Being my final youth event and my last time racing the laser radial, I entered this regatta with the goal of finishing first overall. Not so uncommon a notion - to go out on a high note. Unfortunately hitting that note would turn out to be challenging.
The first day of the regatta saw moderate winds from the mouth of the bay to the south and the regatta started well for me as I finished 1st and then 2nd. As the day went on the winds slowly dissipated leaving very light and difficult conditions for the final race of the day. A series of mental errors after rounding the final leeward mark in 2nd, including a penalty from the jury, had me fall all the way to a 9th place finish for the third race.
Unfortunately on day two of the regatta, all racing was abandoned due to no wind.
The third day brought shifty and puffy conditions from the north off of land. There were large shifts and wind that ranged from 0 to 6 knots. The first race was sailed in little wind and I finished in a disappointing 11th place. The second race was again sailed in light winds and after rounding the top mark well back in the teens I managed to mount a comeback and finish in 5th, keeping my regatta together. The final race of the day came in more moderate breeze but after leading around the first mark I failed to maintain this and I let Tayte (the eventual winner of the regatta) pass me downwind. I eventually finished 2nd. It was difficult in this race but I had to stay very still downwind as I had already been flagged once and would have to retire from the race had I been flagged again.
With a steady breeze on the bay as we launched for the final day I was hopeful we would get three races. I would need three finishes ahead of the current leader in order to close the point gap and move from second into first place overall.
Unfortunately that possibility slipped out of reach as I finished 2nd in the first race of the day and though I finished 1st with a healthy lead in the final race time had run out and we were unable to get in a 3rd race for the day. I ended up in 2nd place overall and 2 points short of my goal.
I am disappointed with this result as I had aimed to finish my final youth radial regatta on the top of the podium. However, I am resolved not to let this disappointment cloud my determination to go after future success. There is always another regatta and so I will take what I've learned and look to apply that as I move onto racing in the Laser Standard/Full Rig fleet.
Many thanks to our hosts at St Margaret's Sailing Club and all of the volunteers who made this event possible and congratulations to my OST teammates and fellow competitors.
Finally I want to say thank you to my coach Chris Hewson for all your support through this stage of my development in this sport. Your guidance, patience and encouragement have been invaluable. Thank you.