Sunday, 31 October 2010

Fleet Championships 2010 - day 1

Windguru confidently predicted 2-3knts of wind, and rain, and in the event we didn't get either of them. Instead we had 20+ knts of wind which came in big lumps and made the sailing very interesting indeed.

Ho for race 1, and (to digress) I am currently tying the mainsail to the top of the mast as the halyard is down to its last few strands of wire and I don't want it letting go while I'm racing. This is no big deal, except that when I was fiddling about with the top of the mast on the beach, I put my hand right in a big lump of blue-green algae, and it went all over the string I was trying to tie a knot in as well. Much hand and string washing ensued, and not a great start to the day. Anyway, out at the start line it became apparent that the wind was not about to drop off to 3knts any time soon. So we all zoomed off, and it was Badders leading at the top mark followed by Martyn and then a load of other boats and then me. But it was to be a long hard race, and attrition took its toll on most of the fleet. I definitely remember overtaking an upturned Bob & Paul at a gybe mark, and we took Badders when he tried to fly his kite with only 2 strings instead of the usual 3. We had a long battle with Jez, which we finally won after he bore down on top of us on the reach to 'S', nearly removing my foredeck and crew and taking us the wrong side of the mark in the process. Grump, moan, re-round 'S' and carry on. Then we were treated to the sight of Peter & Mike putting their kite up when halfway up the D-K beat, apparently on the basis that they'd forgotten to go round 'C'. Duh. So we got past them too and spent the next lap trying to make sure it stayed that way, including luffing them up a bit on a couple of the mental 3 sail reaches. Martyn capsized at one point, but this was after Peter & Mike had done the kite on the beat trick, so there was nobody there to take advantage of it. We ended up 2nd by virtue of not capsizing or putting the kite up on the beat, with Peter and Mike 3rd. But, from a personal perspective, we were far too slow in that race and the boat was fighting us on the beats. And my bit of string holding up the mainsail turned out to be broken when I came to untie it (maybe the algae ate it), so the 3 strands of wire had done a great job after all.

Bit of lunch, then 2nd race, and we managed to arrive just after the start and then had trouble getting the kite down so sailed away from the line for rather too long before finally getting going. Peter and Mike had started on time and were away with the fairies, everyone else was somewhere between them and us, with the exception of Helen & Paul who started about 10 minutes late. This race though the boat was on our side and was bounding up the beats, so we took heart and got on with chasing the fleet. We beat Pete to the top mark - he had started about the same time as us - but it was a long time before we caught up with Jez, and there was a considerable amount of traffic (Richard, Bob, JT etc) which conspired against us. We eventually overtook Jez on the long reach to 'C' (which was great BTW), and by the end of the race had caught but failed to pass Martyn & Richard. So 3rd place in that one.

Then Paul had to go home, and I couldn't find a crew for the 3rd race so had to sit it out. It looked like a 2 horse race between Martyn and Peter, and they each had a go at the front a couple of times but it was Martyn who was there at the end.

All in all a very hard day's racing, very good fun (some of the reaches were really awesome), and we just might get the trophy off Martyn's sideboard yet 

Sunday, 10 October 2010

10 Oct

Finally got the good weather the forecasters have been banging on about for the past 4 days, and it was really good sailing as a result.

Race 1, and a lot of boats were late to the start line so weren't in contention for the lead, so it was us and Peter Wood fighting it out at the front all the way round. Neither boat was able to get away from the other and it was nip and tuck throughout the entire race (and it looked pretty good further back in the fleet too). Peter gifted us an advantage when he gybed involuntarily and hit OL with his boom and very decently did a 360 when I pointed this out, in spite of not having noticed this transgression himself. Then he got a bit of a reward for his righteous behaviour when he picked up a personal 30 degree lift while following us up the beat a bit later on, and made it stick when our kite wineglassed on the next reach. But we still managed to pull back onto his transom by the time we got to OL, so all-in-all a very good race.

Race 2, and half the fleet were definitely over the line when the gun went, but only one (Mo, I think) went back. Martyn and Jez showed us a clean pair of heels up the first beat, but Peter and Mike were practically over the horizon, they must have teleported themselves to the first mark by my reckoning. At the first gybe mark, new members Pete Slack and crew (welcome guys), managed to sit on Martyn's wind for just long enough for me to sail over the top of him and underneath them and get into 2nd place. So we were hunting down Peter & Mike and watching out behind for a Martyn or Badders or Pete Slack comeback, and when we got to OL we were rewarded by the sight of Peter & Mike trotting off to 'N', which wasn't part of the course. "Har har" we cried (very quietly), took kite down, nipped smartly round OL and off up the beat to 'H'. Everyone else followed us, and Martyn & Jez somehow got ahead of us up that one, but they decided to go high without the kite on the reach to E, presumably to avoid the shallows around 'F' which were in the way. We just stuck the kite up and sailed straight across the shallows, pausing only to tip the boat over to about 45 degrees when the centreboard started coming up and we heard graunchy noises (this reduced the amount of fixed rudder in the water) and we got ahead again. Cheers cheers. Then down to 'P' and then upwind again to 'S'. Then Martyn disappeared off the radar, apparently because the trapeze handle broke while Jez was using it and it all went a bit splashy, so we sailed around the course a few more times watching as Peter & Mike gradually got closer and closer, and then we finished.

Great fun, but a bit scary how fast Peter and Mike were going with the North sails.