Optimist National Championships by Skye Farren-Price

Optimist National Championships, Pwllheli July 2015

Skye Farren-Price, Aged 9

This year I was sailing in the Regatta Coaching fleet after being in the mini racers fleet last year in Weymouth. I felt very excited but also a bit worried about my group and who was going to be my coach. I was also worried about sailing on the open sea in windy weather.

We packed up and left Winchester at 4am on the Sunday to drive up to Pwllheli with my Dad and little brother Mack and two of the coaches: Jake (my older brother) and Sarah Jarman.

On the Monday, we launched in our groups but I wasn’t feeling great – it was pouring down with rain and some of the kids were a lot older than me. The waves were bigger than me and every minute I had to bail out my boat to stop it filling up with water. I came in at lunch with chattering teeth and my Dad decided I needed a dry suit. We took the afternoon off and found one the right size (thanks Dad!). The dry suit changed everything for me – I was warmer and more confident knowing that whatever the weather, I could keep warm and dry.

My coaches in the turquoise group were Sam Viney and Georgia. They helped me in the windy weather and gave me lots of tips when times were tough. I even got a prize on Day Two for improving and listening – a minion bubble blower.

Wednesday was the sail-away day with a Hawaiian theme. I wore a flower necklace and put a flower bracelet on my boom. My brother Jake wore a Hawaiian bikini on top of his oilies (this is North Wales!). We sailed to a sandy beach and had ice cream and a sandcastle competition. Matt (Jake’s assistant coach) helped me build turrets and lots of us met our families on the beach and had a picnic. We then sailed back to the club and I put my feet up after a long sailing day.

In Regatta Coaching, we did exercises in the morning which included fun games. We then would come ashore, go to Duncan’s briefing and get our instructions for the afternoon’s racing. We sailed to the Committee boat together with our coach boats and then sailed around the start line area. I was happy to race but came near the bottom of the fleet. I was a bit disappointed with my results but I persevered and was proud of myself for sticking at it.

I learnt loads at the Nationals and became way more confident in my sailing and racing. Now I want to do more and improve on what I learned and I am going to do the non-squad winter training at Spinnaker and Parkstone this winter (with my dry suit!).

Skye Farren-Price

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