RYA Volvo youth national championshipand trials 2009, Largs sailing club.
By Siwan Bryn
We arrived Thursday morning at Largs sailing club as we had 2 days of welsh squad training. It was a wet, windy day and the sea was at a choppy state. We rigged partly and decided that it was too windy to train, and so did a bit of boat preparation. In the afternoon we studied the sailing instructions and the venue in detail.
Friday was also very windy but we decided it would be beneficial to train and had a short morning session. Downwind sailing was very hard and the boats were rocky and so we had a few capsizes. But we got in some good training and got to know the venue better.
As we hadn’t trained on the Thursday we thought to try sailing on the Saturday after registration and measuring. Registration and measuring was scheduled for 1:00pm but we went down to the club at 10:30am and it had been moved forward. We were both registered and measured before lunch time. The conditions were very similar to the Friday and so we decided not to train as we were hoping for light wind training. Because of this we decided to try training on the Sunday but only if it was light winds.
The Sunday was a very light winds day and perfect for our training we got out early and did a bit of training. The wind was very shifty and coming from the south westerly and veered to the right while we were out. We didn’t stay out to long as we didn’t want to tire ourselves out before the racing.
Monday was the start of the racing and we had a reasonable amount of wind and a sunny day. The first warning signal was scheduled for 11:25am. The radial fleet was released at around 10:30am. All the girls had been put into 1 fleet so that we raced against each other and so that there were the same amount of girls in each fleet. There were four fleets 3 fleets full of boys and the blue fleet was all girls. Our first race was the second start against the red fleet. There was a postponement on our course for a while with the first fleet start at 11:43am. The second start took a while and we started at 12:24pm. The conditions were very shifty and gusty with big gains and losses made. The race lasted about an hour. The girl fleet was second start again in the second race and we started about 2 o clock and at around 2:45 there was a 50 degree shift on all courses. The wind became very shifty and dropped a lot after the second race finished. At around 4:30 and AP over A was up and there was no more racing and we headed in.
Tuesday was much windier averaging around 22 knots and gusting 27. The radial fleet launched at around 9:50am and were the first off the slipway. The first race on our fleet was postponed for a while and we got our first start at 11:30am. The girls fleet was the first start along with the yellow fleet. It started raining in the middle of this race. We had the first start again in the second race of the day and started at around 1:00pm, and had another race soon after we finished. On the fourth race of the day there was a general recall and so in the next start sequence the black flag was raised at the 4 minutes. The girls fleet was second start this time and didn’t get a general recall. Aimee and I both had a very good race on the last race of the day.
As we had completed six races the radial fleet was split into 2 fleets gold and silver for the final series for the Wednesday. Also visiting on the Wednesday was HRH Princess Anne with a very windy Largs waiting for her. The sea was very choppy with many white horses and wind at around 25 knots gusting over 30. An indefinite postponement was raised at around 10 o clock. The gusts were increasing throughout the morning with one of 41 knots. The wind then seemed to drop off a bit with the sea state calming. HRH arrived at around 10:30 and entered the clubhouse. Later she came out for a tour of the dinghy park and after talking to a few sailors she came around to where we were stood and asked us where our home club was. After she left the wind had dropped off a lot and so we rushed to get ready for launching. The radials were launched at 12:20pm. The gold fleet started at 1 o clock but had a general recall. The wind picked up greatly by now and seemed even stronger than this morning. Another ten minutes later and they had a clear start. The silver fleet started at 1:20pm and had very difficult conditions. Many were capsizing as strong gusts came down one of the three valleys funnelling the wind. Because of this the wind was also very shifty. Racing in the conditions was very difficult with gusts of over 30 knots. 15 boats retired from the silver fleet and there were many capsizes. I managed to capsize 24 times in one race, as I got round the windward mark the wind seemed to shift about 120 degrees for a while, I was later sent in up my second beat as everyone was going in but still got a position. Water spouts were forming on the sea and it was no racing conditions. Everyone seemed to rush to land.
Thursday was even windier but without HRH here there wasn’t such a need to send us out in terrible conditions. The day was a bit all over with very strong winds in the morning gusts of over 40 knots and then it seemed to drop and then pick up again with a lot of big shifts, and impossible to set any kind of course. Everyone was kept on their toes but finally at around 1:20 pm all races were abandoned.
Friday seemed more of the same of Thursday with racing very unlikely. It was very windy and the sea seemed more choppy than yesterday with many white horses. There were constant updates from the rescue boats of what the wind was doing. At around 9:30am a the committee boat for the 29ers was hit by a water spout. The courses were reporting gusts of 30 knots and the wind seemed to be coming from every direction 0 – 360 degrees. Largs seemed very unpredictable. At 12:30pm they seemed to give up and the AP over A flag was up and all the races were cancelled. We were free to leave!
Therefore Aimee and I were 17th and 21st girl respectively against the top 94 girls and boys youth radial fleet in the country. Our results seemed to improve throughout the week and so racing on the Thursday and Friday, wind allowing would have probarbly improved our results.