Josh Porter – Diary Update July 2017

Josh Porter, our first grant recipient for the Richard Estaugh Fund, gives us a diary update 

The Richard Estaugh Fund is a bursary fund to which GP14 sailors can apply for assistance towards worthwhile sailing related projects. These take many forms, from sailing campaigns, to coaching or providing assistance or buddying for people with a disability. Grants are offered primarily to help a sailor with their own project, however, in return for this, the Class also wants to see a benefit and pay-back to the sport and, in particular, to the applicant’s local sailing community. More information on the fund can be found in the ‘Grants and Funds’ section of the website.

To follow on from my last report in March, (which you can read here),  many events have taken place in Ireland. Recently we have had the Purcell Trophy in Greystones, Shane McCarthy’s training ground. We have also had Newtownards SC host their 53rd Annual Regatta along with the GP14 Ulster Championships the following weekend, amongst other events I couldn’t attend. There have also been some developments within NSC, including a RYA sailing course taking place in the GP14’s along with the club receiving another GP14.

In the three events I have competed in this year, I have had a different crew for each one. This has made it challenging when racing as myself and my crew are learning how each other sails while at the event, with little to no practice together beforehand. Starting off in Greystones, the weather was tricky on both days and a strong south going tide was running, making it difficult at the weather mark. There was an hour long delay on Saturday waiting on the visibility to improve and the wind to increase. This went from nothing to 26 knots by race 3. We had a good day considering the conditions counting a 16, 15 and 13, leading the bronze fleet overnight.

Sundays forecast was the complete opposite, starting with a 10 knot breeze and dropping all the time. After the best start of the weekend in race 4, we were 2nd round the weather mark. After sorting a twist in the kite we dropped to finish 6th overall in race 4. Race 5 was tricky. After a poor start and little breeze to catch up we finished in 18th, struggling against the tide to the line.

All in all it was a great event, winning the bronze fleet by 11 points and being placed 15th overall. Unfortunately it was Sina’s first and only GP event as she had to head back home to Germany.

The next event was Newtownards Sailing Clubs 53rd Annual Regatta. For this event I had a crew who was completing her RYA dinghy course which was running at NSC. Unfortunately the weather conditions weren’t great for her first event, with winds exceeding 20 knots.

After misreading the start list for the different classes of boats, we were late for the race start. Due to this, as well as having a relatively inexperienced crew, the race turned in to a bit of fun while enjoying hanging on in the breeze. During the last lap of the race, the breeze picked up so much that even the experienced helms of Alistair Duffin and Curly Morris managed to go swimming at the gybe mark. Unfortunately Curly had to retire from the race which meant KMIT gained an unexpected place.

Now we get to the Ulster Championships, also held at NSC. This was a great event and well attended with 30 boats competing over the 2 days. Somehow we had almost perfect sailing conditions for the weekend, with some breeze and plenty of sun. For this event I had another new crew as Sina is back home in Germany.

Josh at Ulster Champs
In good company with Hugh Gill and Curly Morris at 2017 Ulster Championships
Photo credit David Corkill

Saturday started off with some general recalls on the first gun, before the PRO went for the black flag to calm the sailors down. After the first triangle and in a good position, my mainsheet jammer decided it didn’t want to do anymore racing and broke the mount. This caused us to lose places while trying to re-rig the jammer around the seat using the main cunningham. We finished up the day counting 19, 18 and 8 putting us in the lead of the bronze fleet.

Sunday started off similar to Saturday with 2 ok results, after poor starts and picking the wrong side of the course. In the final race my crew told me to either push the start and get a black flag, or finish in the top 10. This way we would get to the bar quicker. After taking this on-board we managed to finish in 7th due to a lucky shift off the line. We finished Sunday counting 18, 20 and 7. This finished us in 17th overall and first bronze fleet by 23 points.

Josh Porter Ulster Champ -Race 2
Coming in to finish 7th in race 6 at 2017 Ulster Championships
Photo credit David Corkill

All in all it was a good learning weekend as my crew was teaching me some techniques when it came to starts and manoeuvres to ensure that we always had good boat speed. Now I’ve to put it all in to practice and see what the results are like at the next event.

Within NSC we have had some developments. The first is a RYA training course taking place in the GP14’s. This was a level 1 and 2 course to get people in to sailing and give them the knowledge to be able to sail a boat as helm and crew. We had 12 people start the course with many keen to keep sailing. Some of the students also came down to the club to crew during club racing. This gave them a greater insight in to the racing aspect of sailing with some also flying the spinnaker. If there was no room to helm or crew then they had the freedom to take a club Pico out and join in.

The second is another GP14 which I passed on to the club to use as a club boat. This was given to me but as I had no use for it, it was given to the club. After a good tidy up and some work done to it, the club will have a third GP14 which people completing the courses can use for club racing and training.

See also:
Josh’s Update after his first UK Nationals event
a great read