Here are some screen shots (with unfortunately the lower image quality) from the Zephyr Owners Association website of the 2021 Nationals held at the Manly Sailing Club over the last 4 days. My Zephyr 'Slipstream' 195 can be seen (on the right) in the above photo at the start of one of the 3 races that were held on the first day in heavy wind conditions (18 - 20 knots with gusts up to 30 knots).
This screen shot is taken from a video on the website and shows moi in deep mains'l contemplation mood - not that it helped much.
My cunning plan was to slay the fleet with my secret weapon which was a set of home made wooden sail battens. They worked well in the survival conditions of the first days racing but unfortunately were a disaster on the second light air days racing.
Day One - 20 knot north easterly wind, gusting 25 - 30 knots, with a big sea running. I reveled in these conditions and was in overall 34th place out of 70 boats after 3 races. I only capsized once (losing one place as a result). The windward legs were exhausting - the awesome downwind rides were thrilling and slightly unnerving.
Day Two - 25 - 35 knot NE wind - sailing canceled for the day.
Day Three - Light, patchy wind which never got above about 4 knots. Very shifty with big holes in the breeze. My battens and my crap sailing skills let me down. Big shifts meant that if you picked the wrong side of the course in the early windward stages you lost big time. My position dropped to 46th overall.
Day Four - Seafog, no wind. Racing cancelled - prize giving in the afternoon.
I am pleased and positive about a few things:
- I was determined to improve on my last Zephyr Nationals result (60th out of 73 entrants) at Worser Bay in Wellington in 2018. My over all position this time was 46th out of 70 entrants), a reasonable improvement.
- In the Masters section of the competition (Ages 60 - 69years) I was placed 5th out of 12 old buggers - so that was a positive result.
- I learnt a great deal, talked to a lot of interesting and talented sailors about sailing in general and tuning Zephyrs in particular, gaining a lot of new insights to try out over the next 12 months.
- Despite only two race days I enjoyed the sailing immensely (especially the first day) and are determined to do better again next year when the Nationals return to Worser Bay in Wellington - I'll be there.