20 June 2023
Year 9 sailor Lucy put her expertise to successful test recently, taking part in the RS Feva Nationals off the coast of North Wales.
Lucy F, Year 9
I spent my half-term in sunny NW Wales – no, seriously, it was actually sunny every day - competing in the National Championships of the RS Feva (a double handed dinghy for young people) with my friend George. We’ve been sailing it together for almost a year, training over the winter as part of the ‘Southern Regional Training Group’. This was our biggest test to date.
On Friday morning, we towed the boat all the way up to Plas Heli in Snowdonia - the Welsh National Sailing Centre. We got there in time to rig the boat and have a practise sail to get used to the unfamiliar conditions and make sure everything was working after the long journey. The racing started on Saturday morning.
We were one of 94 identical boats on the start line - the biggest fleet I’ve sailed in so far - which was pretty exciting. The first start was a ‘general recall’ - like a false start when too many boats were over the line to be able to count them - so we all had to go back into the five-minute start sequence again. But the second time, we all started properly and the race was finally on!
Competitors came from all over the UK and even across the water from Dublin (which was actually closer to the venue than where we live). Many had sailed in nationals, Europeans and world championships before. It was quite a sight, especially on fancy dress day, when the Bananas in Pyjamas were narrowly beaten by Thing 1 and Thing 2.
We did three races a day for four days, meaning we were out on the water for about five hours continuously every day, which is quite tough. We needed to take plenty of water and snacks - ones that don’t get soggy if you capsize! The fact that it was sunny with a great breeze made all the difference. We could see Snowdon from the water, which was extra special. The water was really cold though (we only capsized twice) and quite choppy, so it was an exhausting, but exhilarating few days.
As for our results - well, we didn’t win this time, but we came 23rd in the Silver Fleet, which isn’t bad for our first Nationals. Our best result, however, was 4th place on the last day, which we were really really proud of.
I was also really proud of our Crews’ Race result, when I was helming the boat and we came 28th out of a potential 94 boats. This was really exciting, as I will be helming the boat next year when George moves to Lasers. This experience has given me confidence I’m ready for that and I can’t wait.
Finally, I just want to say a big thank you to the school and to my family for supporting me to take part in this event. I learnt a lot about racing, made some new friends and am already looking forward to the next one!