My 2000 National Championship Experience – by Gwen Sargent
Last Summer I had the wonderful experience of sailing with my mum at the 2000 National Championships.
We decided to sail girls v boys – I helmed for Mummy, and my brother Johnny helmed for Daddy. It was great that all of us were able to be on the water competing at the same time for the first time since I was very young (when we used to go 4 up in the 2000). There was certainly a little bit of family rivalry. I have helmed for Daddy in the 2000 and Tasar at several National Championships and a World Championship, so I am very confident in a boat with him, but the 2000 nationals was my first time ever racing with Mummy. I had only been in a 2000 twice since the beginning of the year, because my focus had been on Optimist training. Mummy had managed to get on the water a few times during lockdown but was worried her lack of practise would show. She was very nervous about letting me down – concerned she might not be brave enough or able to provide me with the same level of tactical knowledge and overall sailing support as Daddy. Before we launched, I had to reassure her that she would definitely be fit enough (we had spent lockdown running together almost daily) and I trusted that she would try her hardest for me.
On Sunday (day one), there was a gentle breeze from the East. Mummy and I were very pleased with our performance (8th in the first race and 7th in the next), especially as we were often very close behind or even ahead of the boys, who went on to finish 3rd and 4th. We were a team to watch out for!
The second day brought stronger breeze. We were a bit worried because we were the lightest team by 15kg! Daddy helped us by giving advice on rig setup. We had the maximum amount of rake, jib cars all the way back, kicker on hard and as much cunningham as we could physically pull! Our sail was the flattest it could possibly be! Mummy and I didn’t stop flat hiking the whole day. It was exhausting! Although we tried our hardest, we simply were unable to sail upwind as fast as our competitors. We scored 15th then 16th but were satisfied because we had tried our hardest.
Tuesday was very similar to the previous day. We hiked extremely hard all the way but couldn’t make up for our lack of weight. It was gruelling, but we had lots of fun, especially downwind! We finished 13th, 19th and 14th. We staggered ashore with absolutely nothing left, so were very glad that the boys were able to help at the slipway, having achieved top 10 results in every race.
Wednesday was the layday, then Thursday and Friday were both too windy to sail, so we spent our time running and exploring the local area. It was great to enjoy a family holiday together!
The results from Tuesday were left standing – Mummy and I finished 15th overall, and the boys were 5th. Because the prizegiving had to be Covid safe, only Daddy and Johnny were invited. Johnny won the prize for first Junior helm, and the boys were also awarded first family team, keeping both trophies within our family (I had won both in 2019). Mummy and I were very proud of our boys. We were also pleased with our own performance.
I think I am very lucky to be able to sail with Mummy. Because we did not get an official prize, Mummy and I awarded ourselves a lovely pottery whale jug as our prize for the first female team and first mother-and-daughter team. Since then, it has been on the kitchen table every day to remind us of our fantastic family adventure.