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  • Writer's pictureJake Farren-Price

Autumn Qualifiers 2019

This autumn I had three important weekend events which, if I did well enough, would qualify me for a place in the Melbourne World Championships, which kick off in February 2020. The UKLA Qualifiers each consisted of a weekend of sailing with the aim of 3 races a day over September and October.

The first of the three was up north in Sunderland. After just returning from a Sailcoach training camp in warm and sunny Malta, this was a bit of a shock to the system and I had to break out the 5mm wetsuit! The first day was super shifty and gusty and ultimately a couple silly errors cost me a few positions. Capsizing from a massive header upwind and then being caught out by a gust downwind sending me into the drink was not the start I needed. But after losing concentration for a few months, I made it up and was just on the heels of the British Sailing Team boys, sometimes getting ahead of a few of them.

The second qualifier of the Autumn was in Weymouth, the home of sailing in the UK. We sailed inside the harbour walls both days and while it was a cold 12-18 knots both days, it wasn’t as bitter as Sunderland. My speed in the breeze has really improved lately and I am finding more of a groove with my hiking posture. This means I am sometimes able to match the top guys for pace. The niggles I had at Sunderland had be ironed out and I managed to put together a more solid series finishing up 10th. This was 7th Brit so I was reasonably happy considering all the top guys were there.

Hayling Island hosted the final qualifier. However too much wind on the Saturday meant the whole day was cancelled. The second day brought us very light winds with about 5 knots on average. After the first race, which I finished 6th, the wind completely died off and the RO sent us in. As there was only one race from this qualifier it did not constitute a series so for the qualification had to be based off the Sunderland and Weymouth weekends.

Thankfully I had done enough and received an invitation for the Worlds shortly after Hayling. Next stop, a short training camp in Malta before I head out to Australia to pick a new boat and get used to conditions at Sandringham on Port Philip Bay!

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