Waveney Sailability at the Nationals

How fantastic, Waveney Sailability represented for the first time at the National Championships. Tony and Jerry did us proud by finishing 5th and 7th overall; a brilliant result for a first time entry.

The following item is Jerry’s Diary of those few days.


Diary of our Adventure at the Nationals 20th - 22nd September 2013

by Jerry Ballam

Day 1: Thursday 19th Sept; early morning I'm up with the larks giving the boats a good spit and polish, they looked brand new afterwards. We set off for Rutland; it was an uneventful journey except for a brake and horn testing opportunity for Tony as someone decided to pull out in front of us at a slip road but apart from that we carried on and arrived at Rutland Sailing Club at 2.15pm.

We were immediately met by some of the Rutland Sailability team who helped unload our boats and rig them up, as usual the sailability family are very friendly and extremely helpful. Once the covers were on we decided to have a look around this huge club, the facilities were superb. Our accommodation was basic but very comfortable.


Day 2: Friday 20th Sept. Our first race day was upon us and looking at the opposition we could see we had a real challenge on our hands. Speaking with the other competitors we were trying to work out who our main challengers would be - there were competitors from as far afield as Hungary, Sweden and Holland as well as some from Scotland and Ireland, a very mixed bag of highly talented sailors. In our class we had eighteen other boats to do battle with, it was going to be a good race meeting.


The first race started at 2.30pm, Tony got a good start at the line as did I. at the end of this race Tony had placed fourth, and what about me? Well sadly I was disqualified for missing the gate on the upwind leg, no excuses I should have listened more closely at the briefing.


Second race; Both Tony and myself found that in this type of event, ruthless at the start is the name of the game as we both had lousy starts. The course was a triangular with a very long beat, excellent! The winds were just as unpredictable as they are on Oulton Broad, very changeable and sometimes very frustrating. This race saw Tony get a 3rd place and myself, having learnt from my first race error, came in, I thought in a very respectable 5th place.


Well that was it for our first set of races, we now had the Saturday races to look forward to - four in total. We decided to head to a local pub for our evening meal and afterwards retired to our accommodation for a well earned nights sleep.


Day 3: Saturday morning 21st Sept. With two races back to back in the morning and the same in the afternoon this was going to be a very busy and exhausting day. Our first race got off to a fairly even start with all the boats practically crossing the start line at the same time, an impressive sight. There was a lot of tactical racing going on which made the race one of the most exciting of the weekend, Tony soared off into a convincing lead on the second lap and held onto that lead until a late challenge on the last lap from the Dutch competitor made it an interesting finish but Tony held on for a well earned victory, I came in 5th again.


The second race got off to a similar sort of start as all the competitors began to work out their start line positions, it was by this time the weather that was to play a big part as the wind suddenly dropped and we found ourselves being overtaken by swimming ducks, very frustrating. The race officer called a shortened course which saw Tony cross the line with yet another very well earned victor in very frustrating conditions. This time I could only manage a 6th place, but I was happy with that considering the company I was in.


Saturday afternoon; By this time we were all raring to go and predictably the weather played its part as we found ourselves again having to find the wind wherever we could. Tony was yet again holding onto a good position throughout the race and, due to an infringement by the Dutch competitor which saw her disqualified, received yet another victory. I again came 6th.


The second race of the afternoon set off and the wind picked up, this was it - this was my chance to shine, I thought! A painful shoulder, which has been bugging me for sometime, decided that it was going to let me know it was still there. No excuses though from this point on I decided that caution was the order of the day for me and at race end I had finished in 7th place, Tony had finished in 5th - still a good days work. After the race was over the Rutland club Coxwain kindly found the sailability team nurse who gave me some advice as to alleviate the discomfort in my shoulder. Her advice was followed and I survived to race another day, YAY!


Saturday evening we attended the Regatta Dinner where a great time was had by all and the obvious conversations of tactics were crossing the table like wildfire. This was the chance to get to know even more about our fellow racers and a very nice bunch they were too, I felt privileged to be amongst some very talented people who were very generous with their advice. It was a fantastic evening to round off a good days racing and now it was time to get some rest for the very busy day ahead. Tony at this point proved what a party animal he was by staying on in the bar until late playing cribbage.


Day 4: Sunday the 22nd Sept: We had two final races this day and for the first time we had some ideal winds which left Rutland water looking like a mini sea with waves that had us crashing through them and creating some genuine fun for all. The first race set off and the usual suspects were at the front with the competition leader, green top as Tony called him, sailing off into the distance. With Tony crossing the line in 4th and me in 7th we had one more race to go. By this time I had decided that I wanted to enjoy my last sail on Rutland, as I knew I had no chance of a place in the silverware standings, which I did and still managed to come in 7th. Tony had finished in 4th again and I was convinced that he would be in for a trophy. Sadly though the consistent scoring of the other competitors meant a 5th place final standing for Tony and a 7th place final standing for myself.


At the trophy award ceremony I was invited to say a few words as we were the first competitors to attend this competition from Waveney Sailability. I made a point of thanking all those that so graciously helped us with the unloading of our boats, the pontoon team, the caterers and the Rutland coxswain for helping to load our boats back up. I also made a point of thanking the race officer for the great course that he had arranged and all at Rutland for the warm, friendly welcome that we had received, I finished with some news for the gathered masses that sadly due to the immense fun that we had had we would be back next year if possible, to howls of laughter I thought that this would be a great time to exit stage right. Throughout this event we had found absolutely everyone so polite and willing to help which made it a very good experience, I must add though that without the support of our great club at Oulton Broad we would never have had this opportunity in the first place, so a massive thank you to everyone who helped make this possible. THANK YOU ALL.












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