The first day of the National Schools Regatta kicked off today in a fresh westerly breeze at Grafham Water Sailing Club

The first day of the National School Sailing Association Regatta got off to a good start today at Grafham Water Sailing Club. Sponsored by, with coaching assistance from Adam Bowers, RYA 470 Olympic Sailing Coach, the 353 competitors enjoyed a jammed-packed day of exciting racing, in the moderate to fresh westerly breeze, and plenty of useful sailing advice.

The day began bright and early with a briefing in the main marquee. And, with rigging and tuning advice from Adam Bowers, the 305-boat fleet then made its way to the start line in time for the first of two races.

Evan Scott, Topper sailor from the home club who recently finished second at the Eastern Area Championship, 17th at last weekend’s national squad qualifier and was 71st overall at last year’s Topper national championship, was one of many competitors keen to get out on the race course today. “The last time I did the NSSA regatta,” said Scott, “was two years ago at Plymouth so I’m itching to start the race to see how much I’ve improved. I’ll also be using this event at a tune-up for next week’s Topper national championship at Deal. My aim, also at this event is to finish in the top 10.”

John Alton, Laser Radial sailor from the Worcestershire team (Upton Warren Sailing Club) is a third-timer at the NSSA Regatta and believes that the coaching from Adam Bowers is an asset at an event like this. “Adam’s input last year was great and I’m looking forward to picking up some more useful tips throughout the day.”

Four-times Signet junior national champion sailors, Michael Overs and Mark Cowling from Paxton Lakes Sailing Club, seemed relaxed and well organised prior to the start of the first race and were also keen to start the regatta. “We sail the Signet together all the time but we’ve never done this regatta before so it’ll be interesting to see how we perform against other boats in the mixed slow handicap fleet,” said Over (the skipper). “My dad built the boat five years ago so it would be good if we notched up some reasonable results.”

After a light start the wind continued to increase resulting in some exciting racing and many capsizes throughout the day. On the 144-strong Topper fleet there was some confusion with the start time of the first race with resulted in many competitors missing the start. Not surprisingly requests for redress have been received by the race committee and all results are pending protest.

Adam Bowers is currently rounding up the competitors in the marquee for this evening’s masterclass event where he’ll show video footage from the day’s racing. And if Bowers runs true to form, competitors will enjoy a lively, fun-packed evening’s entertainment as they find out, in front of all of all their friends ‘what went wrong’!

Nigel Seed, Vice Chairman of the Cambridge Schools and Youth Sailing Association and NSSA event organiser commented that despite the organisation of 353 competitors things are running extremely smoothly. “I’m remarkably surprised at how well things are going. It’s the largest entry for four years and I expected more stress on the first day,” said Seed. “I know it’s early days but we have a really efficent team running things here so I can only hope things continue as they are.”