You may remember back in May when we first introduced you to Dan and Fin our sailing boys? Well they’ve been back down to Dorset and are setting sail for another championship…
As a mum to two active boys and one younger sister, Nia knows that a goods night sleep and lots of activities to keep the little one entertained, is a recipe for sailing success. Nia gives us a update on the latest event…
A rope snapping in two is not a good start to any sailing championship especially when it is the rope which keeps the main sail up and you are on the slipway ready to launch. The sailing championships – the RS Feva National Championships in Weymouth. The sailors – Dan and Fin Armstrong aged 14 and 12 – both members of the British RS Feva National Junior Squad. The main halyard was the one rope the boys had not replaced with HARKEN ropes when they overhauled the boat prior to the championships. Well they would not make the same mistake again – high quality ropes are a vital part of boat maintenance and it only takes one such lesson to ram the point home. After a good nights’ sleep at the Haven Littlesea Park, both boys managed an immensely speedy rope repair arriving at the start line on time with a fully functioning main sail though perhaps with slightly raised heart rates.
We had arrived at the Littlesea Park in Weymouth the night before after a long drive from Totnes, Devon.
Team Armstrong consists of mum, little sister Emiah and the two sailors Dan and Fin. As members of the British Junior Squad the boys sail all over the country and internationally. Given how much we travel, everyone has to be feeling positive about the destination to avoid car carnage. So sleep, good food and entertainment for Emiah are the crucial elements for a successful sailing event perhaps even above boat maintenance.
Fortunately the boys are sponsored by Haven who are more than capable of dealing with all three. Emiah had studied the Littlesea Park online and so we arrived at the park with Emiah clamouring to explore the play area before we had even got out of the car.
Littlesea must have recently overhauled its childrens’ park as Emiah was most impressed by the high tech swings. In no time at all she was bounding up the climbing frames and demonstrating a worrying ability to dangle upside down for hours. I dragged her away eventually and we booked into the pool party (always a popular option) complete with floats and disco music. An eight year old’s idea of heaven. Me, I was just grateful for the Haven approach to pool temperature (warm) as opposed to the icy approach adopted by the average local pool.
We did have to leave the park other than or sailing as at this event we were dog-sitting Oscar, the sailing coach’s dog whilst he was on the water with the squad. Littlesea is based on the sea at Weymouth and is surrounded by fantastic dog walking country. We took Oscar along Chesil beach – ideal for a galloping hound with boundless energy. At the top of the pebble bank we could sit, throw the ball down to Oscar and wait for him to return whilst appreciating the heritage coast landscape. Oscar had a brilliant time and we returned him to the coach to collapse in his dog basket.
With the activities on the park and the dogwalking, Emiah and I failed to get out onto the water ourselves although there are huge opportunities in Weymouth. Based at the Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy, the Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre has just opened running RYA accredited sailing courses.Or for those with a need for speed there are powerboat and jet ski courses available at Portland Marina.
We departed on the Tuesday after four days of sailing at Weymouth bound for the Eurocup Championships in Bruinesse. After four nights of rest at Littlesea I felt up to the drive to the Netherlands which was just as well as the boat trailer bearings went on the motorway. One Green Flag rescue later and an emergency trip to the ball bearing shop, we were back on the road turning up one day later than planned in Bruinesse but once more in time for the start line. The boys finished 16th at the RS Feva National Championships in Weymouth with Fin being the youngest by far in the top thirty followed by ninth position at the Eurocup.
Their sailing season has just finished on a high with the boys awarded tenth place at the RS Feva World Championships in Carnac and winning the last race of the event. Thank you to Haven for helping the boys to pursue their sailing ambitions.