Sunday, 26 February 2017


Well the weather forecasting bushes in my garden were right, 22'4 and well zipped in was the order of the day. We dialled that in, and added mucho insulating tape to strings that looked iffy, and off we jolly well went. The committee boat was over by E, which gave us a very decent idea of what the weather was up to by the time we got there. Some hanging about ensued, during which time the wind dropped a bit, and then we were off.

Most of us went left initially, and mostly pointing higher than me. Peter & Paul messed up the start, but still managed to be only a few feet behind us when we tacked, whereas we had to duck Colin & Karen and Eleanor & Richard. Mo and Ian had gone right, which didn't look so good. We went right a bit, staying out from the club shore, and next time we crossed we were in the lead. The wind was pretty full-on and the whole fleet was charging upwind at an impressive speed. So, round the orange triangle thing and back down to OL on a leg that was nearly, but not quite, a run. This may not have been very exciting, but it did at least allow everyone to put their kites up. Round OL, inshore, water to tack please, and then up the shore towards M. Somewhere en-route we lost Ellie and Richard - one minute they were keeping up nicely, the next the boom was out and the crew was in the boat furtling about. Our lead extended when everyone else over-stood the mark, so round M and off towards X. Well this one turned out to be a dead run and was the first place where the kite refused to go up, requiring the rig tension to be released before it would comply. Only the fact that it was very windy kept the thing from going under the boat while we mucked about with it. Anyhoo, gybe halfway down and set the kite for the approach to X, then carry on down to H on exactly the same angle. Somewhere around this point we lost Mo & Ian... nothing bad happened, they just decided it was too windy for all this gybing on 'slow' runs.

Down with the kite at H and another gybe before hooning off to E on a beam reach - which was fast but bloody hard work. Then through the gate and do it all again. Well the wind was a bit up and down, but when it was up it was distinctly challenging. I'd got the jib bars out and up (as usual, they're bent and won't go down), plenty cunno and outhaul, so we were driving on the lower third of both sails. When the gusts came in there would be a bit of a wobble, followed by more speed, and it was clear that it was only the initial wobble that was likely to get us, as the boat was very comfortable after that. We stayed out from the windward shore where possible, where the wind was cleaner and the gusts a little fewer.

We pulled out a bit of a lead on P&P when their kite bagging was slow at OL, then a bit more by staying out on the next beat. The kite wouldn't go up again (lose a bit), but we were still ahead at H. Kite down and harden up for a quick reach to put on speed before gybing, then a fast and wet reach back to E. Now I had put my woolly hat away on the run, reasoning that it was too wet and floppy to be any good, but the amount of icy water that went over my head on the way to E convinced me to get it back and put it on again. P&P had capsized at H, so we had plenty of time to get hatted up, and it also gave Marcellus a chance to stick the shortened course flag up (for which much thanks). We then came ashore and put the boat away, reasoning that the forecast was for the PM to be windier still.

After getting changed we came out to find that it had dropped off and looked very nice. Doh!

Sunday, 19 February 2017


A great day's sailing today. Warmer, with lighter winds and better courses it was a lot more fun than last Sunday.

Race 1, orange thing near B, M, K, X, T. Helen & Paul managed to capsize on the first tack of the first beat. Richard & Steve were excellent, arriving at the windward mark in 2nd place and hanging on down the nice 3-sail reach to M before being rolled by Peter & Paul on the dead run to K. There followed a decent 3-sail reach to X and another one to T. We battled it out with Peter & Paul for the rest of the race and emerged victorious. Further back, JT & Quentin were engaged in a running battle with Paul & Clive, with Jane & Pat bringing up the rear after Helen retired.

In the afternoon the course was M, J, S, Y, OL, T. We had just got our nose ahead of Peter & Paul on the approach to M when a header arrived and denied us the chance to get around it without tacking. P&R were upwind of us and stopped us tacking, so I decided to go head to wind, so they'd have to tack off and then I could too. In a particularly brilliant bit of tactical thinking, they went head to wind and then sat there while we drifted onto the mark and started going backwards. Meanwhile the entire fleet sailed past both of us, one of them yelling 'starboard' on the way, thanks for that. We then took ages to get going forwards again and do our turn, by which time we were virtually last - ahead of only Helen & Paul who had tried to go to the orange mark instead of M.

Well, the beauty of a dead run is that you can at least get a different route downwind, and we gained a bit before we got to J, and then a bit more on the fine 3-sail reach to S when Richard & Steve took Peter & Paul high. I think we overtook R&S and JT & Quentin on the next beat to Y, and closed up on the lead boats on the excellent 3-sail reach to OL. P&R got past Paul & Clive on that leg after a brief luffing battle, and we all sailed up through the gate in a big lump to start the next lap. After that, Peter & Paul got away a bit, and Paul & Clive tried to sail to M instead of Y (after S), so went from 3rd to last in one easy move. JT & Quentin arrived at T the last time ahead of Richard & Steve, but a 49er claimed water and gave Richard & Steve the vital few boat lengths they needed to get across the line ahead.

The longer course was sooooo much more interesting than the short stuff we've had to put up with recently, and the combination of dead runs and beam reaches worked really well in the marginal conditions. Thanks to Colin and his team on the committee boat, and we'll be back next week for more good racing.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Snow joke

Well I suspected the weather might decide to rain on our parade, although in the event it also snowed on it. However, we still achieved a turnout of 8 boats, which is pretty good for a cold and windy day in Feb. If you were wearing the right stuff, the cold didn't really matter - in my case the right stuff was a new drysuit from David Rowe and 3 thermal layers underneath, plus 2 woolly hats. It worked well.

Out at the start, Gordon and Bryan capsized 3 times before the gun went, and packed up, whereas Pete and Ellie only capsized the once and carried on. The course was dull - a beat, 2 runs and a close reach, and Peter and Paul demonstrated their massive superiority in the face of this while Paul and I stayed just ahead of everyone else. Paul & Ian were overtaken for 3rd place by Colin & Karen on the last run.

In the afternoon, Eleanor & Richard took up the essential duty of hassling Peter & Paul, leaving the rest of us to fight it out for 3rd place. The course was more interesting, even if it still had no decent 3-sail reaches, and places were lost by people who tried to fly the kite on the too-close bits. Colin & Karen fell prey to the leg from K to N, and we lost a bit attempting the kite from P to K. We had to do some further catching up after Paul dropped both his woolly hats in the water and we went back to rescue them. In the end, we deprived Paul & Ian of 3rd place on the last run and gained the subject of a decent rules discussion for the bar afterwards while we did so. Next week promises to be warmer, maybe 12 degrees or so, and maybe there will be some excellent 3-sail reaches too.