Another chapter in the sporadic text loosely titled 'Good times we had in Fireballs'...
The weather forecast suggested 8kts gusting 12, but my guess was light 'n' fluffy and I was right. Still we figured we'd give it a go anyway. Sadly I had left it a bit late getting rigged, and the gun went while we were still on our way to the start line, still it makes it a bit more interesting if you have to catch up with people . So we got across the line just as the Freds were massing for their start and took off up the right hand side of the beat. It was a bit shifty and with hindsight the LHS was the place to be, so we hadn't really made much progress by the time we arrived at the top mark. Pete Wood had got clean away, but there followed about an hour of place changing, with us, Mo, Colin, Jez, Richard, Graham and Eugene all doing inspired and fantastic tactical stuff and then watching the opposition getting lucky and overtaking again. Towards the end of the race the wind was fading, and with it our chances of getting a decent result. We were back in about 7th place when we arrived at 'N', with only 'T', 'J' and 'OL' to go. N-T was apparently a close reach, and as I have observed before, these aren't generally very much fun if you were hoping to overtake anything (not that we were going fast enough to do that anyway). Everything ahead of us was treating it as a 2 sail reach, so on a whim we left the kite up and went low thinking we might get halfway there before having to bag it. But as luck would have it the wind shifted and made it that little bit broader, and we popped out at 'T' ahead of everyone except Mo. Much banter and jocularity at this point. Woohoo!
Gybe at 'T', kite leg to 'J'. Weirdly the wind shifted round locally and this leg got a lot closer than the expected run, Mo took his kite down, we kept ours up and it wasn't too close at all. 'Har har', I thought, we've got you now. But we hadn't - Mo took off with impressive speed and we managed to fall further behind if anything. Down with the kite, round 'J', quick tacking battle with Mo (we lost), and across the line in 3rd place, nearly pranging Fleet Captain Richard who was drifting around aimlessly in his Buzz-thingy. Excellent fun considering how little wind there was.
Crew departed at lunch time saying he couldn't take the excitement any more, so I leapt nimbly into Paul Anthony's boat for the 2nd race. This felt completely unlike my own, in fact it felt like a sack of potatoes. But as it turned out, it actually went pretty quickly. We started fairly badly, but with the wind picking up gradually clawed our way back to do battle with Eugene for a bit, before dropping them and getting onto Mo's transom again for the final reach down to 'K' and then 'OL'. By this time it was quite windy and we and Mo were zooming down the reach, but I fancied it was my turn to beat him now, so we paused briefly to bung the kite up. Only it wasn't so much 'briefly' as 'longly', and by the time we'd got it flying, Mo had pretty much escaped. Still we had an excellent 3 sail reach to 'K', went for the inshore end of the line and finished only a few yards behind Mo again. Very good !
Third race the wind had gone again and so had Paul Anthony, so I took the RS300, and the wind promptly got up, and it rained, and I parked up in front of Richard Glenn AGAIN when I dropped the mainsheet on a reach (sorry Richard). And eventually I capsized and then gave up knackered, although it had been kinda interesting up until then.
So I think the moral of this story is that you can have a lot of fun in your Fireball if there's any wind at all, whereas you shouldn't go out in the teeth of a thunderstorm in an RS300 unless you weigh a lot more than me.
Yeah, I think that about sums it up