The Delta Lloyd Regatta was one of those regattas where you can wear the entire contents of your sailing bag on the water and still be freezing cold!
Last year the weather for Delta Lloyd Regatta was fantastic and I think that’s lulled us into a false sense of security because in the back of my mind I’m sure I thought I was going to spend the whole of this week in shorts! But this year we had everything! Driving, freezing rain, hail, mad chop, big clouds, big gusts, we were just waiting for the snow! Is it really May??
The first couple of days of the regatta always reminded me why water and electrics don’t mix. If you need an electric pump anywhere it’s Medemblik.
Because the water is so shallow there the chop is steep anyway. But throw in the weather we had and the bow’s disappearing into the waves and you’re faced with a wall of water at every wave, with a massive amount of water coming into the boat. I was constantly hand bailing the water out of the boat while still trying to steer and race. Exhausting!
Portland Harbour can get choppy but you can normally steer around the waves, but this was relentless. Yes, you can really do with your electric pump playing ball in Medemblik!
All things considering I was actually been pretty pleased with the way I sailed and my second place finish as it’s absolutely been the most testing conditions I’ve faced since returning to the 2.4mR. Some of its just been wacky races with 10 knots of breeze suddenly turning off completely and leaving you bobbing around in the middle of the racecourse, followed by a 15 knot gust from nowhere.
I came to Medemblik after a few days at home just sorting admin out, getting on top of logistics for forthcoming events and packing up for Holland. After Hyeres Regatta I did an SB20 Grand Prix event, also in Hyeres, with Team Vovo’s Lucy Macgregor, Ali Young and Richard Mason, which I absolutely loved. It was a great bunch of people and once we got used to the boat we were sailing really well by the end of the regatta. It was exactly what I hoped it would be.
The plan is to also do the SB20 Nationals in Falmouth in July. Because of everyone’s Olympic campaign commitments we will have to change the crew a bit. I think I know who two spots are going to but the third place is currently up for grabs. At the moment my husband, Steve, could find himself recruited. He normally helms so it would be a change for him to have me at the back of the boat while he pulls some ropes. We have sailed his Projection 762 Sportsboat together, and that’s not too different to the SB20, so I’m sure we would be fine!
Everything’s been put into perspective with Andrew Simpson passing away. It’s completely devastating and still hasn’t sunk in. I keep expecting him to walk into the gym. I came up through the system with Bart, I’ve known him for years, and he’s always just been there. That’s the hardest thing and I’ll miss that. He was always so interested in what I was doing in my campaign, so keen to be involved and was such a big part of the team. He and Iain Percy were such ambassadors for sailing and yet to them they were just doing what they loved.
This is the first time the team’s been together since Bart died and you can really sense how it’s pulled everyone together even more than we were already. Sparky [Olympic Manager] said a few words at the start of the regatta and it really makes you realise the little issues you have really aren’t that big a deal.
Bart was such a good sailor and the way he was prepared to bide his time for his opportunity, always happy to help Iain and Ben (Ainslie) with their Olympic campaigns and win their medals, before winning his own gold with his best mate in Beijing, just summed him up. That moment in Beijing was so special for the whole team and it’s such a loss.
After Medemblik it is back to the UK for the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace next Thursday then we have Bart’s memorial service in Dorset on Friday before the J.P. Morgan Asset Management Round the Island Race on Saturday. The next racing event is the Sail for Gold Regatta in the second week of June. This time of year always keeps you busy; it’s why we do it.