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Sam Blaker – 4th at the RS Aero 5 National Championships

On the back of winning the RS Aero Southern Championships in July I came into the RS Aero 5 National Championships that took place in Tenby, Wales and looking for a good result to build upon my results from last season. I woke up bright and early on the Saturday morning to begin the long drive from Essex to Wales to prepare for racing the next day. The forecast for the week was breezy with winds between 15-25 knots which I was certainly in favour of! The forecast for the first three days of racing was spot on with a solid 15+ knots blowing down the course allowing the race committee to fit in nine races. I compiled a consistent set of results finishing inside the top 5 in all races bar one including one race win to set up a tight and thrilling final two days of the championship!

For the final two days, the conditions couldn’t have been any different with light shifty winds which showed in the results with positions shifting all over the field. A further three top ten places put me in fourth place overall and narrowly missing out on a top three position in the last race. Although I was gutted to miss out on the podium, I was very pleased with the consistent series I put together by finishing inside the top 10 in every race, especially my performance in the light winds which has always been a struggle of mine. A huge thanks go to Team Surrey and the Dual Career Programme for their support throughout the year. Without them, my time training on the water would be reduced and I would have struggled getting to these events due to the cost of travel and all the other costs associated with high-level performance sport. I look forward to next year competing at the World Championships in Hayling Island and the European Championships in Carnac, France.

Luke Anstey – 8th Overall at the ILCA 7 National Championships

This August I competed at the ILCA 7 national championships at Hayling Island Sailing Club. With 58 boats entered and a decent forecast it was looking to be a good event. Day One saw a moderate onshore breeze of 8-10 knots with reasonable tidal differences across the racecourse. The first start got away cleanly, and the fleet headed towards the left. I came to the first windward mark in about 15th and slowly picked off boats downwind to finish 9th. The breeze increased slightly for the second race and shifted right which resulted in my worst finish of the regatta in 26th place.

Day two was postponed due to lack of wind. Eventually it filled in to about 5-6 knots and we finally got out sailing. The first beat of race 3 was a bit of a lottery with large and seemingly random shifts. I found myself in 4th place at the first windward mark, sent it hard right on the downwind into more pressure and was leading by the bottom mark. I attempted to tack on the shifts on the second beat and somehow managed to hold on to the finish. The wind built and stabilised for race 2 and with a solid performance throughout the race I finished in 7th.

With the forecast looking poor for the next few days the RO decided on scheduling 3 races on day 3 which was a good idea. A solid 15-18 knots and a steep chop proved difficult conditions for everyone. I had a reasonably consistent day scoring 9,15,9. Day 4 started with another long postponement waiting for the sea breeze to fill in. After a very poor start I held out to the left to make the most of the persistent shift and came into the windward wark in around 15th and made up a few positions on the second lap finishing 10th. With the wind dying the RO was keen to get race 9 in quickly and we luckily managed to get a clean start off without a recall where good boat speed in the light conditions helped me to a 5th place.

I finished 8th overall (6th brit and 2nd U21). Happy with my result, but still with things to work on and improve for the U21 world championships at the end of October at the nationals next year in Paignton.