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Our teams enjoyed the opportunity to compete in the event.
A huge thank you to Paul Harker, Head of Sailing, for this report:
On Saturday 30th May, six Seaford students competed in our first competitive sailing event since 2019, at the BSDRA Southern Championships at Spinnaker Sailing Club. The event was hosted by Winchester College, Spinnaker Sailing Club, and KSail, and we were competing against a total of fifteen other teams from twelve schools from across the country, the vast majority of which have well established and very experienced sailing teams. The wind was initially very light, and died away completely by midday, when the sea breeze then kicked in (which also resulted in a 180 degrees shift) and greatly improved the conditions. As a result though, only 64 of the planned 120 total races were able to be run, the vast majority in the afternoon, meaning that each team only sailed eight races each as opposed to fifteen (teams only sail against one other team at a time).
Despite this less than ideal start to the event, it was still a fantastic and valuable opportunity for our sailors not only to experience first-hand all the tactics and manoeuvres that they had been learning about off the water including during the lockdowns using an online simulator, but also since between races, there were times off the water with the opportunity to watch the other teams in action, as the race area was located right next to the staging area on the shore of the lake.
For those not familiar with team racing, each team is three boats, and scoring is one point for first, down to six points for six - to win a race, you need any combination of places where the total score from your three boats adds up to ten or less. It is extremely competitive, not just in terms of sailing ability but also tactics and knowledge of the racing rules, since those are used extremely aggressively to disadvantage opponents, with coordination and team work across the three boats in each team being vital for success. It is sometimes described as chess on water.
Following a very enjoyable time on the water, with some great sailing from our team who showed strong progress across the day, we are now looking forward to building further on this back at Thorney Island Sailing Club in our own Fireflies as we also put together the rest of the squad, as a second team will be vital to being able to run proper team racing training.
The Seaford team for this event were:
Oscar Pitman (Yr 12) & Lucy Pitman (Yr 9)
Ed Gordon-Thomson & Ben Cotton (both Yr 12)
Ben Staniforth (Yr 11) and Henry Jones (Yr 9)
A very big thank you to the organisers, Dr Jamie Barron of Winchester College, James Oborne of Spinnaker SC & Keith Sammons of KSail for a really great event!
Team Manager (& also Start Officer for the event) – Paul Harker
Minibus driver & onshore support – Jon Jones