Facing Their Fear...
Calm before the storm...
Bartley sent a strong team of Junior and Youth competitors to the penultimate RYA Midland Youth Series at Rutland, the 3 Laser 4.7s of Josh, Harrison, and Megan stood alongside the Laser, Topper, and RS Tera of Tom, Cecily, and Millie. The wind was forecast at 16 to 17 mph but as the team took to the water they found it was stronger than that on the race course with boats obliterated on the start line as the gusts blew in. Unfortunately Cecily was one of the early casualties but after a tow back to shore she defeated her demons and took to the water in the calmer area close to the shore to show the conditions would not beat her. Out in the middle of the lake the race started with the tightest competition between the fleet of 7 laser 4.7s who sailed as a 6 boat clump with Jamie Tylecote from Rutland out in front of the mini fleet for most of the race allowing a laser 3000, radial, and Tom in his full rig to pull away. At the other end of the fleet the RS Teras battled bravely through the waves with a sole Topper in between.
Harrison and Josh sailed fantastically to be the 2nd and 4th Laser 4.7s in race 1 with Megan never recovering from a poor start to take the 6th. Millie took a while to settle in and focussed on finishing the race in the safest way possible rather than taking risks, and Tom took a 10th on handicap despite the Laser looking like it would take off.
Race 2 was a similar story but this time Tom took 4th on handicap and Harrison and Megan 3rd and 4th laser 4.7s. Millie's 'safe but sure' approach continued to work for her as one of the other Teras went into an unexpected gybe on the run providing the helm with a nasty bang to the head and ultimately retirement from the competition - not a day to be caught unawares!
The sailors returned to shore with stories to tell over lunch before returning to the water to find how strong the wind really could blow!
Lunch - the usual refined affair...
Race 3 overpowered nearly the whole fleet with multiple capsizes and retirements. Those that could hold onto their boats had the ride of their lives, others had a rather wet race with a few heading nearer to shore to wait for the squalls to pass. Millie continued her steady approach to the race and ended up winning it as the other boats had so many 'events'
The final race was a little (but not much) calmer with the fleet now down to 12. Unfortunately Harrison was taken out on the run leading to a new experience in the protest room which let Megan take 3rd laser 4.7 in the Race. Local knowledge seemed to prevail once again as the Rutland sailors took the top spots overall.
The prizes were awarded on the provisional results so Tom got a second place trophy, however the final results were posted later on the website and are somewhat different (and do look to be more in line with what was expected!).
So we ended up with Harrison in 6th, Megan 7th, Tom 8th, Millie 10th, Josh 11th, and Cecily 15th, we had a protest awarded in Harrison's favour, Megan's first experience of being a witness, Millie's last sail in her Tera before moving to a Topper, and a lesson in resilience: When the wind throws everything at you then strength of character shows through - you have to solve problems, work out how to get through, sail the boat right on the edge of control and get back in the saddle after a fall. Our team all experienced that on Saturday, and you know what? They all came through that little bit stronger...
The next, and final event in the series is at Bartley on Sunday 15th September. Lets hope it is a little bit calmer!!!
The youngsters did themselves proud! I was very envious as they all headed out on Rutland with gorgeous sunshine and a good blow, but when they came in for lunch I was quietly grateful I had been too old to enter!