Sunday, 9 October 2011

9 Oct 2011

Pretty good day yesterday, although the fleet appears to have contracted a bit (along with all the others).

I got stung by a wasp while getting the cover off my boat. The sleepy little beggers are all looking for a place to kip at this time of year and they don't like being disturbed.

At the start of the AM race there were only 2 boats near the line, so we waited for the rest of the fleet to turn up and chose start 6 (the spare one). The Freds did the exactly the same thing, although thankfully it was a long line and they fancied the boat end and we mostly fancied the pin, so there were no nasty crunching noises.

It wasn't particularly windy, so we had a nice running battle with Peter & Mike the whole way round which ended up with them beating us by a small margin - with everyone else somewhere behind.

The wind dropped at lunch time so we pulled the pins out and set off on 22'8". There was a bit of faffing about going on with setting the line down at 'F', and that corner's a bit crowded with islands, boats, shallows etc, so we took ourselves off to the island and had a little walk around on it. It's quite nice, sandy underfoot, no mud, a nice place for a picnic if you should feel the urge.

Anyway, back to the start, but the wind was picking up so we dropped the rig tension and put the pins back in. No sooner had we finished when it went completely mental. Peter & Mike were caught out while doing their mast rake and capsized, the gun went, and I was still trying to work out where the red buoy had got to. I eventually located it way down to leeward, so we sailed back across the line, then close hauled on port just avoiding the committee boat and the RS700 that was drifting towards it on its side (Hi Niall). Then off up the beat, and it was fantastic. The wind was really full-on, but not totally stupid, and we dropped the strut off, banged the cunningham on, and reached up the beat, overtaking Richard on the way. Then round X, 2 sail reach to J, beat to OL and K. Peter & Mike were gaining on us by this time, but managed to capsize at 'K', so we sauntered off down the reach to 'F' (sans kite, just in case), gybe at 'F', broad reach to 'G' and start again.

Everyone else apart from Peter & Mike gave up, so the pair of us sailed around enjoying ourselves, and they hadn't quite caught us up by the end although I reckon 1 more lap would have done it. There were no flat out screaming 3-sail reaches on offer, but the leg from 'K' to 'F' was quite amusing when we got the kite up on all the subsequent laps, particularly when the gusts arrived and you could hurtle towards the boats beating up through the pinch-point near 'F' at about mach 5.

And it was great; the waves were huge great rolling breaking things down at G, the sun came out, the wind was pretty even (no 45 degree shifts), and it was just an excellent sail. The shallows and the islands make the lake smaller, and they make you think harder about where you sail, but really that just highlights how good we have it at Draycote the rest of the time. Most inland sailing venues are smaller when full than Draycote is now, and lots of them have islands and shallows. And when we were down at G yesterday, there was still a huge length of lake (a mile at least) available for the beat if we'd gone up to A. For some reason we were sent to X, probably to avoid Musborough, but having been properly warned about it at lunch-time, I don't think we'd have had any trouble there. In any case, the Fireball catches its centreboard long before its rudder, so when the board starts retracting and making funny graunchy noises, you know it's time to tack or to adopt a more extreme sailing angle (45 degrees is good) to keep the foils from going too deep.

Party on dudes, and I hope to see y'all next week for the Marriott.

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