A team consisting of Nigel Grogan, Nic Tolhurst, Duncan Grindley and Alex Porteous travelled down to Cowes to represent the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in the final of the British Keelboat League. Sailing J70s against 18 teams across the country - mainly university teams and an Olympic sailor (Ben Saxton – multiple Endeavour winner) in the mix - we were definitely on a steep learning curve having never sailed these boats before. After a broach on the sail to the start area (including a quick swim for one of us whilst a large tanker steamed past rather too close for comfort) we started to get the hang of it and finished the first day mid fleet.
Day 2 started early with a quick briefing and onto the event mother ship where we spent the vast majority of the day. The sailing area for the weekend was just east of Osbourne Bay and the Isle of Wight brought the best of the late summer weather - 10-15knots and glorious sunshine. Day 2 involved a few more turns and a little more shouting but we got a top 3 result in the bag and started to understand the boats more. A few others clearly did the same and again we finished mid fleet. A super fast rib ride back to our own mother ship and we were on board and having beers whilst those in the last race of the day sailed back, think we had our priorities right!
Day 3 and yet another early start and the busiest day for the team, racing in 6 of the 10 races scheduled. The wind had picked up and the racing was much closer, maybe a little too close at times as a cheeky squeeze round the windward mark resulted in a penalty turn and Team Itchener's spinnaker pole making contact with our stern (don't worry Phil, your safety deposit is safe) - a move which also resulted in a penalty for Itchener (helmed by Ben Saxton & ultimate winners of the event, this resulted in their worst result of the series - 3rd).
A fantastic weekend and a great experience, we were clearly shown how it's done by the front of the fleet but finished the weekend 13th with a keenness to do it again.