2022 on the water

Looking back, 2022 was a great year on the water. My main sailing goal for the year was to compete in the RS Aero Championships, a five day event. The months of training were a success and I managed all five days.

In May I did a kayak fishing course and got to paddle around Old Harry Rocks. I didn’t catch anything but paddling around the rocks was awesome. We want to do more kayaking in 2023 and try to catch some fish too.

The first open of the year was the Lymington RS Aero open in May. It was a very light wind tricky conditions day.

From May to July, I’m a volunteer dinghy instructor on Saturdays at my local club in Swanage. After weird broken up 2020/2021 training seasons thanks to COVID restrictions, it was great to get back to normal.

August had the year’s sailing highlight with the five day RS Aero European Championships in Weymouth. My training worked and I was the fittest I’d been in years going into it, and I managed the week. Read a longer write up here.

In September, it was off to Salcombe for a two day event. Salcombe is beautiful and I’d always wanted to sail there. Hugging the shore and rocks to stay out of the stronger currents involved a ton of short tacks which was hard on the knees, and tactically it was hard work.

At times it felt like orienteering, sailing off into different parts of the estuary and finding marks. It was absolutely unforgettable, and topped off with a fab dinner in the evening at Salcombe Yacht Club.

Photos three and four by Nicki Bartlett

My sailing improved a lot in 2022, which was reflected in my club results, I came third in the Spring and Summer handicap series and had some good cup results.

The biggest improvement of the year was upwind boat speed, thanks to the Weymouth Euros, I finally got the hang of keeping the boat flat and driving in strong winds (like F6), also getting the boat into the groove keeping it there. Fitness and strength plays a huge part in boat speed and I made big gains here, it’s sure fired me up for more.

Again, thanks to Weymouth, I learned a lot about sailing in shifty conditions and look forward to putting those learnings to use in 2023. Thanks Peter Barton and our friendly class for all the tips.

In 2023, I want to continue to impove upwind speed, and also downwind in strong winds. Also improve tactics and angles, and get ever fitter, more flexible and stronger.

The big event for 2023 will likely the Aero 6/9 nationals in Weymouth and the training campaign started today. 🙂

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