This weekend, I travelled to Portland and the National Sailing Academy to act as Course Race Officer for one of two courses at the first event of the RYA Olympic Classes Spring Series. This was part of my training and development in preparation for my National Race Officer course later this year. The Spring Series is part of the qualification process for various British Sailing Team pathway squads so is a big deal for anyone beginning their professional Olympic campaign. I was running the Bravo course for the 470s and Finns.
Saturday started fairly light but built to a steady 10-15knts after only a short delay to proceedings. On our course, we held five races for both classes with the ‘Oscar’ flag indicating that pumping was permitted. Hector Simpson stole the show with five race wins in the Finn class (or though was later disqualified from Race 1) whilst in the 470s it was much closer with three boats all winning at least one race. However, it was Martin Wrigley and James Taylor who ended the day on top. On the Alpha course, the RSX fleet achieved four races back-to-back with Imogen Sills and Andy Brown leading the way in the 8.5 and 9.5 rigs respectively. After the windsurfers had finished, the Nacras came out to play with the 15 of Ben Harris and Annabel Luxton topping the scoreboard after the three completed races.
Sunday brought even colder weather, considerably more wind and a nasty chop. After a delay ashore, the windsurfers and catamarans decided the combination was unsuitable for racing. Meanwhile, our fleets started after only a short postponement afloat. In a dramatic turnaround, Callum Dixon scored a string of first places to overtake Hector Simpson to take overall victory in the Finn class. Similarly, in the 470s, Harvey Martin and Ryan Orr revelled in the windy conditions to win all three races sailed to take the title. After three races, the decision was to head ashore to limit the time the sailors spent afloat in the brisk conditions.
Overall, the event was a great experience for me as a developing Race Officer and I hope the sailors had an equally enjoyable time. To see more of what I am up to, check out my Facebook page (facebook.com/JamesRipleySailboatRacingServices) or come and see me on Saturday 3rd March at the RYA Dinghy Show on the Sailing Southwest stand (E18).