After a disappointing experience at the European Championships, where we did not achieve the results we hoped for, it was great for us to return to the UK and capitalise on the last of the summer weather with an action packed month of sailing.
Over the second weekend in September we were back racing on Gentoo, James’ Sunfast 3300, in the RORC IRC double handed National Championships. Across two days of racing, we managed to squeeze four races in and, being able to discard 1 race, ended up with a 1, 1 and 3 result which secured us an overall win. That was great for morale and vindicated the RYA’s decision to select us as the team to go to the European Championships.
I then took some time out with a relaxing cruise in our home waters on a new Sunsail 410. We totally lucked out with the weather and had the perfect balance of good sailing, time to explore our surroundings and relaxation. The 3 – 4 hours sailing each day allowed us to visit bays, creeks and harbours while exploring Beaulieu, Yarmouth, Poole Harbour, Newtown Creek and Osborne Bay before returning home to Port Solent. I absolutely loved the boat and having the opportunity to rediscover some of the hidden gems in my home waters. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole trip and am now a total convert to the sailing staycation.
Once home, it was straight back to racing and this time we were going from our inshore racing success to an offshore race. RORC were hosting the second race of their Autumn Series for the double handed class. We took off on an overnight race in blustery conditions with 25 knots of wind from the north to north west. The course took in all points of sail and required some strategic decisions with regard to tides and winds. It was a tough sail that really worked us hard but we were rewarded with line honours when we reached the finish at 03:14:44hrs on Sunday morning. Securing that win demonstrated that we could deliver consistent results sailing both inshore and offshore. It was also our first win in stronger wind conditions.
Since then, the temperature has definitely dropped and it feels as though autumn has suddenly arrived. I will definitely be swapping shoes for boots in the races we have planned for the remainder of the year. Regardless of footwear choices, I just hope we can keep our winning streak up.