As crazily apocalyptic as 2020 was, it wouldn't be fair to say that there weren't any upsides to the somewhat repetitive stay at home directives. Although we couldn't sail - and that really was a blow for all of us - Bartley continued on, with weekly VR races getting rather competitive (thanks Megs and Mills!) for those who could actually wake up on time! When the club was finally able to open up again, the exercise routes - although not races - were great fun too. It was also the year in which I finally moved up from a topper, and started learning the ways of being a laser sailor and received lots and lots of helpful advice from the gang; the most infamous being, 'Don't be sorry just be better' from the one and only Harrison, and of course, 'That sounds like a you problem' from our very frank Josh. I have to admit, I tend to follow Megan's advice the most!
Just as it seemed that races were going to be replaced by exercise courses forever, towards the end of September my first Youth UKLA training weekend hit Bartley with a bang ( and lots and lots and lots of wind!), in which lots of us youth were tested on our gust responses. The main highlight of the weekend obviously being the competition for most capsizes, with the winner (Josh) owning up to at least 14, yet I'd be willing to bet my second place that there were more!
Then, as November came, yet another lockdown arrived, and a cold Saturday night brought The Great Bartley Sailing Quiz, with Quizmaster Megs a.k.a "The MEG", bringing us five tough rounds to battle through. The teams captained by Sean and Freya (Sinking Feeling and Attack of the Clones) came first and second respectively. Kezza and I managed to scrape fifth place, slightly hindered by confusing the general recall flag with the IKEA one!
Then, sooner than we knew it, we were back on the water just in time for another Laser training weekend which was significantly less windy, and eventually resulted in us hard working sailors receiving a long tow back to shore, although Josh and Harrison did return with slightly elongated arms - their own faults for not rigging a painter! Then, over the holiday, we benefited from some chilling morning sails, a favourite of mine including a capsize and a loss of a centreboard (sorry about that OOD Simon) on Boxing Day no less, not to mention a slightly traumatic snowball fight with Tom and Freya on New Years Eve Eve and the repercussions for Tom and I when Freya remembered she could throw pretty well.
And then suddenly it was the New Year, and 2021 has arrived - off to a brilliant start wouldn't you say?! In short, 2020 was a challenging year for everyone, and my thoughts are with those who have lost a lot, but I am very grateful for my friends, the things I have been lucky enough to learn, and Bartley, and its members, for being an incredibly lovely environment, even throughout the worst year that ever was.