Jerry and Tony go to Nationals 2014

Sunday 5/10/14 We prepared the boats for the competition, cleaning, polishing and loading onto the trailer. Without the help from John, Tony, Malcolm, Chris, Peter and Owen the task of getting the boats ready would have taken us all day so a very big thank you to you all.

Tuesday 7/10/14  We set off for Frensham Great Pond at 10-15am and had asurprisingly uneventful journey. Frensham Pond is about the same size as the North end of Oulton Broad with tree's surrounding the edges. A band of friendly, willing helpers was there to help us unload and get the boats weighed as part of the regular routine before we set them up for racing. It was interesting to note that boat 7 was 2 kilo's lighter than boat 9 - all was fine though so we covered our boats and went on the hunt for our accommodation, 3/12 miles away in the village of Frensham. We found our B+B (High Wray) a lovely house set back off the road in pretty grounds. This was an ideal place of rest, the elderly couple that own the B+B were so welcoming it made our stay that much more relaxing I would highly recommend this B+B to future visitors of the area.     
Wednesday 8/10/14 Race 1
Got off to an impressive start with all classes approaching the start line in line and getting away cleanly. The Libertys started our class followed by the single 303 racers,then followed by the 2 man 303s and finally the 2.3s. We had 13 boats to fight in our class.  Sadly not as many, as last year at Rutland.     With all the Frensham based boats leaving us in their wake we quickly found that the wind conditions were ten times more unpredictable than those at Oulton Broad - literally having two boats heading in opposite directions with full sails - very frustrating. The number of gusts, strong winds to no wind at all conditions took some getting used to but was soon mastered. At the end of the first race Tony had managed a 5th and I had come in 9th.
Race 2 Got underway in wind that was gusting to a recorded 25knts at the start which saw last year’s winner thrown from his boat and trapped by his foot in a very scary situation; he was helped by a French competitor until the safety boat got on scene. He was fine but decided to retire from the event. The strong winds led me to believe the god of wind had taken pity on me. This however was not to be; after sailing up and down the line with a huge grin on my face I thought that this was my chance to shine. Approaching the first mark I was in third place until I was forced into Luff by a fellow competitor on the mark which allowed my competition to gain two places on me. Then came the Frensham wind mood as it dropped away to nothing, 20 seconds earlier it was gusting at 25 knts, now it was nowhere to be found. After a drift of 1 to 2 minutes back came the wind with a vengeance yee,ha! I literarily shouted, to the amusement of the safety boat crew. Our positions remained the same for the rest of the race, Tony finished 4th and I finished 5th.
Race 3  As we were about to start our race the pain from my shoulder injury came back to haunt me. I was forced to retire and with a tear in my eye I sailed my boat one handed back to the pontoon and retired from this years competition feeling I had let everyone down.Once ashore I watched in shear frustration as the winds picked up and the racing took on a real air of anyone could win about it. During the race there was a protest lodged against Tony which ended up being dealt with by the race officers later that day, Tony continued and came 2nd, an excellent result given the conditions. 
Race 4 As the boats jockeyed around at the start the wind started to gust in excess of 33 knts. It did get underway but the boats and crews were obviously having difficulties so the race was abandoned.
The annual dinner was in the clubhouse at 7pm. and for a small club the facilities were very good and the staff did their club proud. Once again we were treated to superb food and great conversation. After the meal, around 8-15pm, Tony had his protest meeting and was found at fault. He accepted a two point penalty instead of taking it to arbitration, which could have seen him disqualified. This had taken over an hour and it was nearly 10pm before we got back to our accommodation very tired.
Day 2 Race 5 The racing was overshadowed by the threat of bad weather and imminent cancellation of the rest of the event. There were three planned races today, the first got underway and Tony did very well to keep with the leaders through some horrific wind and driving rain. From my vantage point in the warm clubhouse, for once I was truly glad not to be out in that! Boats were being heeled in all directions and some were forced into retirement. The race did continue and with the wind on his side Tony finished in 2nd an excellent achievement considering the conditions.
Race 6. The race got off to a reasonable start but again the fickle weather and winds played their part and within minutes of the start the race was abandoned, I believe to everyone's relief. As the boats came ashore they were quickly stripped and reloaded onto their trailers ready for the journey home.

After all the boats were dealt with the Trophy presentation began in the clubhouse, all three places in the 303 single and 303 doubles went to Frensham Pond sailors, home advantage and local knowledge serving them well. Again in the 2.3 category all three places were taken by Frensham sailors, the deserved  winner of the 2.3's was a very nice lady called Lindsey who we might get to meet at Oulton Broad sometime next year when she is our way on her travels. The Liberty places went to the Rutland club. Tony and myself had to head off home at this point and as Tony headed for the car I apologised for leaving the awards ceremony while some were still to be given out and at the top of my voice said a big thank you Frensham for a great event and the hospitality that helped make us feel very welcome, ta ta Frensham I said, which to my surprise made everyone in the room laugh and applaud, I must have said it in a funny voice. I realised it wasn't going to get any better than that and left with that laughter ringing in my ears and did my usual thing - Exit stage right.

At this event all I wanted to do was to have beaten my placing of last year which was 7th I was unable to achieve this due to my early retirement, but I can say that at the point of my retirement I was holding my 7th place and at the end of the event I had dropped to 9th upset yes but there is always next year, which, if our fantastic club will allow, takes place at Weymouth, on the sea course of the Olympians.

One excellent thing to come out of this years event was that Tony had managed to finish 1 place above his placing from last year, a credible 4th so a big well done to Tony.

This event was off and on this year and wouldn't have taken place at all had Frensham not stepped in at the last minute and took the event on, They did a fantastic job with short notice and looked after us all very well, the pontoon helpers were excellent and the canteen staff the same, so a very big thank you to all those at Frensham Great Pond.

My last thank you has to go to our club WAVENEY SAILABILITY and all those that made it possible for us to attend this event, if not for you we would not be out there showing that WS sailors can hold their own against the best in Europe. THANK YOU ALL.

Come along and join us....