18 May 2021
British Schools Dinghy Racing Association (BSDRA) Eastern Championships at Rutland Water

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On Saturday 15 May our sailing pupils participated in the British Schools Dinghy Racing Association (BSDRA) Eastern Championships held at Rutland Water.

Owing to COVID restrictions, it was a somewhat ‘cut down’ even this year, with just four Schools (Oakham, Oundle, Stamford, Uppingham) plus two teams from Rutland Sailing Club taking part. We entered two teams into the Firefly Class (where each team had 3 dinghies) and two teams into the Feva Class (where each team had 2 dinghies) and so this meant that 20 pupils were able to compete. Each team was able to compete in at least 7 or even 8 races. Indeed, the slightly reduced number of teams afforded our pupils a greater number of racing opportunities throughout the day so the reduced number of teams worked to our advantage in terms of introducing our junior sailors to Team Racing.

Oundle A, our senior team captained by Niamh Marsden (L), won 3 out of 5 races in the morning session. Given that the winning teams (from Rutland Sailing Club) are national champions, then this was a respectable performance against strong opposition. Our B team did not fair quite so well but will have gained much experience. Our junior (Under 16) teams in the Fevas, will have gained much too and performed very well, given that some are inexperienced sailors who were entering their first ever Team Racing competition.

The event was exceptionally well organised and run, primarily by Mr Nick Neve of Stamford Endowed Schools, and with support from a number of other teachers and members of Rutland Sailing Club. Given that pupils did not swap boats, and that the event took place inn outdoor conditions where there were no issues concerning social distancing, the whole competition was conducted in a COVID secure manner.

There have been limited opportunities for competition for many young sailors in recent months and therefore a full programme of sailing of approximately 40 races held was appreciated by all who took part. In summary, it was a good day of sailing.

Huw Roberts