The NSSA’s week long regatta is fun filled and a lot more than just sailing.
Team spirit is displayed throughout the entire event, beginning with the organisation of the team’s camping area.
The Sunday is always hectic, but thanks to the cooperation of Grafham Water Sailing club, NSSA and Grafham Water Centre, everything ran as smoothly as possible. Each county had their dinner and then listened to the briefing of the week.
Monday racing is often the best because everyone is still full of energy and excitement, but this year that energy continued through the entire week which caused some close results. The wind was quite good on Monday but it dropped massively on Tuesday, causing several races to be postponed. The light weight sailors celebrated the wind on Tuesday because it allowed them to climb up the fleet while the heavier sailors dropped positions.
In the evening, we were lucky enough to have a talk from the GBR sailing team’s meteorologist about clouds and different forecasts to look at. All of what he said was extremely useful and I’m very glad I took notes for future use. The competitors who didn’t attend his talk regretted it as soon as they found out how useful what he said was. I put some of the knowledge he gave me to use on the last race on Friday where another girl and I both successfully did a Port Flyer in front of the entire Laser 4.7 fleet.
Wednesday racing is always my favourite day because it gives you a break from the hard fleet racing and enables you to try a different boat or just have a rest day at the campsite. This year was the first time I had competed in the All-Comers pursuit race because at previous events I have been competing in the Single-Handed Cup or watching the Mount Hayes. I was lucky enough to Crew and then Helm a 29er with my friend, admittedly it could’ve gone better! There was a lot of breeze and gusts on the Wednesday which caused us to be upside down a lot of the time but our spirits remained high because it was a lot of fun and preferable to sitting in the rain watching.
Grafham Water Centre were kind enough to let all the competitors use their activities in the evening with qualified instructors. These activities included; climbing, rafting, archery and high ropes. Everyone that took part in an activity thoroughly enjoyed it at wanted to do it again the next night.
This year the annual NSSA disco was held on the Thursday. At the start of it not many people were there, but as the word spread round about how good the set up was, the crowd soon built.
Thursday wasn’t very strong wind but enough for you to have to hike out a bit in a Laser. The wind built a lot on Friday, almost to the point of racing having to be cancelled. Luckily the NSSA saw a way around cancelling the racing by only letting on or two fleets out at once so there could be more safety boats per class.
The boats were packed up as much as possible on the Friday afternoon to save time on the Saturday morning. There was a BBQ in the evening before prize giving and the all-important last-minute protests took place. At prize giving, Team Spirit shone through and the whole crowd was cheering as various people went up to collect their prizes. After all the individual prizes were given out the organisers announced the overall winners…Kent again!
After Prize giving everyone went back to their various county camp areas for team photos and just general thank yous to their coaches. Some people were exhausted from the week of sailing so had an early night, others stayed up for a bit of a celebration party within the counties and said goodbye to the new people they had met. In the morning, everyone was packed up as quick as possible, eager to get home to sleep and wash! The last goodbyes were said and then people went their various ways home.
Report by Rosie Turtle, from the Oxfordshire Team.