Sunday, 27 February 2011

27 Feb 2011

OK, the morning was a bit sucky, but the forecast did say we'd get less wind while the rain came through, then more wind in the afternoon. So we had a nice tactical race (where I hit lots of buoys) in the persistent drizzle in the morning, followed by something a bit more exciting in the afternoon. I can't speak for anyone else, but IMHO the beat to 'C' was well tricky and the reach across from 'M' to 'J' was bloody fabulous, particularly the lap when we had the kites up and were playing a game of let's-see-who-can-avoid-capsizing-the-best with Colin & Karen. And a pretty good turnout of 10(?) boats, although it would have been better still if we'd had Bob, Badders, Peter, Gordon, Iain etc. The latter last sighted trying to de-rig a 12ft skiff whilst capsized up by 'B', doh! 

While I think about it, that PM race was really good for a few more reasons.

Martyn gave us a bit of a headstart by virtue of still being on the shore when the 3 minute gun went, so various other people had a go at the front of the fleet :-)

That beat really was a tricky one - I was last round the windward mark on the first lap (exc Martyn).

Mo and Holly recovered from their dire first race result to lead the fleet round the entire first lap, with Pete and Serena 2nd. And they might have stayed that way if it hadn't got a bit windier and if they'd both tacked immediately at J instead of standing on on port. And you had to do that because...

Mark 'N' was pointless and very easy to overstand from 'J', and fed us straight into the W/L gate. Can I just mention to any ODs out there that if you have something that looks like a beat leading to a mark that is at the bottom of something else that looks like a beat, for gods sake just leave the 2nd mark out and call the first one the start of the beat. Sticking a buoy in halfway up a beat is really pointless and just serves to stop us going on whichever side of the beat we think is favoured. So J, N, C (in a NW) - NO! Just J, C please.

OK, back at the good stuff, I liked the reach from C to B, which wasn't too close for the kite but was a bit prone to having huge lumps of wind arriving with no notice whatsoever. And apologies to the bloke in the Pico that I frightened near B (and if he wasn't then he should have been). I thought I was going to go upwind of him but the big gust said 'no', so it was either going to be a big bear-away past his transom and a quick wriggle back up round the mark, or death by misadventure all round. We made it with feet to spare, but it certainly put the adrenaline level back up.

Then a nice dead run down to 'M', and a chance to wave at Iain and Simon on the upturned 12ft skiff on 2 out of the 3 laps - they were there a long time. I do like a proper dead run where you can get tactical, prompt luffing matches, gybe away, pick the windy patches etc. We didn't noticeably gain any places down there but it was good fun.

Then round M and off down the reach with the kite up, trying to balance the mad bear-aways with the desire not to end up in the windsurfers' car park. That one was absolutely awesome, even when we stood the boat on its ear and it dug into a wave and most of the lake came into the cockpit. That was the leg where we played chicken with Colin and Karen, which added a further dimension to the excitement as we then had the choice of bear away and maybe run aground or luff up and maybe capsize, or keep aiming for Colin's rudder and hope he doesn't capsize.

Three laps of that and I was knackered.

In a word, excellent!

Monday, 14 February 2011

14 Feb 2011

OK, it was a little too windy for some of the fireball posse, but that didn't stop all assembled turning out and giving it a bash, it just meant that some of them did a bit of swimming occasionally. Coming off the start line in both races we had all 10 or so boats all steaming along together (mostly unable to tack) and all going at pretty much exactly the same speed - so if you managed to end up 10 minutes behind the rest of the fleet, it clearly wasn't your boatspeed to blame. The beats were quite hard work, but the reaches were fabulous (if a little tight for my liking). Just bung the kite up at 'B' and ride the gusts like one long rollercoaster; mainsheet, mainsail and kicker all entirely optional and largely surplus to requirements. You could spot the gusts coming just by looking out for the boat ahead bearing away madly and taking off in a sheet of spray.

Particular highlights of the day were:

  • My new D12 spinnaker halyard working a treat after being literally thrown onto the boat in 20 minutes before the first race.
  • Being first round the windward mark in both races
  • Not capsizing
  • Those 3-sail reaches

Elsewhere, Pete Slack gave us a masterclass in how to get round the course in a F5 with a small lightweight Serena on the wire without capsizing and still going pretty quick. Gordon demonstrated how you could injure your crew without damaging his drysuit, then did a bit of crewing for Paul in the afternoon as a penance. Badders practised capsizing (he doesn't do that very often) and Helen and Paul did a bit of impromptu dredging with the kite. Bob apparently never made it round 'B' without stopping for a quick dip, and even the mighty Tim Rush did a bit of time in the water, although it didn't slow him down enough for my liking. Colin and Karen put in a couple of solid (capsize-free?) performances, and Martyn and Richard zoomed off depressingly quickly as usual. JT was out there too somewhere, but I have no idea what he got up to.

More please