Mark Twain once said that a lie will go twice round the world while the truth is tying up its shoe laces. He knew a thing or two and he didn't even have broadband. I mention this because the good old public DWSC forum is about to be locked, presumably to encourage us to use the new private members-only forum. Personally I've always preferred to make a fool of myself to as large an audience as possible, so I'll be staying on the outside. Anyone who thinks that opinions can be hidden away behind closed doors when we have so much choice of media is deluding themselves - the words just move from somewhere that the club can observe and respond to, to elsewhere where the club doesn't know what's being said and no response is possible. A bad idea IMHO.
On the positive side the water level is rising pretty quickly now, probably summat to do with all the rain we've been having (duh!). It should continue to rise if the forecast for the coming week holds true.
Back at the sailing, the weather was cold, F3, onshore, some sunshine. Poorly Paul was elsewhere, so I inherited Quentin from JT who was feeling a bit under the weather. As I was still in my kitchen 1 hour before the start of the race, and then had to wait for Quentin to turn up when I arrived at the club, starting on time was always going to be a bit of a challenge. And so it came to pass that we arrived at the start line some time after the Freds had started, to find Colin/Karen waiting for us. I figured we'd have to wait some more to pick up Bob/Richard, so we pootled around until Colin pointed out that Bob had already gone and was now at the top of the beat. So we set off in hot pursuit, had a good old ding-dong battle with Colin/Karen all the way round, and ended up just behind them at the finish. Bob was already on the shore by now, well, fair play, he is sailing 25 year old boat, probably needs the points.
A spot of lunch, and then off to the start-line again, this time arriving before the start of the race. We made a decent enough start for a boat with no functioning timepiece, and made our way up the beat in close competition with Bob/Richard and Colin/Karen. Jane/Pat were out there somewhere too, but we didn't see much of them. At the top of the beat, it was Bob/Richard in the lead, with us and Colin/Karen pretty much neck and neck. And so it remained for the next two and a half laps, with various changes of 2nd and 3rd place while Bob built up a huge lead - at one point it was huge - we were at 'T' while they were getting their kite down at 'M'.
We had a lot of trouble getting past Colin/Karen. Usually I just pull a bit of a blinder up the favoured side of the beat and emerge far enough ahead at the windward mark that we can break free with the huge kite on the reach. This didn't work at all - my fabulous windshift picking skills were going flat out but Colin just kept on reappearing from under the jib, still slightly ahead of us in spite of going the other way. And on the offwind legs it appeared that they'd got their own huge kite which was more effective than mine, what with mine being on top of the wardrobe at home - the one in the boat being a more standard cut.
Coming round 'K' for the last time we were right up on Colin's transom, so he luffed up hard after rounding the mark (as you do) and we carried a bit more speed and punched through beneath them. Unusually, we kept the speed and managed to come out ahead as we both sailed up the wall before tacking off for 'P'. After tacking, Bob/Richard were a lot closer, maybe only 30 secs ahead. So we rode the wind-bend up to 'P' and rounded just behind them. Then a bit of a wineglass problem with the kite lost us a bit of ground, so they were clear ahead again when we gybed at 'T' for the final leg to OL.
A nice big lump of wind filling in from behind got us planing and converted the leg into one of those momentarily perfect items where you can just about carry the kite at the expense of the occasional leeward-gunwale-under-water moment while the boat is picking up speed This ended up with us haring towards Bob's transom at about Mach 5 while Bob had to contend with the conflicting requirements of sailing towards OL while stopping us going past and responding to the gust as it landed on his boat. It was all very exciting, but we were a little too close to OL to mount a serious challenge. We managed to get alongside, but Bob ended up crossing the line with his bow about 2 ft ahead of ours, big smiles all round and an excellent finish to a great race. More points for Bob/Richard in the 25 year old boat, and thoroughly well deserved.