The sun broke through the clouds as the teams headed onto the water at Ullswater Yacht Club for the first day of the British Keelboat League. With the racecourse set directly in front of the club house, it provided a perfect stadium atmosphere for the event.

Ullswater lived up to its notoriously gusty and shifty reputation which provided great entertainment for the spectators in the club house and close fought racing. The RS21s were often rounding the marks within seconds of each other and place changes were constant. As the fleet sailed into the darker, windier patches of water, the crews got the boats moving to maintain momentum through the next shift, and lull, and shift.

Boat handling proved to be challenging in the shifty conditions however, race two saw Ullswater Yacht Club 2 and Newcastle University Alumni engaging in an intense tacking battle up the far shore.

Jack Fenwick, skipper of the Horizons Childrens Sailing Charity, highlighted the importance of taking your time during manoeuvres. “Its been a steep learning curve for us. We have been quite successful at the leeward mark roundings. We have been taking our time, planning and preparing. We are getting better exits to the mark which is important”.

Rob Richardson from Royal Windemere Yacht Club and his team found that “with the racing being so tight it was so important to stay out of trouble. Get off the line with speed is the key”

This is the one of the first times most crews have stepped foot in an RS21. With new crew combinations and a new boat, Chris Mulholland explained “my top tip would be to make sure there is lots of communication. There are four of us on the boat and lots of lines on the boat. Everyone needs to know exactly what to pull when and then you’re off!”

As the sailors came off the taxi RIB winner of the day, Jono Shelley explained “the RS21 is perfect for this concept of close racing. I love asymmetric spinnaker sailing and I love the boat!”

With slightly less wind forecasted for tomorrow Nicola Abbatt from Ullswater Team 1 said “I loved that final race. We really pulled it all together and it was so enjoyable! I can’t wait for tomorrow!”. Jon Abbatt agreed, “Tomorrow we will make sure not to panic. Anything can happen so don’t give up until the end!”

As one of the home teams lead the way in the overall standing so far, both Royal Windermere Yacht Club and the Royal Thames Yacht Club are in hot pursuit. Click here to view the standings so far.

With points tight moving into day two it is all to play tomorrow! Follow the racing tomorrow on The British Keelboat League Facebook and Instagram. #rockupandrace