both secured top 40 finishes, a good result given the strong international competition. Evans was also pleased that his team won the team racing event. In the junior fleet, Hugh Andrews did well making it to the "gold fleet" for those sailors who finish in the top half of the qualifying series.

In the regatta fleet, aimed at newcomers to the Nationals,- consistent racing by Jessica Haigh secured the sixth girl spot for her while Lucy Shelter finished ninth girl. Osea Evans and Hector Trickey also did well in what were at times testing conditions.

The youngsters this year were joined by two older and more experienced Blackwater cadets - Matty Evans and Lola Andrews - who were part of the event coaching team and this is a mark of their own skills and development They both thoroughly enjoyed the experience of helping the young sailors gain their confidence.

The same week saw the the World championships being held at the 2012 Olympic venue at Weymouth and Portland National sailing Academy for both RS Tera and Aero classes. Blackwater Sailing Club had three entries for the Teras and one Aero representative.

Josephine Bernard (9) sailed in the Tera regatta fleet, designed for younger and less experienced sailors who are just embarking on their racing careers. This year it was run by the Andrew Simpson Trust based at WPNSA. 'It was really good fun and I did lots of capsizing when it got windy', said Josephine, who's confidence and skill has improved tremendously.

Jack Bernard (13) competed in the Tera race fleet with a sport sail, a slightly less powerful sail but the largest fleet. Due to numbers, they had two starts for the first two days before being split into Gold and Silver fleets depending on their results. Jack was over the moon to make gold fleet, and a steady improvement meant he finished in a very credible 29th position.

This was Sophie Johnson's (15) last event in a Tera. She raced in the Pro fleet. Unfortunately illness on day two prevented her from competing in three races, and the resulting massive gain in points meant she spent the rest of the event climbing back up the results table. Several top 10 results including two bullets pulled her up to 14 th place by end of day 4. All racing was cancelled on day 5 due to extremely windy conditions.

The following week saw the RS Feva European Championships taking place at Weymouth With 110 boats from ten different countries competing, After leading overall for most of the week Blackwater's Sophie Johnson with her crew Dylan Collinbourne were just pipped into second place on the last day. They were the first mixed team and crowned Mixed Team Champions.

Congratulations to all BSC cadets.

To find out how you can be part of this exciting club see www.blackwatersailingclub.org.uk

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