My first open meeting, should I do it? butterflies just thinking about it. Oh well I’ve told too many people now so there’s no backing out. Location; Draycote Waters Sailing Club, Class; International Canoe, I must be mad. T Marston is to blame, it was him who told me that two hulls of the Dart 18 was not necessary and the single slim line hull of the IC was the way to go?
With barely a season of experience sailing an old Piranha Inter Canoe my expectations at Draycote was a little on the low side. I have heard so much about the IC circuit and the quality of competitors, some of whom are current and ex world champions.
The acquisition of a lighter yet older Inter Canoe came my way last November, the rush to have it race ready before the new season started failed. August was the grand launch , well I’ve never claimed to be a boat builder? So two outings at Dee was my preparation for the BIG open meeting at Draycote.
After two evenings strapping the IC down on the trailer, I wasn’t sure how many ratchet straps were needed? I headed southbound with my immovable Canoe.
Lucky me I stayed with friends living near Draycote, so it was a quick and easy set up for the 1 O’clock starting gun on the Saturday afternoon 24 th September.
The IC`ers at Dee are a friendly bunch, that was equally matched with fellow IC`ers at the open meeting. I was greeted so warmly at the great facilities of Draycote Waters Sailing Club. Help with trailers ?straps? and technical support was in abundance.
Day one: 12pm Race briefing, bearing in mind my only experience of racing has been at Dee only and most of the time I am not sure what’s going on there? 1300hrs Race one of three back to back. I used the excuse of not knowing the course so I needed to follow the rest, hence the low finishing position? I managed to complete all three races so I felt that was an achievement in its self. The winds where light but very unpredictable, big wind shifts were the talk of the day. No capsizes in day one.
Day two: Race four, much bigger winds, National Champions capsizing, there’s a feeling that I aint going to stay dry. I had the best Sailing experience ever, the first half hour or so it was hanging on for dear life then I settled in. I experienced some seriously screaming reaches that I’ve not experienced before on an IC. Suddenly the persuasive argument of going from two hulls to one bore credibility. I managed to complete one and a half races before my tiller extention decided it didn’t like the full weight of yours truly landing on it, so it was a limp back to shore. I am now a true IC convert, hooked line and sinker, I have never had so much pleasure from sailing before. Open meeting number two is at Oxford in October, with my new found confidence I am keen to compete.
Great close competitive racing, friendly IC`er commonly known as plankers, Its been a great first Open meeting.
Taking part was eleven Asymmetric Canoes, Top spot went to Phil Allen from Hayling Island SC
Eight took part in the standard Canoe Class, Top spot went to Mark Goodchild from Medway SC (current World Champion )
Me? well I came a modest 6 th thanks to those DNC
Any of you crazy sailors out there would like to know more about International Canoes the Website is http://www.intcanoe.org.uk Also myself and Tony Marston can point you in the right sensible direction.
Thank you to everyone at Draycote Waters for their involvement in a superb open,
Graeme Nicholson GBR291