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French Bay regatta - Saturday 24th November - Report by Mackenzie

posted Dec 3, 2018, 5:01 PM by Admin hycnz

Two of our Junior Sailors went to a regatta at French Bay yesterday - their first major regatta. Here's Mackenzies report on the experience....

Our experiences at French Bay: 
Arriving at French bay on the 24th of November 2018 Grace and I had no idea what to expect. Although we had been to the club in previous times we had only gone for social events and regattas, this time we were racing against top sailors, national champions in a series called the Traveler series.

When we got there it was pouring with rain we were all wet rigging up our boat’s (Kermit (888) and white heat (219) ) but we pushed through and eventually got on the water. The first race we were both confused. Generally, when we do club racing everyone gets out and goes straight for the start line, but this wasn't the case. There were boats everywhere and we were just following the majority but with no clue were the start line was. Lucky after the 10-minute flag went up people started to make there way back and we figured out where the line was.

First race. I had problems straight up. After the 2-minute flag went down my knot from my main sheet had come undone. I attempted to tie it back up but then realized that it was never going to work because I was pulling the boom towards me and making myself turn so I wasn't head to wind anymore. I started to worry because the race had started and the 5min gun for the opties had gone off. After a rib came and supported me and explained why the knot had come undone and so on I turned around, crossed the start line and went on with the race, miles behind anyone else.

After that race, I realized what my competition was. Grace and I both had to DNF if we wanted to start the next race. Grace pulled out altogether after the first race and went in but I decided to stay out and try some more to see if I had any chance of beating these people.

Race two. I got a much better start. I started with all the other boats and was with the pack the whole way up to the first mark. I learned a lot from this leg. They were all tacking up at one point and it wasn't benefiting in any way at the time, I just followed them still wondering what the purpose of this tack was until I realized something. I looked at my wind indicator and figured it all out - they were tacking because they could see a wind shift that had not come yet and they were moving so they didn't lose heaps of ground when the wind shift came.

I thought I was doing pretty well being in the middle back until I capsized. I got up easily and quickly and got on my way but these boats were fast and already way ahead. And the fact that the wind had died in the area I was in didn't help things a whole lot. I kept going behind the pack and went around the bottom mark. Heading back up there was a shortened course and once again I had to DNF.

They were running one more race but I was getting tired and cold and a little fed up of not finishing. I headed back in, packed up and waited.

In the end, it was a good day. I got a cool life jacket as a spot prize and one other girl came up to us and gave us a little pep talk. She said that things like that happen to all sailors when they're just starting and sometimes all you need is a bit more time on the water and in your boat. And she also offered to give us some coaching.

I learned a lot and you’ll see me and Kermit out on the water practising hard!