I began sailing when I was 10 years old in the RS Tera Sport and was soon thrown into my first competition after a month or two of getting in the boat – Regatta Fleet at a very cold and windy Derwent Reservoir Sailing Club! I finished in a solid last position. It was a scary event for me. I hardly knew how to steer a boat let alone be on a start line. The winds were heavy, or at least I thought they were. Even after this failed attempt at the sport, I continued for another two years in the Sport fleet [making some progress] before moving into the Pro fleet in late 2016.
I was not particularly good in the Sport fleet, but once I moved into the Pro fleet things changed! Although the boat was much better balanced everything became an awful lot more technical. One day something clicked and I soon began to get some good results. Dad and I would regularly sit down and watch Olympic races to look at each individual sailors technique and I tried to apply each technique to my own sailing to find the best-suited style for me.
The most memorable competition of mine will always be the 2018 RS Tera World Championships. I was going into the competition expecting a top 20 result. For two months prior to the competition, I went out training by myself working on little details like tacking, gybing and keeping the boat flat. This did ultimately pay off. In the first race, I finished in a strong 18th place, which gave me a lot more confidence going into the rest of the competition. The second race, to my surprise, was even better. I crossed the line in 16th place but I never would have imagined the position I finished in the last race. I finished 2nd.
After three races I came off the water buzzing and was 2nd overall. I somehow managed to keep this up through the rest of the regatta with mainly top finishes [including a first].
That winter I moved into the RS Feva with Tilda Brayshay and we had a blast together. We competed in several competitions our best being the 2019 RS Feva Nationals in Abersoch. Unfortunately, my sailing the RS Feva was cut short [just 15 months in all] due to Covid-19 and the cancellation of the 2020 Worlds in Germany. This was supposed to be our last competition together before I moved back into a single-handed boat.
Following the cancellation of the RS Feva World Championships, we bought an RS Aero and it made such a good transition from the Feva. It’s a light boat so is so much easier to pull up the slipway but is also fairly simple and straight forward. There are not overly fancy setups and is also a really comfortable boat. Since the club has reopened, I’ve really enjoyed being out on the water and thoroughly enjoyed the time spent in the Aero. It has also been a great boat for Mum and Dad to sail. Dad has sailed the RS Aero 7 whilst mum has regularly used the RS Aero 5, like me. It’s a great boat that we all enjoy and isn’t too complicated.
We managed to trade in the RS Feva for a RS Aero and purchase a new Laser from Duncan at Sailing Fast.
I am focusing on the Laser and hope to get at least one regatta in this year to see how I go against the best.
Sadly, the RS Feva Sailing has been cancelled for 2020 and this is the end of BT sailing for now! 🙁
That means bye bye to our Tilda Brayshay, the fastest spinnaker hoist in the RS Feva International fleet. 🙁
Which boat next
What is my current sailing pathway?
I am currently looking at moving into the Laser Radial rig, despite my height, as I strongly believe that this presently has better competition than that of the Aero. I am leaning towards the single-handed side of sailing due to feeling more comfortable in not only the way it sails - such as stability- but also the comfort in the boat handling. Personally, I feel that I have a greater understanding of the science behind single-handed sailing more so than I do of a double-handed boat such as the 29er. As a result of a higher understanding, it aids me in the overall boat set up, ultimately making me feel more complacent within the single-handed boat. Considering all these factors, I believe that I would be better suited for the Laser than a 29er. Furthermore, this would benefit me in becoming a stronger sailor, physically and tactically, aiding me in competition.
As to why I am drawn more towards the Laser than the Aero, there are three significant factors. One main factor is to do with competition. In my personal opinion, I speculate that the Laser has a higher standard of sailing compared to that of the Aero due to it being an older, more known boat as well as the fact that it has a larger fleet, by far!
Another key factor is also related to the competition but in a very different way. I believe that having separate youth events is huge to the development of sailors as we all have a steeper learning curve and watching the mistake of others, that are similar to my own but also very different, will draw more attention to the small things that would make a massive difference to the race once they are corrected. Additionally, I would also be able to replicate other, stronger sailors until I find my own technique.
Lastly, the laser is a physically demanding boat and would be a more challenging boat to sail, which personally I feel that I would learn a lot the logistics of a boat as well as my ability to control, especially in stronger wind conditions. I also believe that this would help me develop my technique as I learn where the gaps lay.
Albeit, given the opportunity to sail a 29er, I would definitely take the offer as this would provide an understanding of what the boat is like to sail and how to rig one up for the conditions. The class also contains a number of great sailors. The reason I am hesitant to verbalise that I want to sail the laser is due to my lack of experience, and knowledge, of the double-handed rig set up. Similarly, I am not as confident with the effect that each control has on the rig, in terms of the jib. On top of this, I lack a huge amount of confidence in the double-handed boat, notably on the downwind. However, to turn down a chance to sail a boat like this would be laughable as they are such intricate boat and it is apparent that I would be able to learn a substantial amount from the boat that could also be taken elsewhere if required or possible.
The Laser Radial was originally designed in 1969 by Bruce Kirby and made its debut in the Olympics in 1996, however, was only introduced to the women in 2008. The hull has a mass of approximately 59kg, making a very heavy boat, the recommended weight for the crew is 55kg - 72kg, placing me at the bottom end of the weight spectrum. It contains three different sails, the 4.7, radial and standard. The bottom sections vary on the size of the sail. It is an Olympic class boat and also very also popular.
The laser's hull is made out of Glass Reinforced Plastics . The heavy, rounded shape of the bow makes it exceptionally easy to stall in the wavier conditions. Due to the Glass reinforced plastic hull, it is an immensely strong boat but also really heavy. It has a maximum recorded speed of 16.8 knots. A nearly new, well-maintained laser can coat anywhere between £1,000-£6,000 making it reasonably well priced. The control set up within the boat is tidy and easily adjustable, which is great when sailing in the heavier winds as it minimalises time inside the boat reaching for controls. The large deck on the hull provides a lot of support when hiking as there is a large contact area with the hull.
Even though the boat contains a large number of positives, a massive downfall is my height, but then you could say I’m too small for many single-handed boats. Like all boats, the laser will be very expensive to maintain especially if changing the sail on the boat due to having purchase a new bottom section. The Laser is a tippy boat due to the shape of the hull and especially so downwind. The rudder is very small and doesn’t contribute a huge amount to the steering of the boat so a lot of this will need to be done through the heel.
The RS Aero
The Aero is a relatively new boat, being designed in only 2014 by Jo Richards. The RS Aero lost an attempt to become the new Olympic boat to the Laser. It is designed for anyone between 35kg and 95kg putting me roughly ⅓ of the way up the spectrum. Like the Laser, it has three potential sails: the 5, 7 and 9. The RS Aero weighs approximately the same as an Optimist at only 30kg. The RS Aero hull is made from Fibreglass so is a really strong but light hull.
I have seen many comments on the ‘Yachts and Yachting’ page stating that smaller people find the RS Aero a more comfortable boat to sail due to the shape of the hull, and closely replicates previously sailed boats. However, people also stated that they prefered the Flat decked Laser and found it less cramped. The RS Aero is probably better suited for my height and weight but I strongly believe that I would benefit more from the Laser.
A positive of the RS Aero is that it’s a light boat and would be relatively easy for me to handle. The Rs Aero is a really fast boat with a recorded max speed of 23.8 knots, presumingly making it a thrilling boat to sail. The shape of the hull is similar to that of boats I have previously sailed so will require adjustments to the way I hike. The set up is also very trim it has cleats on both sides of the deck allowing easy access. The RS Aero has a very good trade-in for any RS boats. Due to the fleet being of all ages, you get a wide range of abilities so there will always be a range of competition. Due to it being an upcoming boat, the fleet will slowly begin to increase in size and difficulty, gradually making it a more competitive fleet.
The RS Aero is a very dear boat costing around £11,000-£12,000. This may assumingly make this a costly boat to maintain and block (etc) need to be replaced. The fleet for the Rs Aero is fairly small and may not hold that much competition. Many people have noticed how dangerously effective the RS Aero kicker is and too much can lose you a large amount of power and stall out the boat. This is because the Aero doesn’t have much of a roach and can also cause over-flattening which seems to be negative within the boat.
The 29er is a two-person high-performance sailing skiff designed by Julian Bethwaite and first produced in 1998. Derived from the Olympic class 49er class, it is raced in the ISAF Youth Sailing World Championships . The 29er is able to reach high speeds fairly quickly by having a sleek and hydrodynamic hull and will often exceed the wind speed when planing both up and downwind . The 29er will hold a range of great opportunities and will be highly entertaining as the boat can easily get up on the plane and ‘take-off.’ It will be a completely different boat to sail in comparison to other boats that I’ve previously sailed so will prove a challenge at the beginning but would expand my knowledge of physics behind boats immensely.
A problem that may arise around the 29er is finding a tall and strong enough crew that it local. The boat is also very dear and will constantly need sail replacements as they begin to become worn and strained, which in itself will be costly. I think that sailing the 29er would take a reasonably long time to get used to sailing as the crew takes the main sheet upwind and is more tippy than the Feva. Due to the lack of local training and sailors at the club, I believe that this would make improvement in the boat much harder as there is no one to compare to.
3 Sails and race-ready kicker, downhaul, outhaul and mainsheet blocks.
One careful lady owner
Excellent, well-maintained Tera used 4 times since August 2018, always dry stored inside.
2nd overall RS Tera worlds 2018
1st ladies title RS Tera Worlds 2018
2nd RS Tera Nationals 2019
New mast bottom section 2018 with very little use.
3 sails: Two Pro sails & one sport sail. All sails rolled.
New sail used for 4 days in light conditions at RS Tera Nationals 2019.
2nd Pro sail still in good condition as per worlds 2018.
One sport sail and battens in very good condition.
Hull in very good condition with one small dent in the side (dent from new).
Top Cover: Bespoke Poly cotton breathable, will not fade.
Trolley original collapsible aluminium
Dual Centerboard and Rudder bag: Bespoke with extra padding.
Regulation length floating painter.
Upgraded toe straps (more padding and wider).
Spares: Centre Board (leaks), Mast bottom section.
RS Feva sailing this year will be restricted to Sunday club racing at YDSC, as I focus on my GCSEs this summer.
Our focus for competition will be on the RS Feva World Championships taking place (21/07/2020 - 25/07/2020) in Travemunde, Germany.
Tilda has a very busy season with the Tera and Feva but for the next two weekends is focusing on her dancing with a performance at Harrogate convention centre. Other than her national squad weekends, spring champs in Feva and Tera, Tilda will be taking on the Nationals in Torbay and the RS Tera Europeans also in Travemude just before the RS Feva Worlds.
Bad Tactics Sailing has a massive training schedule in the Feva after GCSE’s being written up by my Dad that will involve 3 weeks in a row of hard training, 2 weeks off then another weekend on prior to Tilda shipping out to Germany.
RS feva winter training at Draycote Water Sailing Club Lots of wind and very cold but they all worked so hard - so dedicated. Was dark when we came off the water today. The sailors made this video with the help of a stolen @British Sailing Team voice over! Millie Irish did the hard work of editing to get this video to you!
St Aidan's CE High School girl Beth Miller was the first-placed girl and an impressive second overall at the RS Tera Pro World Championships at RS Games in Weymouth Portland, sailing in the 66-strong RS Tera Pro fleet for older juniors in the class, likewise having to contend with some strong breezes. Over five days and 12 races, Beth's results included a race win and two seconds, plus a consistent set of top 10 finishes to secure the girls' title by a clear margin.