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NSSA Singlehanded Team Racing Championship 2023 at Bartley Sailing Club

by Izzy Johnson 30 Oct 2023 03:32 PDT 14-15 October 2023
Kent win the NSSA Singlehanded Team Racing Championship © Emily Castle

We travelled to Bartley Sailing Club in Birmingham to race in the NSSA single handed team racing competition. Izzy, Dan and Seb qualified to represent the Kent Schools Sailing Association (KSSA).

The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation helped run the event and there were 24 toppers supplied by the organisers. There were 21 teams in total coming from schools and clubs from all over the country. Each team had 3 sailors in it. The format of racing was a Swiss league which meant that after 1 round if you won your race you would race against someone else who won theirs, if you lost your race you would sail against a team which had also lost. This meant that the teams were always sailing against another team of a similar standard which made for really close racing.

We sailed around an 'S' course (which is the usual team racing course). This gives lots of mark roundings and opportunities to use team racing tactics. The aim of team racing is to get your team of 3 boats around the course and across the finish line in a lower combination than the other team using boat speed, the rules of sailing and tactics. Overall we had a lot of fun learning lots of new team racing skills with wacky manoeuvres and hoping the on the water umpires didn't give us penalty turns.

Our team had good boat speed having sailed Toppers quite regularly but were were still developing our team racing tactics during each race. There was a good breeze on Saturday but it was quite shifty which meant that it was possible to get back into races if teams were not covering the opposition carefully up the beats. We had some very close races, particularly with the Lancashire A team.

There were 7 races for each team on Saturday (a total of about 80 races). On Sunday the wind was lighter and after a few more rounds of races moved to the knockouts with semi finals to be followed by finals. We qualified first for the knockouts and sailed against Royal Hospital School A. Lancashire A qualified second to sail against Rutland Kraken. In our first race against RHS A we had a strong combination going onto the run but then sailed the wrong course which opened the race up again.

Fortunately we sailed fast enough up the last beat to get control of the race again but it was a lot more stressful. At least we learnt to always check where the next mark is! Lancashire A beat Rutland Kraken in their semi final so we would race them in the finals.

Lancashire A were also fast in Toppers which meant our team racing skills became much more important for the finals. The starts were difficult with Lancashire A coming at us aggressively to push us back before the start time. We managed to get ahead in some of our pairs and then did some mark traps to help our team mates to overtake them.

The last race was really close with our team mate Dan just crossing the line a second ahead of them to take first place. We then also had third place and fifth place which beat the opponents' combination of 2,4,6 and won the event overall.

There were 134 races during the whole weekend and thanks to everyone who was involved in helping, especially Rob the event manager, Dan Fox, PRO, and his team, the bosun and all the umpires.

Results: shtr2023.bennetthosting.co.uk/results.html

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