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Confessions of a lockdown sailor

by Millie Irish 1 May 10:30 BST
Katie (left) and Millie at Draycote Water © Paula Irish

I'm not gonna lie, I hate lockdown. I know some people have found solace in digital sailing but it's not for me. I was just looking forward to getting my GCSEs out of the way ahead of a non-stop summer of sailing - and then lost the opportunity to do either!

I used to think that going to the club or an event and being unable to sail because there was no wind or too much wind was the end of the world. But now when I look back, I realise that even these days were great. Messing around on the beach at Hayling Island with RS Feva friends watching the red and white stripy postponement flag? Wasn't so bad really! Sitting in a mate's motor home at a Rutland 420 event waiting for the wind to fill-in? Had a lovely time!

At least we had the possibility of going sailing and it turns out that what I most miss about it all isn't just the racing, it's all the other bits which make up a day at the club or a championship: the messing about on the water and the friends and the fun onshore.

Although I'd put most of my sailing on hold to revise - which seems a shame in retrospect! - I had been really looking forward to Wednesday evening racing starting again with the lighter nights at my home club Draycote Water and to our Friday night youth racing and weekly barbecue, and to help out with Saturday morning junior club. I used to like hearing everyone's tales of their sailing and seeing the younger and newer sailors coming on with their skills in lots of different boats.

I'd been doing some Topper coaching at the club and was looking forward to taking some of the younger ones out in my RS Feva to bring on the next lot of enthusiasts for this fantastic class. The boat has taught me so much and it would have been fun to share the love!

For a long time, it looked like Travemunde Week in Germany might go ahead, where we were due to sail the RS Feva worlds, but that too has now been cancelled. It was the last chance I had of competing for this championship with my Draycote friend Katie Byne and now we won't be able to take part in this incredible event together. We'd also just got us a new mascot - Fluffy the Shift Finder - a toy crocodile I introduced to everyone we knew at the RYA Dinghy Show!

Now Fluffy won't have a chance to be lucky, Katie and I are sad, and I wonder if our particular gang of friends will still be in the class when we finally emerge from lockdown. But there's always next year, and I for one intend to keep sailing my RS Feva alongside my 420 and there are so many boats in the world, who knows what else?!

When we do finally get sailing again, I reckon it will be even more fun than it was before if that's possible. I'll never take any sailing day for granted ever again and will count my blessings even when the wind doesn't want to play, as long as we are all waiting for it onshore together.

#sailitliveloveit but #stayhomestaysafe in the meantime!

#LongLiveRSFeva #FluffyTheShiftFinder

Millie Irish, RS Feva GBR 7070

Instagram @millie.irish_7070

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