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Ocean Safety Traditional Horseshoe

Explore. Dream. Discover.

by Mark Jardine 6 Apr 20:30 BST
420 sailors loving the breeze during the Easter Cooler at Notts County © David Eberlin

The Easter weekend was a time to get on the water around the globe for many. Lockdown restrictions in the UK have eased somewhat, allowing the return of grassroots sports, and the fine weather resulted in sailors heading to their local clubs in their droves.

For me it was out in a safety RIB on Thursday while the kids enjoyed Feva sailing, having to pretty much drag them off the water at 6pm before it got too cold and dark, then a cycle down to Keyhaven for a bit of dinghy cruising in the Scow with my youngest on Friday with ice cream on the way home, followed by a couple of days out of Keyhaven in my Frankenlaser on Saturday and Sunday.

With winds in the 20-25 knot range on Sunday I was certainly feeling it on Monday where I should have competed in the Easter Monday evening race to complete the series, but it was cold and I was lazy, so I ended up bailing out. Waking up on Tuesday morning I instantly regretted that decision. Yes, I would be aching even more, but I agree with the famous quote, which is often miscredited to Mark Twain, but is more likely the work of H. Jackson Brown:

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."

I'm regretting not sailing yesterday. I made too many excuses in my head such as, it's too cold, the wind is from the north and will be too shifty, it's a really late start, my wetsuit is still wet. As I took a walk with the kids along the clifftop on Monday evening it was sunny, the wind was strong and shifty, but I wanted to be on the water.

Will I learn from this? Probably not, but I'll try to recall the feeling I had when on the clifftop, knowing I really should have been out on the water.

Life can be full of distractions but allowing those distractions to get in the way of time on the water will soon turn them into tensions. Spend a few hours on the water and everything looks brighter.

Local Easter events

After the 2020 sailing season was decimated, it has been superb to receive a variety of UK event reports already from the weekend. In the keelboats we saw the first of three races in the 2021 RORC Spring Series, an inshore Solent race of around 38 nautical miles saw over 30 yachts competing.

Dinghy-wise, apart the Keyhaven Easter Regatta I mentioned above which saw 35 dinghies taking part, we've already received reports from the Bembridge Illusion Easter Egg Cup with 18 competitors, the Dell Quay Easter Mini Regatta with 10 Solos competing, the Burghfield Easter Regatta with an astounding 97 entrants, the Notts County Easter Cooler with just under 50 dinghies and a variety of dinghies taking part in the Salcombe Yacht Club 2021 Commissioning Race, including a good number of Solos and Salcombe Yawls, the first race of the Restronguet Sailing Club Spring Series, an incredible 60 juniors then 80 boats for the Grafham Water Easter Weekend, 22 dinghies in the King George Sailing Club Easter Regatta and 84 entries split over two days for the Hamble Warming Pan at Easter.

It's been a while since we've received so many reports after a weekend and they are certainly a welcome sight in my inbox. Keep them coming!

You never know what you're going to get

I caught John Curnow briefly today, who was similarly enthused to see so many events taking place over the Easter weekend, "...from Hobies in WA, and J-Boats in Vic, to the Brisbane to Gladstone in QLD that showed that things can get a bit rusty in a COVID world, so maybe some training would be a good thing, particularly in heavy weather before everyone heads North for the Winter. Alas, if one thing has been proven of late, you just never know what you're going to get, so be prepared."

Over in the USA we had daily reports from the ever popular Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta St. Petersburg. From the 120 teams competing Gary Schwarting's Melges 24 team took the win, which he dedicated to his friend and long-time Melges 24 sailor George Haynie who passed away Monday week and should have been sailing with them. Looking down on the racing I'm sure he would have approved of the tribute.

It was also great to read the O'pen Skiff 2021 North American Championship report which is believed to be the first major class championship to have more female than male competitors in a mixed event.

We're getting more and more reports through from the various dinghy and keelboat fleets in Australia and we welcome them all. Please keep us posted with what you're doing at a club, state or national level to editor@sail-world.com. We love reading your reports and, judging by the viewing figures, our readers do to.

It's certainly true that we don't know what the future holds, so taking the opportunities to go sailing should be savoured. Looking at the news from our friends in mainland Europe shows how the situation can turn bad again very quickly indeed. Being out on the water and in the breeze has been shown to be about as safe as you can get and is a superb form of escapism, let's enjoy it!

April 1st fun

After last year writing about the return of the Star class to the Olympics, the America's Cup had to be the focus of my story this April Fools' Day. Many thanks for all the positive feedback on AI AC36.5 v1.0, including those who think it's not such a bad idea...

Dolphins

Our closing photo is from Nic Douglass, aka the Sailor Girl, who was covering the J70 Australian Championship at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron where the crews were happily distracted by a pod of dolphins while trying to make sense of a fickle wind.

Mark Jardine
Sail-World.com and YachtsandYachting.com Managing Editor

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