This year there were seventy-four entrants at the Tera Nationals held at Netley Sailing Club in Southampton. Otters taking part included James Hutton-Penman, Hamish Eckstein, Flynn Davies and Zac Bikhazi in the Tera Pro fleet and Niamh Davies in the Tera Sport Fleet. There were two further sailors from the Burnham Sailing Club taking part, Josh and Jamie Aldridge. Racing took place over two days, three races being run each day on a trapezoid course.
In the first race of the Pro fleet James broke his mast and ripped his sail and Hamish broke his boat so both came hobbling in half way through the race. This was not a good start and given there was the possibility of only one discard, this was it for James and Hamish so the pressure was on. Race One was actually won by Josh.
With the help of the other Tera parents, RS Sailing and gaffer tape, James and Hamish just made it out for Race Two which James went on to win. Race Three was won by Hayling Island sailor Maisie Letten with Josh second and James third.
The second day's racing was delayed awaiting a sea breeze. In the overnight standings Josh was leading, James was in eighth including the DNF, Flynn in 15th and Hamish further back in 17th counting his DNF. Zac did not sail Saturday (apparently there are other sports than sailing!), Jamie and Niamh finished all their races and were positioned 16th and 34th in the Sports fleet.
The Pro boys knew they had no choice but to win the races on Sunday so when sailing started on the sea breeze the nerves were showing, but win they duly did. James won Races Four and Six with Hamish 3rd in both, Hamish won Race Five with James in 2nd, Josh picked up two fourth places and a sixth so the day belonged to our sailors. Burnham sailors got five bullets out of six races!
In the final analysis James, on eight points from five counting races, became the RS Tera Pro National Champion to add to his Sport National Championship of last year. Josh finished second on 17 points, Hamish finished sixth on 30 points, Flynn eighteenth and Zac finished all three races Sunday and then showed frustration at not sailing fast enough - Zac and I have agreed to work on this over the next few weekends. Niamh finished all her races in the Sports fleet and ended up 38th overall, an excellent result and now I believe Mum and Dad have to pay the promise made! Jamie finished 28th in the Sport fleet.
Well done to all our sailors for some really superb performances under pressure. The Tera fleet is now very good,with numbers increasing and tight racing. The atmosphere was great and this was further helped by beautiful surroundings and excellent weather.
Good luck to all our sailors going to the Worlds in France (wish we were going rather than having to go to Weymouth!).