Well, I've had a week to sit and ponder on my shortcomings at the Nationals and I think I have figured out what the lesson was. If you are going to take spares, you should be prepared and pretty happy with what you could possibly end up sailing with!
So my mast inexplicably fell down on day one right near the end of race one, leaving me out of race two. I headed back in and started trying to get my head around what I had and what I could make work.
My new mainsail was working better on the stiffer mast I was running and wasn't happy to go back to a bendy mast. I went hunting for a sail that might suit it and 2 boats down the dinghy park found Doug Pybus with a lovely MSL10 that he was prepared to lend.
So on to day two. After some rushing around with ropes and some overnight new shrouds at great expense I rigged up in the morning happy that I had something I could work with - until I tried to launch - first the bottom cam blew seconds after putting the boat into the harbour. Second attempt saw me two tacks in before the whole lot went at once. Third attempt, same deal. Gave up - not something I'm used to having to put up with.
I went back and figured my event was over now anyway as I was now counting DNS's so started rigging up the new Ellway sail as I just wanted to go sailing at this point. After a false start where the cams fell off (highly unusual on a Hyde, mostly to do with the big hole caused by the broken mast!) I finally made it out of the harbour and went to join in the final race of the day. Had pretty good downwind pace but was really struggling for height upwind. Ended up calling it a day after two laps in 5th as my prodder had come unattached and was making some nasty noises (didn't have a spare of that!).
Day three - Found Mike Lennon had a spare 2b (last years sail) which he would lend me and after duck taping an extra number on finally got on the water to see what this Turtle could do. 4th after 2 swims to sort gantry, a 6th after an appalling start and another swim to sort ride height adjuster and 12th after fouling Giovanni on the start line then fluffing my turns leaving me a good half a beat behind and a lot to catch up on. Not too shabby really although a bit rusty and getting myself into situations I would normally spot.
The final day saw a light 6-10 knot breeze and some careful sailing was required. I had a poor first beat but came to the top mark near the lead bunch and clawed my way up to third by the bottom gate. Managed to pull back 200 yards on Si and Arnaud up the next beat and stick with them for a round and just pipping Arnaud down the run when he fluffed his gibe.
The final race of the event had Arnaud and myself battling for the first lap or so before Mike Lennon pulled a flyer and rounded the top mark a couple of hundred yards ahead. I had managed to shake Arnaud in the marginal stuff on the beat and set about reeling Mike back in. Turned out to be not enough racecourse in the end and I finished just behind him.
So plenty of promise in there somewhere. I turned out to be fitter than I thought, faster than I'd hoped while being rustier than I'd expected! New foils felt good, rig was interesting and need more time with it. Team Ninja didn't fare too badly either. Jason Belben was always thereabouts, winning one of the races, Ben Paton, Tom Offer and Pete Barton all got into the top 20 despite sailing Moths for about three months and it was nice to see so many bright coloured boats there. DJ Edwards also managed 8th in his Ninja powered Bladerider!
The event itself was great and the dinghy park had the same camaraderie I've come to expect from Moth events and I'm glad the class continues to be friendly with all the fresh faces coming in.