IOM Nationals - West Kirby 2010
A Competitors View
Greg, Josh and myself embarked on the three day IOM National event on 29th‐31 May held at West Kirby, a man‐made retained lake adjoining an estuary, with raised embankments, exposed to the elements from the west. We were warned that you could expect to use all three rigs, preparation did of course include the storm rig which we seldom if ever is used on Midland lakes.
After an endless drive up the M6 we phoned ahead and managed to persuade the measurers that we would just make the end of day deadline for last to be scrutinised, which made day 1 preparation less hectic.
Click for image for a larger view of the Full Championship scores
The course on the three days consisted of two windward buoys, a leeward gate and start and finish line between. These would be adjusted to suite wind direction variations.
Day 1 Fleets A ‐ E‐ Saturday. There was little in the way of wind so top suite was a certainty. The seeding races went well and we all sailed consistently throughout the day, Greg managed to get into the A fleet once after finishing 2nd in the seeding race, Josh fluctuated between B, C, and D, and I sat in C and B feet's.
Day 2 ‐Fleets A ‐ E Sunday. As we approached the water to the north of the reservoir promenade it appeared flat and tame, travelling down the side road waves fetched into a mini swell, maybe they were right, storm rigs were going to be used in anger. As the day progressed the swell turned into a choppy waves and a stiff breeze never abated all day even though local dinghy sailors promised that it would. Sailing in storm suite is a knack and skill all of its own, going windward through the tack a double flick of the rudder is required simply to aid the bough to go through head to wind, going down wind to the gate was hairy, with boats half surfing down the backs of the swell, desperately trying to find open water so not impede other sailors and half pray that when you reach the leeward gate that there is space enough to sling shot your boat around the buoy, nose propelled skyward and head windward again.
Greg, Josh and myself learnt that day how to survive the onslaught of bad weather, look after the boat and rigs, and staying clear of trouble at the buoys so to carry us over safely into day three. For the unfortunate few rig failure forced retirement.
Day 3 ‐ Monday. Fleets A‐D was calm and serine with light airs up to 11.00 am. Top suite was used to good effect with fleet promotion for Greg into B, Josh stayed in Fleet C with myself for most of the day. Rig 2 was used for a couple of raced with Greg being the first to persuade the fleets to change up to top suite again from second for the remainder of the day sailing which played dividends. Sailing in such an event with such a high calibre of entry was formidable, to stay in fleet Awas a great achievement in itself with European and World Champions. Fleet B was also very stiff competition with well respected sailors. After three days sailing in all conditions it was a true test of sailing ability and durability of
The end result was Greg finished in top position 32nd, myself 40th Josh came in 44th position and won the IOM MYA Junior Trophy for the second year running, previously held by Greg in 2008.
These events are a great way of learning the rules and sailing at the top end of your own ability against like minded sailors that can part so much information to help you sail more effectively.
Overall it was a great occasion which was officiated by Peter Stollery who kept the race impetus flowing.
My only advice to many of the Midland sailors is get those third rigs out of the boxes and practice in any storm that comes your way. Congratulations to Midland sailors Tony Edwards, and Darin "surfing up the rankings". Ballington showed us how to sail with positions of 12th and 34th respectively.
John Kline pictures can be found here.