Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Comedy racing

Race 1: Triangular thing (right next to N), H, S, T, P, Gate
Turnout: 9 boats

The race started early, or so I'm told.  I didn't have a watch, so all I know is that we were able to launch from the shore, sail to and then across the start-line, gybe and then start about 5 seconds later - which counts as about right in my book. No idea what the course was, and we had to tack off pdq as our start wasn't exactly optimal.  So we went right, found a header, tacked onto starboard and were lifted to the mark, arriving there ahead of almost everybody else (apart from the headstart brigade). Woohoo!  There was a certain amount of close-quarters sailing as we went around the mark along with about 4 other boats - Peter & Dave denied us an overlap but gave room to Helen & Paul, Colin & Karen arrived at speed on starboard and found P&D in the way, but generously didn't T-bone them. Helen came out of the melee first, with us 2nd. We then got past Helen & Paul and the early mob on the next few legs and created a huge and unassailable lead, which we then promptly lost on the 2nd last lap. No amount of going the wrong way up the remaining beats helped the situation, and we ended up 2nd to Peter & Dave.  I think Colin & Karen were 3rd, but I could be wrong. Pete & Richard had been in 3rd but did some swimming, Gordon & Bryan were doing OK when they lassoed the tiller with mainsheet at the gybe mark and also capsized, and a good time was had by all.

Race 2: Triangular thing (still near N), H, E, X, P, Gate
Turnout: 7 boats

This was something of a comedy of errors.  We went right on the first beat again, but this time the windshift favoured the lefties and we rounded roughly 2nd last, with only Pete & Richard worse off than us, having gone right even sooner and further than we did.  Oh, and Bob & Paul, who were upside down.  Y'see, when the windshift arrived it came with a nice big lump of wind, and we tacked to take advantage and found ourselves sitting very nearly on B&P's wind.  That went OK for about 10 secs, until we accelerated into the exactly-on-their-wind position, at which point they capsized to windward.  Sorry boys.

OK, so hoon off down the (rather attractive) 3-sail reach to H, gybe, and another decent-ish 3-sailer to E, where we got stuck behind Paul & Clive. Grumble. Titchy beat to X, titchy reach to P, and off we go again for lap 2.  At this point we'd got past P&C and were closing on Colin & Karen, and even leaders Peter & Dave didn't look too far away. Then disaster struck, initially in the form of a pole that refused to go out due to an errant bobble on the pole downhaul. It took us half of the leg to identify the problem, and then when it was fixed, Paul was taken aback by the lack of resistance to the pole and basically chucked it round the forestay.  Those of you who have done this will know that it's a bit of a sod to retrieve, so we lost the rest of the leg doing that while Colin & Karen did a runner and Paul & Clive overtook us again. Trot down to E behind P&C again. Grumble moan.

Best part of a lap later, once more ahead of Paul & Clive and closing on C&K, we enjoyed a trouble free hoon down to H, gybed, took up the slack in the spinnaker sheet and observed that it was no longer attached to the spinnaker. So we gybed again, hoping to catch the kite unawares, but it wandered off and hid behind the jib, so no alternative other than to gybe back, pull kite down, manoeuvre sheet round the forestay, tie it back on again.  Colin & Karen disappeared over the horizon, and Pete & Richard promptly hove into view and nipped past. Moan, grumble, moan. So we got back past them on the 3-sailer to P, were forced high, had to get kite down, gybe, hurtle back shouting for water, nipped round just ahead. Phew.

We then had to fight them off for the next beat, nipped round the windward mark just ahead (I think) and hoisted the kite, whereupon the eagle-eyed crew observed that the spinnaker guy rope was no longer connected in any way to the twinner, courtesy of the re-stringing job he'd done previously. Some conversation ensued, and we resolved the problem by wrapping the guy around the chain-plate and holding on to the end.  This got us going again, just in time to see Pete & Richard zooming past to windward. Gaaah!

However, adjustment of the guy was now a bit tricky, so when a big lump of wind arrived and the leg became a close reach, it rapidly became apparent that we couldn't lay H with the kite up.  So we ditched it, hardened up (now on a very close reach), and neatly overtook P&R who had belatedly come to the same conclusion about the viability of the kite and were still getting it down. We then did about mach 5 towards a couple of Lasers approaching the mark, and after a brief discussion with them over the potential for having water (they thought not), went round on the inside anyway.

Off to E, then the short beat up to X, whereupon some sort of a windshift occurred and we were overtaken by Pete & Richard AND Paul & Clive. Noooooh!  Then round X, up with kite, roll P&R but couldn't catch P&C, so ended up still behind them at the next mark (P) and across the line for 3rd place at the finish (Peter & Dave having won the thing some time previously).

Excellent race!

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