Josh Porter at the 2017 Nationals

Josh Porter, our first grant recipient from the Richard Estaugh Fund, gives his perspective on his first UK Nationals event… a great read, thanks Josh!

See  also: Josh Porter Dairy Update – July

“I would like to start off by thanking my crew, Sarah Coleman, for coming down and competing with me in the National Championships. It was a well-run event in a beautiful part of the country, with a great social side in the club after racing. The post-race beer each day went down very well, thanks to the sponsors!

After only sailing together a few times in the last month leading up to the event, we were a little less prepared for the conditions than we were expecting. We had a tough week with rudder failure and a capsize which resulted in throwing away what would have been our best race result of the week. On the upside, we both learnt a lot from the event which we can put into practice for future events.

Sheared rudder!
Sheared rudder!

Day one started off well, getting used to the conditions and how Sarah and myself worked in the boat during the practice race. After finishing with a reasonably good position we were excited to get the first race under way.

This is when things started to go wrong. After a bad decision coming off the line we ended up in a very close port, starboard situation which when we tacked out of, we capsized.

Unfortunately, before the event, I had the bright idea to polish the hull, which made it extremely difficult to get to the centreboard when turtled. This meant we were the last boat to the first windward mark and we had a lot of catch-up to do. After gaining some places on the next sausage leg and in the process of passing more boats, the rudder gudgeon decided to shear. This meant retiring from the first race and getting a long tow back to the beach.

Josh porter happy with consistent scores
Happy with our consistent scores. Photo credit – Sailpics

Day two was probably our most consistent day of the week due to the breeze being lighter and suiting the weight in the boat. We managed to stay behind the line unlike around a quarter of the fleet who managed to get BFD’ed.

We scored a 25 and 28 which I was happy with after getting the spare rudder stock onto the boat and finally starting to count some reasonable results. In race 3 finishing in 28th we also finished 2nd Bronze boat which scored us some much appreciated prizes thanks to the sponsors!

Day three started off great but went downhill very rapidly. After rounding the first windward in 6th we only dropped 2 places over the next 2 legs. Sarah and I both thought it was great to be up at the top end of the fleet for a change. Over the sausage and beat on the last triangle we started losing places as the wind picked up.

Coming up to the last reach of the race I got greedy as it started to get gusty. Forgetting about the lack of weight in the boat, I put up the spinnaker to hold my 15th place. This happened to be the same point a gust hit, which caused us to capsize and turtle. After getting the boat up it capsized again, which gave us time to watch our placing go from 15th to finish up the race in 56th.

Unfortunately, this bad decision cost us a first or second overall in the bronze after looking back at all of the results. On top of the result we also managed to lose some kit in the capsize which didn’t help with focusing on the last race of the day. We took the second race of the day easy as we couldn’t afford another discard and just wanted to finish the race, get warmed up and forget about the day in the bar.

The lay day was welcomed to forget about sailing and give us time to refocus on the next 2 days of racing, whilst having a look around some of the sights Cornwall has to offer.

Thursday turned out to be another good day for us. We managed to get focused again after the day off, and concentrate on sailing and gathering confidence in the boat again after a disastrous Tuesday.

After being given my instructions by Sarah, that if we capsized again in the regatta she was getting in a rescue boat, I had to try and gain trust in the boat. This worked in race 6 as we managed to count a 22 and 2nd bronze in the race. This earned us a nice mast cover thanks to Impact Marine. It’s a great upgrade from just taping a sail bag around the mast. Unfortunately we didn’t manage to stay in the top third of the fleet and dropped back to finish 44th in race 7.

Friday turned out to be one of the toughest days racing for us, with under 20 stone between Sarah and myself we had to hike hard to keep the boat upright. Considering the conditions we managed to go the full 2 races without capsizing, whilst also finishing reasonably with a 37 and 41. In Race 8 we also managed to finish 2nd Bronze boat which earned us vouchers and some new control line for the boat thanks to Dinghy Rope.  The vouchers went to good use to purchase a dry bag to store food and kit in, rather than getting it soggy if we capsize.

Team KMIT in action.
Team KMIT in action. Photo by Sailpics

All in all the event was well run and the social side was great! We had a great learning week which included some ups and some downs with some good results, bad results, and what could have been great results.

We tried different tactics on the starts to see what paid off, whilst also trying some different sail settings in different conditions to see what gave us a little more power. Changing genoa settings can be tricky to do in one of Curly’s old boats due to the differences in rig tensioning and setup, as some sailors will have found out from getting confused just looking at the system.

I have taken a lot away from the event and have been putting it into practice in club racing at Newtownards, managing to keep up with the likes of Curly on occasions.

This will also be put into practice in the next couple of events in the UK where I will be sailing more often, and hopefully finishing better overall. I hope to see some of you at the next event at Derwent Reservoir on the 23rd.

Josh Porter and Sarah Coleman

Newtownards SC and GUSC


Josh Porter is our first grant recipient from the Richard Estaugh Fund.

The Richard Estaugh Fund is a bursary fund to which GP14 sailors can apply for assistance towards worthwhile sailing related projects. These take many forms, from sailing campaigns, to coaching or providing assistance or buddying for people with a disability. Grants are offered primarily to help a sailor with their own project, however, in return for this, the Class also wants to see a benefit and pay-back to the sport and, in particular, to the applicant’s local sailing community. More information on the fund can be found in the ‘Grants and Funds’ section of the website.