Course: P, X, OL, T, N, Gate
Wind: Rubbish, vaguely Northerly
As it turned out, today was even less windy than the forecast suggested. 5-6mph would have been way better than the 0-5mph we ended up with. However, 6 Fireballs took to the water while another 3 boats stayed ashore for bimbling - two of those being hit by a crew shortage. In an attempt to help, I was crewing for Richard.
What little wind there was was on-shore, but for some reason the OD had chosen to park up in the middle of the lake, resulting in a long tedious drifty beat to the start line. Would we make it there on time? Well, no as it happened, but we weren't as late as some. When the gun went, Jane & Pat were already a decent way up the beat thanks to their 3 minute headstart, Mo & Holly were vaguely in the vicinity of the line, we were a bit further back, and everyone else was behind us.
We all drifted in an Easterly direction for a bit, there being wind on the water in Toft Bay, but we were headed and decided to tack. We had been practising the roll-tacks on the way out to the start and had it down to a fine art. (a) Tip the boat to leeward a bit, (b) tiller away and both sit heavily on the windward side, (c) wait while boat leans into and through the eye of the wind, and then (d) pump upright by the helm as he goes to the new windward side of the boat. Only this time Richard had arranged his legs wrongly, and we replaced (d) with '(e) capsize'. Naturally I climbed somewhat belatedly over the high side when I heard the splash, and naturally the boat turtled. So we pulled it up again, with me avoiding getting my feet wet and Richard splashing around in the water like a sick whale - all of which must have taken at least 2 minutes.
By the time we were upright and pointing in the right direction, Mo & Holly were long gone, but we were still just ahead of Paul & David and everybody else - which gives you some idea just how slowly they were all going at the time. The wind filled in a bit and we plodded around the course, boat still full of water, catching and overtaking various Freds, while manfully staying ahead of various Lasers and Solos. The starboard tack 3-sail reach to N went very close, then after we'd finished it, turned into a beat and then a port tack reach. We were becalmed again when we arrived at the gate, where a kindly OD took pity and shortened the course for us.
Final result, Mo & Holly first, Jane & Pat 2nd, us 3rd, Paul & Dave 4th, Helen & Paul 5th. Bob & Paul had packed up when they suspected a 2nd lap was on the agenda.
Ashore then for lunch where the wind disappeared altogether, so much chatting and poking about with boats ensued. And then, like a one-man blast from the past, Steve Digby turned up wanting to crew Fireballs again like he used to back in the day. I am sure he'll be in high demand - and I'll be circulating his details on the next fleet email. Welcome back Steve!