Supernova nationals

Supernova Championships - 6th-8th July, 2018

Nigel Davis and Shaun Smale campaign the Supernova Nationals

Our two Welly heroes drove all the way to the Plas Heli Welsh National Sailing Academy at Pwllheli, in north-west Wales, to take part in the Supernova Nationals, the weekend of 6, 7 and 8 July. Temperatures were in the high 20s, the wind was light, and well over 100 boats fought it out on the sea.

Afterwards Shaun emailed: “ Val some news for you: Nigel was 5th in the Bronze fleet, I had a disastrous event. I have my excuses all prepared :-) “

• he came 92nd overall, so not last then!

• For a full details, click here: https://www.yachtsandyachting.com/news/207506/Supernova-National-Championships


When asked: “So where does everyone stay?”, Shaun volunteered this first-hand report and pics:

“Booked accommodation for my parents at Pwllhelli, Wales. 3rd floor, shared bathroom on the first. Sleeps 6 - double bunk and double bed fills the room. Not too bad for £44 a night. Heavy Metal Music Bar downstairs serving to 3am on Saturday night. Bin men around at 5.30am. Guys came to paint the building on Sunday morning. The owner is a nuclear physicist who decommissioned the local power station. No need to turn lights on at night - cupboard would glow."

Shaun explains why he came nearly last

"The Supernova Nationals have a Buddy System. Each gold fleet member is allocated a number of entrants in a buddy system. My gold fleet member was next to me at the boat park. We got talking and he said he had borrowed the boat and had never sailed a Supernova before. I gave him some tips – throw it through the tack as it likes to stick in irons and it won’t point as high as a Laser unless you get the boat speed up first. He thanked me and off we went. I fought my way to the back on the upwind legs, and slowly slipped forward on the downwind legs, playing the waves. I asked him how he got on, on his first day in a Supernova, ‘Good’, he said. ‘2nd overall’!!!! It turned out he is some sort of LASER CHAMPION. After that I asked him for tips! It did not help, my upwind speed was so bad that when the wind dropped I could not make the windward mark because my headway did not match the tide. Eventually the wind filled in by which time I was half a leg behind (we are talking 4-5 lengths of Stanborough). On the downwind I made up 20 places. Cut in on a starboard tack, but then lost it on the reach to the finish line as I could not make the line without a port tack across the fleet and they all fetched it, coming in last! Never been a problem in past nationals as it has always been much too windy and I usually end up near the middle of the fleet. This time I was at the back. Did some research and measured the sail, draft nearly 60%, no wonder it was OK downwind and so bad upwind. Can’t justify a new sail so looking at tapered battens to put some life back in the sail."

For all techie sailors out there, here’s the interesting explanation: http://www.supernovadinghy.org/files/uploads/Technical/performance

Supernova Nationals 2015

WGCSC was represented by Shaun Smale at the Supernova Nationals and he reports here on his experience and his very creditable progress throughout the weekend.

Shaun writes:..

I had a great time at Paignton last weekend for the the Supernova Nationals. Not sure the old bones would survive - it was kill or cure! The boats were on the green in front of my B&B and we were able get straight on to the beach from there. Weather was great.

Now to the sailing. A mixed result coming 17th in the Masters and 46th out of 67 overall. Best places 17th and 21st.


The course was new to me. The only info was I3 or O2 where I or O denote if it was a trapezoid with an inner outer windward loop. The number is the number of windward legs (not loops)

First race had an on-shore wind and I had no idea where the windward mark was; and don’t say windward. The second windward mark was even harder to find. I struggled to get speed on the start line without running parallel to it. I made up some place and was in the 40s on the first rounding, but valiantly fought my way to the back to come 60th. The next 2 races I improved to 52nd and 55th. Conclusion I went the very long way round.

That night was boat turning, last year's champion had me move the mast step forward and and rake the mast back 20cm!! did it help? Lot of weather helm, other wise difficult to tell and the mast is raked on the run any way.

The wind changed to off-shore and I tried to a new tactic for the second day. Straight on to port and clear air, pinch and tacking Stanborough style with the shore line as a visual for the lift etc. Much better. The wind built for the last race and I was in the top 10 heading for the windward mark. Unfortunately I was the only boat on the port side of the course and got flattened 3 time in a row as a 25mph gust blew though. The gust had died down by the time it reach the others and they got a big lift to the mark nocking me back 20 place to finish 41st. I was also pushed close the windward mark and hit it in this race. It is much easer if you can dump the main and the boom swings over the mark! I think I was in the right but I did my turns any way.

Last day, strong off-shore breeze, tactics sorted. Ducked through the fleet on a fast port tack on the start into clear air and had the port side of the course to myself. Approaching the first windward mark in 2nd place but not enough over lap to tack in front of the 3rd boat, who made me over-stand the mark. I don’t do that sort of tactics I was just happy to be there. Anyway 3rd around the mark. Lost places on the runs, 4 in the last few yard before the finish coming in at 17th. I also hit the mark and drop the tiller on a near death roll, adding two 360s in the mix. Must learn how to do waves next year.

Next race was a discard or disgrace depending on how you look at it. I missed the start by nearly 3 mins! It is very hard to get any speed and point toward the line after 67 boats have stirred up the air.

Happy with the last race. Forced to stay on the starboard tack off the line I could not clear the pack. However it was very windy and so most were starting the easy their mainsheet, but I was able to keep the power on the beats and made a lot of places, even past the last years champion!. Still loosing most place on the runs, to come in 21st.

Looking forward to next year and the 20th anniversary of the Supernova association.

There was a drone camera but I have not see any picture yet.

Shaun