Well last weekend was very much a case of home and away with 11 sailors heading up in the battle bus to Grafham to compete in the Inlands over 170 budding new sailors descended on Bewl for the annual RYA Push The Boat Out day, giving people of all shapes and sizes the opportunity to try a boat out for the first time. Whilst the team in Grafham twiddled their fingers with the surface of the water as polished as a mirror there was just the perfect breeze on Bewl to glide over 30 new Oppy sailors across the lake. Ably helped by Zara it was lovely to see the smiles on the faces of those experiencing the joys of sailing for the first time. All in all a roaring success and lovely to see some of those sailors about to take part in the forthcoming beginner sessions - many thanks for all those that helped out!
Back up to the Midlands and unfortunately day 1 had to end, despite a couple of false launches, with no races sailed in the main fleet although the regatta fleet were able to sneak away a couple of races and Joe posted a highly credible 31 and 18 out of 62. Thankfully on Sunday when the sailors got to the lake ripples were to be seen and after a brief delay over 260 boats slid onto the water. With the winds so light it was always a case of getting to the front row at the start, staying in the puffs of wind and maintaining that concentration! In race one the two brothers got off to a great start with finishes of 3rd and 5th and Thicome and Freddie not far behind and great to see Ollie and Matthew challenging the top half of the fleet. With several false starts that gave rise to some great "If Only" stories, the race officer managed to squeeze in a second and what was to prove the last race of the day. Jamie was able to keep the focus and posted another top 5 result and much to Richard's delight (surprise!) Sam too had the same result and with several others posting some improved results - it was yet again a great showing for the Bewl team with almost all our sailors in the top half of the fleet!
Sadly though the tick of time was also upon us with the Inlands being the valedictory event for Jesse and Thicome (although we do hope we might see them at the Nationals!) as they reached 15. As per the picture the team mates had all signed shirts for them and there was a lovely presentation of some the younger sailors giving the shirts to them. However with 5 beginners joining me this weekend and several more planning to join in future weeks and other more experienced sailors such as the Elms girls and the Surguy boys joining us the Oppy Circle of Life continues and with a large influx of girls it bodes well for the team to swell its ranks and new friendship groups to be forged.
Main Fleet (out of 201):
Regatta Fleet (out of 62):
Onwards to Lymington training and event next weekend.
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