Wednesday, 6 April 2011

6 Mar 2011

And remarkably, the optimistic weather forecast came true and the pessimistic one didn't - is that one of the warning signs for forthcoming apocalypse or summat ?

Poorly Paul turned up with a dodgy leg, apparently it was bitten by something while he was playing football, these field games are looking decidedly risky to me, best stick to sailing.

So, race 1, and a goodly number of Fireballs beetled out to the start, including one whose crew had forgotten to put his harness on. No matter, a quick ride back to the clubhouse in the water taxi (aka rescue boat) and all was well again.

The course was a well chosen computer-generated job, with 2 beats, port rounding windward mark and some very acceptable beam reaches and a dead run - perfect for the marginal conditions.

So off we jolly well went, with only me and Helen contesting the favoured port end of the line for some reason. The boat felt good in the marginal planing conditions (even if the crew didn't) and at the top mark we would have been in the lead if yours truly had spotted where it was before going way past the lay line. So we trotted round in third place, took out Peter/Mike on the next beat, so second place, and were just starting the 2nd lap when we encountered a wind bend that lifted us about 20 deg above the lead boat (Martyn of course). So he tacked off, and we carried on going, and then we eventually tacked and were getting lifted 20 deg above him again. Only by now he'd gone a million miles off to the wrong side of the wind-bend, and was waaay behind us. There then followed a drag race to the end of the 3rd lap, with the gap closing all the time, and waddya know, they didn't finish us. Aaaargh! So we sailed another whole lap and the gap kept on coming down, until we finally rounded T and put the kite up for OL and the finish. Martyn came round T about 20 secs behind us and picked up a nice little personal gust, while we sat there with no wind and the crew advising me to go low, no, protect your position, no, GYBE! This last bit was because Martyn's personal wind had gone a bit funny and gybed them, and Paul doesn't like people doing stuff like that when he's hoping to win the race and they are 20yds behind and closing fast. Anyway, the nut on the tiller ignored all this and we eventually sailed across the line to win the race by about 5 seconds. My blood pressure has now returned to normal BTW 

The less said about the PM race the better. The course was something decidedly weird with reaches that were too long and too close, and a broad reach which was deadly dull. And a hooked finish. I could live with all that if I had been going round it at any sort of decent speed, but I had leapt into Gordon's boat, which should be a rocket ship by comparison to mine but which simply didn't go very fast. This may have been my fault of course, but either way it wasn't good. Peter/Mike simply disappeared into the distance, and Martyn/Richard eventually caught us up after starting about 10 minutes late. At least Bob/Paul and JT/Quentin (?) were having a good time, spending the entire race just behind us trading places and cheerfully shouting 'starboard' at each other and luffing each other up. Behind them were 2 other boats also having a good tussle, but I'm not sure who they were. Possibly Helen/Teabag Paul. Pete/Serena had to retire when their rudder pintle converted itself into a gudgeon. Unlucky!

Still, all in all a good days racing, we got a bit of planing action, some good tactical beats and runs, some serious competition and some sunshine!

What more do you want ? 

Sunday, 3 April 2011

3 April 2011 - Not the Firebowl Event

The forecast said 10, maybe 12mph, and the forecast was right. The fleet calendar said it would be day 1 of the Firebowl event, but nobody had read the calendar or reminded me, so that got postponed. Apologies to anyone who came up expecting a special event, but I reckon we all had a pretty good time anyway. Doubtless captain Richard will email us prior to the next one and we'll all be organised.

So, off we go to the start, not much wind, a bit of grumbling from the crew as usual. But the fabulous (Fireball) OD team were a little late getting the line and course sorted, and by the time we eventually started the wind was a bit more interesting and Badders had turned up too.

So beat up to 'B', and early on it looked as though it paid to go up the far shore, but this invariably leads to C, and that's not a nice place. So we bailed out halfway up and went out, found more wind, and ended up first round the mark with Peter/Mike and JT/Graham close behind. Nice 3-sail reach down to 'T', gybe, 3-sail reach to 'X', tack and a short one-sided nasty beat to 'K'. Now given that it's difficult to overtake on short one-sided nasty beats, there is still a lot of confusion in my head as to how we lost the lead there. But we did. Then a run down through OL to 'J', 3-sail reach across to 'E' and start the next lap. As I spent the entire of the rest of the race chasing Peter/Mike (unsuccessfully), I wasn't looking too hard at what everyone else was doing, but when I did look back it looked as though everyone behind us was having a right old ding-dong, with mucho shouting and luffing up and place changing and a few near capsizes too. Perhaps Pete will fill in the details for us...

Anyhoo, that race ended rather too soon, so off for a nice long lunch and a chance to dismantle my 49er trailer.

Then ho for the 2nd race, and the wind had picked up a bit more, fantastic! Badders managed to cross the fleet on port tack on this start, but he got it a bit wrong and passed behind the fleet instead of in front  Peter & Mike were first round the top mark this time, followed by Mo & Holly and then a little pile of boats with us somewhere near the front and Graham & Theresa, Helen & Paul, Badders & JR and everyone else all close behind. The reach was to 'K' this time, which was closer than the morning's reach, but not by much. Mo & Holly zoomed off and went to play with Peter & Mike, while I berated the crew for being too heavy. 'OL', 'J', and then a reach to 'S' followed by a run to 'G'. Mo & Holly caught Peter & Mike, and then took the lead when the latter pair went way past the next mark 'P' in a clear bid for the Pigeon Trophy. Quick run to 'E' and start again.

The next lap was much the same, except that the wind picked up by the time we got to 'G', and we made good use of the fatter crew to overhaul Mo & Holly on the last beat. Although I have to say that it wasn't easy, they point pretty high and go depressingly fast, we had to split tacks and find a personal lift as well in order to get past. But it was good - the boat was bounding upwind like a boundy thing, great fun. Zoom round 'B', whereupon the wind went a bit more Southerly too, making the last reach to 'K' quite interesting.

Then, all sailed out and with due regard for the bit of the calendar that I *had* taken note of, I went home to make the tea.