July 2014 @ The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham-upon-Crouch by Matilda Evans
As many club members will have noticed the BSC's Optimist fleet has got bigger in recent years, spurred on in a large part by Nicky and Sophie Johnson. With their support and encouragement, five of us – Amy and Lloyd Taylor, Kane Gooch, Sophie Johnson and me, Matilda Evans - attended the Optimist East Area Championship held at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham on 12 and 13 July.
When this idea was first mentioned, and I realised I was going to be sailing on something other than the Blackwater, I was both scared and excited. Excited for the sailing, obviously, but also nervous about racing in different waters with many more boats. However, as the time loomed nearer, I found myself too excited to be nervous. I am quite a messy person but when it comes to sailing I try much harder to be organised. So on the day of the race, I woke up quite early and got completely ready, and then nagged my dad for half an hour on how it is good to be early for events. I've had this lecture many times before, so it felt good to do it on someone else!
In the event, we arrived on time to sign in and get my boat ready before the briefing which was well-attended as there were 28 entries. Unfortunately there was no wind. I was in the Regatta fleet and the first race we attempted was abandoned. No one managed to even get over the starting line - we just kept drifting backwards! We managed to start a second race but it had to be abandoned before we had done a lap. The Race fleet fared slightly better - finishing the first race, but that was it for racing for the day. We did however do lots of messing about on the water and got a high speed tow back in. Once the pontoon was clear, lots of the sailors had fun jumping into the water off the balcony. We finished the day with lemonade, a game of rounders, a few goes on an inflatable bungee run and a tasty barbecue.
The second day was much better, despite the odd torrential downpour. We managed four races, in which the Blackwater boats took all four 1st places. In the last race the BSC cadets in the Regatta fleet finished first, second and third, whilst Sophie in Main fleet also won her race- we all thought this was pretty cool. After the racing had finished, we headed back in with the help of another tow. The racing in the Race fleet had led to several protests. So we got to watch the protest meeting sorting this out which was interesting.
After that it was Prize Giving. Amy Taylor came first in the Regatta fleet and I finished second, Lloyd was forth and despite a first place in race three, Kane finished 10th. Sophie Johnson came second in the main Race fleet. So overall it was great weekend for the BSC's Oppi fleet, getting some invaluable experience of racing in a large fleet, sweeping up half the prizes and having a fabulous weekend overall.