So today was the first Sunday in months that there's been any significant wind, and it also happened to be the first day in months that it has rained. Copiously. Plus it wasn't exactly warm, so I think Paul was a bit surprised when I suggested that we go for a sail.
With a gusty onshore wind and the rain, rigging the boat was no fun at all, and to make it worse we managed to break the main halyard while hoisting the sail. In consequence we ended up rolling the boat over and tying it up with string, only not really quite as high as it should have been. Piddling about in the wind and the rain was making me feel cold, and there were a few moments when I wondered what the hell I was doing out here.
Then ho for the start line, where it occurred to me that we probably shouldn't have the rig at 22'8", but too late now. We joined a surprisingly large number of boats at the start line - the other 2 Fireballs (poor turnout as Helen, Paul and Pete were all on OD duty), maybe 5 Solos, 2 Freds, 5 Lasers, an RS300 and a Supernova if memory serves. And off we went, with the wind picking up nicely and the driving rain camouflaged by the spray from the bow-wave. A the top of the beat (P) we had a bit of a lead and the next leg looked vaguely kite-able, so we went high and chucked it up and had a very nice reach across to A. Then a bit of a biassed beat to B, followed by a reach to OL and J, and the end of the lap.
We seemed to have a bit of a lead by this time so we hung about for Colin/Karen and JT/Nick, and then set off up the beat again. Sadly the potential for competition faded a little as Nick promptly did a swallow dive into JT's best mainsail, so they retired.
Up at P we were a little behind Colin/Karen and with a slighly broader reach this time both of us flew the kites and had a very exciting leg to A which left us still pretty much neck and neck at the end of it. A lap later we had changed places a couple of times and were just behind, so again flew the kite on the leg to A, but it was closer now than before and by the time we'd got it set we were in danger of sailing over the side-deck of Colin's boat. No particular gains there either, and we rounded A and B just behind them. Fearing that this might be the last leg we went aggressive, pushing up above the lay line, trying to sit on their wind and coming in to OL sailing by the lee. Had this been the last lap it would all have been for nought, as they beat us across the line. But it wasn't, and we had forced enough confusion in the other boat that we were able to take the lead. Back at B we were still leading by a decent margin, so only needed to get the kite up and hoon across to OL to win the race. Whereupon the kite promptly jammed halfway up, went under the boat and rapidly became a hopeless case. We collected it up and did our best to get to OL as quickly as possible, but Colin and Karen zoomed past and crossed the line ahead of us.
There's no particular reason why there should be a moral to this story, but if there is one then I guess it is that you should hang on in there, cos the other boat might just self-destruct for long enough that you can overtake 'em.
Then ashore, lay the boat over, untie knots, dismantle stuff, and at the end of it it was still raining and I was still toasty warm from all the exercise of the previous hour or so.
Yeah, pretty good!