Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Fleet Captain Ahoy!

Sailing is a great way to spend your birthday, and last Sunday was no exception. There was less wind than we had been led to expect, but still enough to be interesting.

In race 1 we launched when the 3 min gun went, and made a decent start at the favoured (committee boat) end of the line, unlike some of the fleet who were still sailing towards the start-line, and others who were sailing away from it !

It was a good course, taken from the computer and slightly tweaked. We went right on the beat and crawled up the wall to H, clearly to good effect as we were first round. Behind us were Peter & Mike, Bob & Paul and Badders & JR, with everyone else a bit further behind. Up with the kite then and a very nice 3-sail reach to D, gybe, and a broad reach to M which turned into a run by the time we'd gone high to protect our air. Then a beat to P followed by another decent 3-sail reach to J, then down through OL to K and start again.

Somewhere behind us Badders & JR had overtaken Peter & Mike, but we'd got ourselves a very decent lead, which we extended with another good beat to H. Bob & Paul were still in the mix too, hanging on grimly to 3rd or 4th place, not bad for a 25 year old boat.

Then the long close reach to D, where we had next to no wind at all and everybody else came hooning down with a gust which they apparently picked up at H and carried them all the way along. So we started that leg with about a minute's lead and ended it with about 10 seconds on Badders & JR, with Peter & Mike close behind them.

So we plodded down the run exchanging banter with Badders, whilst Peter & Mike gybed off and found a very nice little patch of wind that brought them level with the pair of us. Thankfully it died off before they could zoom past us, but when we rounded M we were all three boats in line astern with about 10 secs covering the lot.

I observed that boat further up the beat and to our right were lifting well on port tack, so we stayed on port and headed in their general direction, while Badders enjoyed his own personal special lift which threatened to allow him to sail straight over the top of us. Peter & Mike put in a couple of tacks to preserve their clear air, but then went very slowly and never looked like much of a threat. But we'd have lost out to Badders if we hadn't found a header and tacked on it, and we'd still have lost out if he'd tacked under our bow, but fortunately he ducked us and sailed on a bit further. With the benefit of the new lift on starboard we were now above the lay line, so made it to P first, up with the kite, and a nice leg to J with Badders & JR just behind. Two hoots were heard as we rounded J, and we just managed to get the kite set before they sailed over the top of us. A bit more wind had us trapezing, kites up, across the finish line with about 2 seconds in it and a win for us, hurrah!

It's always nice to win on your birthday, so fair play to the fleet for letting us do it. Maybe a bit more of a margin next time please.

After lunch we were given a longer course and less wind, which was a lot less interesting. And Peter & Mike had tweaked their boat to give themselves a straighter mast (= fuller mainsail), resulting in them going a lot quicker and being almost impossible to catch. Pete S & Rachel pulled off a perfect port tack flyer under my nose on the start-line, but threw it away on the wrong side of the beat along with a lot of the rest of the fleet. So we plodded around following Peter & Mike, and they eventually won by a country mile. But the middle of the fleet apparently had a much better time of it, with four boats rounding J pretty much in a lump and then fighting it out for the places on the final leg to OL, it doesn't get much closer than that!

And what could be better on your birthday than to be elected fleet captain at the AGM after sailing..?  Well, quite a lot of things if I'm honest, but nobody else looked interested so I guess it had to be done.

Party on, dudes.


  1. Mike

    So to us uninitiated how in future can we have discussions and see Bob's latest results?

    1. Hi Paul,

      Bob's latest results are available here, as always:


      As for discussions, most of the fleet don't appear to have found the new forum, so we're not doing much of that. You need to log in at http://www.draycotewater.co.uk/ (halfway down on the left) and then select 'The Forum' from the 'Members only' menu. The Fireball bit is hidden away in the 'Sailing Fleets' section.