For Event 3 in the IOCA calendar, the battle bus headed north to Grafham and after a clandestine pick up at Cobham services managed to get 16 sailors, 18 boats (don’t ask!) and 2 RIBs up to the event led by our Pied Piper Vagelis. For me it was great to see several sailors in the Regatta Fleet participating in their first event and swelling the fleet with 6 sailors – with 59 kids in the Regatta Fleet and 206 in the Main Fleet this was a slighter bigger scale to our Saturdays at the home club! For day one we had champagne conditions with enough wind to give the sailors a challenge but not too much to give concerns to those stepping out for the first time and it was wonderful to see the majority of the team crossing tacks in the top half of the fleet. Mathew with his new boat certainly seemed to have found a lot of pace and he was being pushed hard by Dottie and Hadley. Poor old Joshie in one race was right up in 4th place when he came to pull the tiller realised that the rudder was no longer attached to the boat! Thomas was easily spotted with his coloured helmet and it was wonderful to see his confidence build with several results in the top half and Elena improving race on race as she got to grips to racing in such a large fleet.
Over on the Main Fleet course Athina made her intentions known by gaining a bullet in the first race and two other top 10 results in the first day meant she was sitting well up in the standings. Keelin who seems to have gained so much confidence from her European place has found a new gear and also put in a couple of top 10 results. With Saskia, Thicome, Jesse, Freddie, Jamie and Charlie all having at least one result in the top 20 the top part of the leader board was awash with our banner – all the more impressive in that 5 of them only started sailing in main fleet last Spring.
For day two whilst the sun was out the wind also took itself up a notch as well. To the credit of our Regatta sailors they all made it out onto the circuit and although found the conditions a little more trying with a few upside down boats a lot of great experience was gained. For the Main Fleet the team really made its presence felt with our boats in Thicome and Athina getting bullets in both flights of the first race – I think I can safely say this is the first time for a very long time if ever this has happened J! It was also really heartening to see Sam really find his mojo and cap off his event with a very impressive 22nd and with Ollie and Liam our new team member gaining some great experience – there were certainly a lot of happy kids and what was most impressive was the really tight bond the team display with the older team members such as Jesse really looking after their team mascots such as Charlie.
Although in Vagelis’s words results are not important it was great to see the team collecting a good haul of trophies:
Athina – Female Inlands Champion and 2nd overall
Keelin – 4th senior girl and 11th overall
Jamie – 4th junior boy and 30th overall
Charlie – U11 Inlands Champion and 68th overall
Mention must also go to Thicome with his first in one race and coming 14th overall and Matthew show a good degree of consistency and finish one place out of the prizes in 7th overall in the Regatta Fleet. Next stop for Thicome, Saskia, Freddie and Jamie is Venice to experience a European team racing event!