2014 Osprey Class National Championship
This was my second opportunity to race under the banner of the
P.S.U.K in 2014.
The boat to be used was my Hartley Mk 4 all-glass Osprey with a lovely new set of North sails. Plans were sorted and leave taken for Nick. This all goes out of the window when Nick manages to injure himself quite severely whilst moving a trailer. Thankfully he has now recovered and back on the water again.
After searching for a replacement helmsman who would be up to the job at the back end through my P.S.U.K friends and finding none that could make themselves available I contacted a Phantom sailing friend who I knew was off at the time and fancied the trip to Cornwall. Tyler Harmsworth and ex National Champion in the Phantom was duly signed up.
The venue at Porthpean was as beautiful as any could want and the
fact it was known for being a breezy one was good news as we were
easily at the top of the competitive weight scale at over 30 stones.
We needed breeze!
The slipway was long and steep. Unless you had a group of you then no Osprey was coming up unless they deployed the tractor which was there for that purpose. Approximately 40 boats were entered and some top helms from other classes had decided to have their holidays at the same time.
As a lovely time spent by the sea, swimming and meeting friends it was wonderful. As a Championship for us, sadly we were outclassed by all the light fellas. I could give a blow by blow account of all the races but to be honest these would be a bit boring and not a great read.
Our starts were consistently good. Even the bad one we made we
recovered to third at the first mark. We were on the top ten at the
first mark in nearly every race and frequently in the top five.
The high scores were on courses where they had a triangle after the first beat and the lower ones were generally where the sausage was first.
The rationale behind this was that every time we got to the top mark and it was a reach, we had to make the decision as to go high (as they all did) and hope to plane and not get rolled. Or we had to soak and hope we got clear wind and sailed the shorter distance.
We tried both methods and lost many places every time, only to
regain some of them on the next upwind leg.
The simple fact was we were too heavy to compete on the reaches. The wind was such that Tyler only really got out on the wire and the boat up to full speed on one occasion that I remember.
Overall we were 16th which was lower than we had hoped for but acceptable for the conditions we had and the way we had raced.
We enjoyed the racing and the social very much and were happy that we had prepared the boat and it was on the pace.
The front runners sailed brilliantly and consistently which was enjoyable to watch. The many battles further back were just as hard fought and entertaining.
This was probably the lightest winds over a four day period I have raced in a championship but it did not detract from the pleasure of doing the event. I thank the P.S.U.K again for their support and urge Nick Mason to be more careful in the future! Hopefully the Osprey will make it to some other Police events in the coming year.