Otters at the Feva Nationals

»«Tuesday 3rd June 2014

A number of our Otters travelled to Weymouth to take part in the RS Feva Nationals. Over 100 boats took part in the four day event, including boats from the Netherlands, Lithuania and Canada.

Conditions were very varied, a great day on Saturday for the practice race was followed by sun and 20 knots on Sunday for three races of Champagne sailing to determine the split for Gold and Silver for the final days of racing. Monday was far more difficult with only one race being sailed, after a number of races were cancelled due to wind shifts, in winds of only four knots.

The final day started early (for Fevas) with the aim of completing four races which was achieved but only after the children spent seven and a half hours on the water, the first two races taking place in light and flukey winds which built a little for the final two races.

Big congratulations go to Ella Phelps who, crewed by Matthew Braybrook, stepped in for her sick brother to compete in Silver fleet and the team finished all the races. Both came ashore smiling and maybe we have a demon combination for the future!

Also in Silver fleet were William Taylor and Ben Hutton-Penman who got themselves into second place by the Monday evening. Unfortunately a jammed spinnaker cost them 20 places in one race on the Tuesday and they ended up a very credible sixth in Silver fleet in their first regatta together.

Kathryn Hutton-Penman and Matthew Jayasekara were representing the Otters in Gold fleet against some very stiff opposition, including current Feva National and World champions and a sprinkling of Optimist National champions for good measure.

Kathryn and Matt qualified in 11th place in Gold fleet and finished the regatta in 10th place overall with some great consistent sailing, no counting score outside of the top ten and two fifths. They were in good company only 1.5 points behind 9th place and current Feva World Champion and 8 points ahead of the 11th place who happened to be an ex-Optimist National Champion and two years their senior.

Overall it was a great weekend and the size and competitiveness of the fleet really demonstrating that the fleet is here to stay. Given the top of the 29er table is led by ex Feva sailors, it really goes to show these boats are the perfect feeder boat for the asymmetric classes.