Race 1: Course: M, D, X, F, S, Gate
A decent turn-out for a non-fleet-championship day, although we were down by a few boats due to the wind strength and general wear and tear from the previous Sunday.
On the way out to the start, we deduced that the spinnaker halyard was stuck behind the jib halyard. I don't know why it does this - it's not like it was rigged any differently to last week or any other week before that. Anyway, the solution is to hoist the kite, grab the exposed bit of kite halyard with pliers, hold onto it, drop the rig tension right off, disconnect the hook, and thread the wire round behind the kite halyard to make the problem go away. When it's gusting 15+mph, you can only do this on a dead run, so we went for a little trip down into Toft Bay whilst doing it, and surprise surprise, by the time we'd got back to the start, we'd missed it.
So we zoomed off after the fleet, and it didn't take all that long to get back up to 3rd place, with just Iain & Tom and Peter & Jez ahead of us. Then at the end of the first lap, the latter pair mistook 'G for Gate' for plain old 'G the buoy', and went off for their own little trip into Toft Bay, putting us up into 2nd place.
We then spent half the race chasing down Iain & Tom, and had them nicely in our sights on the 3-sail reach to D, when the wind dropped a bit. So I stood up to get a better view of where the good stuff was, and was just reaching for the mainsheet to steady myself when the boat accelerated and I fell out backwards into the water. Now I clearly remember telling Paul about this (I shouted "aargh"), but he completely failed to look after the boat in my absence, and it promptly bore off and capsized to windward.
Naturally it took bloody ages to swim over to it and pull it up again, so we retired soon afterwards. Iain & Tom won that one, with Peter & Jez second.
Race 2: Course K, OL, P, N, D, S, Gate
We were royally stuffed up on the line by Iain & Tom, so were on the back-foot from the word go. However, by virtue of getting onto the lay-line for the first mark instead of going miles above it, we ended up rounding K alongside Peter & Jez, with the rest of the fleet really close behind. We lost the lead with a dubious mark rounding down at P, but pulled a bit of a blinder by flying the kite from D to S, and getting it down before the big gust hit. Whereas Peter & Jez put it up later and kept it up longer, and we were back on their transom again by P.
At some point we got past them, and were looking pretty good up by K when disaster struck in the form of a big gust of wind and a jib that wouldn't uncleat. We only laid it flat, but it was for long enough that P&J got past, and possibly one or two other boats also. The wind built up steadily from then, and P&J showed us a clean pair of heels, but we did manage to hang on to 2nd place, with Iain & Tom not far behind (they flew the kite from D to S the last time round, which was pretty epic).
Serious camera guy Andy Whitehead was out there with a gimbal mounted GoPro in the afternoon, and managed to make our assorted random good moments into a really neat video, with a decent soundtrack and everything. He managed to miss most of the windy stuff as the rescue boat he was in had to go and rescue things as soon as it got a bit fruity, but if a picture paints a thousand words then this video has to be worth a cool million. Watch and learn boys, watch and learn...