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Felix, Andark’s Sponsored Dinghy Sailor

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Reviews & Stories by Felix

Sailing throughout 2020

It’s been a strange and hard year for me this year so far but things are changing and really exciting.I was in National squad for my Topper dinghy with training throughout the winter. I was supposed to compete in the world championships at Lake Garda, Italy, and the Nationals in Weymouth.

In March as you can imagine everything was cancelled. I lost my motivation and aims. Sailing was on hold.When restrictions eased I bought a Laser to continue singlehanded sailing as my future in the Topper had come to an abrupt end and I have now outgrown it.

My passion was to learn to sail a 29er but with restrictions finding how to achieve my goal was proving difficult. I have sailed my Laser and crewed for my club Commodore on his RS800. That was a great experience spurring me on to get training in a 29er. The Andrew Simpson centre in Portland opened up to allow training within a safe bubble.I tried the boat with my friend Emma for a day and a half. This was definitely the boat for me.

What next?

I found someone on social media who needed a crew for their 29er and offered a try out for a week at Hayling Island to see if we were compatible. I am happy to say that it seems to have worked and we have agreed to sail together. There are so many more skills to learn for this boat and equipment to buy. The WPNSA is now my second home as we train down there every weekend to get in as much practice as possible. If things work out I will be competing in my first competition in the 29er in mid September. I will keep you up to date with how things go.

Allen Grand Prix 29er

So last weekend 19th-20th September we entered our first 29er event. The Allen Grand Prix at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy (WPNSA).

I’ve been training with my team mate Sam for the last three weekends. It’s been quite intensive, but as It was late when we teamed up and the fact I’d never trapezed or crewed a double hander we had no choice. I’ve had a lot of work to do. My hands were raw from all the hoisting of the spinnaker and were quite sore.

On race day the wind was high 25+ knots and the race postponed until the wind dropped. We got out on the water around twelve. We had a good start but made a huge error and missed a mark. This cost us heavily as we had a bump with another 29er and were later disqualified. We came 22nd 24th and 25th in our flight. Sunday was very gusty with highish winds. We had a great start again but then, with the gusts and the strong winds I lost a bit of confidence and control of the boat so we came in and called it a day.

Having only sailed the 29er for a total of 7-8 times I thought I was ready for my first event. We’ve taken this weekend off to rest and let my hands heal. We have another training weekend next week (3/4 Oct) again at WPNSA and the following week the 2nd round of the Allen Grand Prix. I’m hoping I’ll be a bit more prepared this time.

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About Andark

Andark was formed in 1976 , originally as a diving contractor working on many underwater projects from ship hull surveys to underwater construction and marine salvage. In 1980 we diversified into scuba diver training . Today Andark is one of the country’s biggest leisure diving schools offering a range of world-recognised dive courses.

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