Oliver and I have been sailing at Spinnaker on Sunday mornings for 2-3 years. During that time we have progressed through the ranks from complete beginners, taking the sprit out on windy days, to the challenge of learning racing rules and more advanced sailing techniques in the Race Group.
We were quite hesitant however, about sailing in the Burghfield Optimist Open when Lee Young suggested we sign up. All the Oppi opens are split into a Main Fleet [where the serious competition takes place], and a Regatta Fleet [for less experienced sailors who just want to take part]. Burghfield lake is huge compared to Spinnaker, but similar in the fact that it had lots of different wind shifts due to the surrounding trees and islands. It was nice sailing in a different place.
We left early on a Saturday morning to make sure we had plenty of time to rig the boats, and listen to the briefing. It felt a bit chaotic when we arrived as there were over 100 boats there, and everyone else seemed to know what they were doing! We were nervous as we looked at the course but other than that we were all fine until we realized that there were no pontoons to launch from!
After we had our briefing, where the instructors were really friendly and supportive, we wend out for our first three races. The supervisors in the safety boats were able to give us loads of tips and were really helpful. The morning went really quickly and soon we were sailing back to shore. After a quick half an hour lunch stop ashore we were back out onto the water.
After the last three races, we packed up our boats and headed in for the presentation tea. Jacob and I were really excited as we cam first and second out of twenty-nine children
It was a great experience overall, and has given us the confidence to sign up for the Oppi winter training and the chance to learn about using our boats on the sea. It would be fantastic to have more Sunday sailors in their red hoodies at other events.
Oliver Dawson and Jacob Andersen