Yes folks, it's another of those posts where I tell you how much fun we had today, if you don't like hearing about it then I suggest you stop reading now.
So this was week somethingorother of the Winter Super Series, and Martyn was away so there were 2 lovely first places up for grabs. Although Pete says he beat Martyn a couple of weeks ago, so it's clearly not impossible to win when he's around, just very difficult.
Pre-race preparations, and I came prepared to change the jib halyard (which bears all the rig tension, remember) as it had been breaking up, one strand at a time for the past 6 weeks. I spent most of those weeks saying how there were still plenty of strands left and it would last a bit longer, but my policy of reducing the rig tension to eke out a few more weeks was messing with my pre-bend, and the twanging of breaking wire was messing with my head, so now was the time to replace it. I came equipped with the jib halyard off my old mast, which is a bit ancient, but it looks OK so what the hell. Arrived late, but it took a mere 15 mins of coaxing to get the old one off and the new one on, and then ho for the changing rooms to find that I had left most of my winter stuff at home. Back to boat (rigged by crew), launched just as the 6 min gun went, left watch in changing rooms, hit line about 45 secs early, went for port end, got luffed and shouted at by fleet capt Helen so tacked off and went for the starboard end as being probably a better bet for those of us with no watch. Gun went, Helen was called as OCS, we tacked onto starboard laughing like drains and off we went.
First beat wasn't great, lots of shifty stuff, we went right but it was pretty clear that left was the best idea when cap'n Bob zoomed round the windward mark (D) in first place with most of the rest of the fleet hot on his heels. Quick reach down to 'X' (I think) and another beat up to 'E'. We took a few places back and were following Pete who was in 2nd place, both of us on port tack and us to windward. Then Pete decided to tack and then decided not to after all (apparently in case he collided with us, which did seem kinda likely at the time). So he slowed down a lot as a result and then sailed on into a patch of no wind. We tacked off, caught a lovely gust and were in 2nd place around 'E', leaving Pete back in about 5th place. Then a nice reach over to 'H', gybe and down to 'T' and then 'J'. We got in front of Bob somewhere along the way and were in the lead in a small way by the time we rounded 'OL' for the start of the next lap.
Then it all went a bit pear shaped. We decided to go left, but Bob was trucking over the top of us, pointing about 10 degrees higher and going just as fast. And Pete went right, so we decided to go right to cover him, cos if you let Pete go off by himself upwind you end up looking at his transom. So we went right and got a lovely lift which put us in the pound seats for 'E'. Meanwhile the rest of the fleet went left, which looked OK if you wanted to go to 'D', but we were going to 'E', so that was fine. Then Paul pointed out that we were, in fact, going to 'D'. Hmm, that wasn't a good moment. By the time we got to 'D', Bob was over the horizon and both Pete and Colin were ahead of us. So we did our best for the next few legs, and ended up ahead of Colin and just behind Pete as we went round J. Noticing the flag was up we left the kite up for a 3 sail reach to the leeward (shore) end of the line (onshore wind), whereas Pete took his kite down for a 2 sail reach to the windward end of the line. If taking the kite down was a big mistake, then not sitting squarely on our wind made it worse. Pete had a bit more wind and a shorter distance to travel, but we still got across the line first. Well 2nd really as Bob was finished and ashore by this time, but in front of Pete anyway.
Came ashore, big smile on our faces, that was an excellent race.
So PM then, and we turned up far too early for this one and I got cold while hanging about. Watch still in changing room, but we had a decent start and ended up in 3rd place at the windward mark, with Colin in the lead, Bob 2nd and Pete and JT not too far behind us. On the reach down to 'T' we pulled Bob in a bit and were threatened by Pete. Then a beat to 'S' which didn't change anything too much, then up with the kites again for a close reach to 'H'. This one was pretty good on account of it being fairly close and fairly windy, we ended up dumping handfuls of mainsheet and going quite fast. Bob went low, so we steamed over the top and took 2nd place, only got to catch Colin now.
By the time we'd done the broad reach to 'J' we were a bit closer, but Colin kept his kite up after J and we took ours down on the basis that it would be too close to fly it to OL. But when we got to OL, it was apparent that Colin was going to 'K'. Poorly Paul was convinced that 'K' wasn't in the course, so we nipped round OL and started up the next beat, while the rest of the fleet trotted off to 'K' and sniggered. I guess my brain had frozen over, as by the time I worked out that we were wrong, it was too late to do much about it. So rather than sail round by ourselves for no result, we sadly had to retire.
Out there in the race where people who had brains were still going round, Bob caught up with Colin and then lost out to to him again. Then Pete caught Colin and then lost out again. Net result, Colin (crewed by Karen) won the race.
So in conclusion a great time was had by all, and if I had a brain I'd do a lot better